Understanding autism - a neurodiversity approach to supporting children and young people: Video learning resources

Published: 28/03/2024

These short films explore the importance of building a positive and constructive understanding of autism so that our work with autistic children, young people and their families is collaborative, meets their individual needs and promotes their self-acceptance.


How we define autism has changed significantly and conceptualisations are likely to continue to evolve over time. Myths as well as outdated and controversial theories, interventions and language persist and these can create barriers to effective and relational support for autistic children, young people, and their families.

In these films autistic author and researcher Kieran Rose (The Autistic Advocate) seeks to reframe the narrative around autism and provide up-to-date information, with a particular focus on autistic ways of being in childhood and adolescence. The videos are from a longer webinar which aimed to address the question: how can we build an evidence-informed understanding of autistic experience in order to improve practice, and importantly the wellbeing of autistic children and young people?

The films explore:

  • How concepts such as monotropism help us to understand autistic experiences.
  • Using a neurodiversity approach to ensure our practice and systems promote children and young people’s own capacity to be authentically themselves.
  • Autistic masking and burnout.
  • Using the double empathy problem to myth bust the trope that autistic people lack empathy.
  • How we can change a person’s environment, rather than asking them to change themselves.

Kieran examines sensory and attentional difference in autistic children and young people.

Autistic burnout can be caused by various and multiple life stressors including masking.

Kieran illustrates how Dr Damian Milton’s (2012) ‘double empathy problem’ theory dispels the myth that autistic people lack empathy.

Autistic researcher and author Kieran Rose (The Autistic Advocate) foregrounds how practice with autistic children and young people can promote their self-acceptance, agency, autonomy and thus creating the safety for them to be their authentic selves.

Related Research in Practice resources

  • What is neurodivergence? (Part of the Supporting neurodivergent practitioners in your social care organisation: Video learning resources).

These resources were developed from a webinar held on 'Understanding autism – supporting autistic children and young people'.