The Autistic Theory of Mind “deficit”: Autistic impairment or mutual (mis)understanding? (On-Demand Course)



The Autistic Theory of Mind “deficit”: Autistic impairment or mutual (mis)understanding?

Presenter: Dr. Gemma Williams, Autistic Researcher, Swansea University

► On-Demand Course: Learners have access to the recording and materials for 180 days from the date of enrollment.

► Audience: Therapy Providers seeking to deepen their understanding of autistic social communication, and application of neurodiversity-affirming practices.
(Therapy Neurodiversity Collective Members, this course is included in your membership!)


Course Description
Join Therapist Neurodiversity Collective for a transformative exploration into the nuances of autistic social communication with Dr. Gemma Williams. This online professional development course challenges the long-held myth that autistic individuals are lacking in ‘Theory of Mind’ and invites participants to dive into contemporary autism research about communication across diverse neurotypes. 

For decades, the assumption among most “autism experts” was and continues to be that autistic people inherently possess social and communicative deficits, particularly in understanding others’ thoughts and feelings – a concept known as ‘Theory of Mind-deficit.’ This course seeks to dismantle such stereotypes with contemporary autism research evidence and introduce participants to the concepts of the ‘double empathy problem’ and ‘relevance theory‘.

Dr. Williams will guide you through the latest high-quality research and provide a fresh perspective on cross-neurotype communication. This neurodiversity-affirming professional development course will challenge the long-standing perceptions of ‘autistic social communication deficits’ and instead promote a deeper understanding of the mutual communication variations that occur between autistic and non-autistic individuals, reframing communication difficulties as a two-way, ‘double empathy problem’, from the perspective of cognitive linguistics. 

You will gain 

► an updated evidence-based understanding of ‘Theory of Mind” in the context of autism.
► A deeper understanding of the research findings about ‘the double empathy problem’ and ‘relevance theory’ and the implications for neurodiverse social interaction.
► insight into what this research evidence means for autism service provisions.

Reshape your professional practices and enhance the therapy support you provide to autistic populations with a respectful and informed understanding of autistic social communication differences.

☑A comprehensive slide handout

☑ Course handout for reference 
☑ Certificate of Attendance for 1 hour of professional development

Dr Gemma Williams is an autistic academic from the UK, with a research focus on linguistics, social and healthcare policy, and social justice. Having recently completed a ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Policy at the Centre for Resilience and Social Justice at the University of Brighton, Gemma is now a Research Officer in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science at the University of Swansea where she’s working on the ‘Autism: from menstruation to menopause’ project. Gemma is also an Associate with the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi), with whom she has worked on several projects commissioned by NHS England or local government authorities.
Gemma completed her PhD in Linguistics PhD in 2021 at University of Brighton, where she investigated communication between autistic and non-autistic speakers from the perspective of cognitive linguistics: largely influenced by ‘relevance theory’.

Attendees will be able to