Atherton, G., Morimoto, Y., Nakashima, S.F., & Cross, L. (2023).

Atherton, G., Morimoto, Y.(森本裕子), Nakashima, S.F.(中嶋智史), & Cross, L. (2023).
Does the Study of Culture Enrich Our Understanding of Autism? A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Life on the Spectrum in Japan and the West.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 00220221231169945.

Autism spectrum condition is a neurodevelopmental condition in which people are characterized by their social differences. As such, autistic behaviors are often identified as deviating from what is considered normal or neurotypical ways of interacting with the world as dictated by a particular culture. This theoretical article explores a cultural model of disability concerning autism spectrum condition and how Western ideals of “normality” dominate autism-related discourses. To illustrate this point, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association [APA]) descriptors are discussed concerning Western and, in contrast, Japanese cultural practices. Cross-cultural research from several domains reveals the subjectivity inherent to what is considered “normal” across cultures. In addition, research into the prevalence and lived experiences of autistic people and their families in Japan reveals the complexity of understanding neurodevelopmental conditions in non-Western countries. The article discusses autism in the context of culture and suggests further areas for cross-cultural research that can further build on the cultural model of disability.