I am a Senior lecturer in psychology at York St John University. My background is in linguistics and psychology. My research focusses on the psychology of interactions, how we build shared understanding, imagine other perspectives, negotiate identity and overcome social barriers – all through creative means. I have worked on a number of creative projects, including the Open Minds Exhibition in 2017 and ‘Sensory Street’, a Wellcome Trust-funded project based at the University of Oxford. I am also a trustee of Matthew’s Hub, which supports young adults on the spectrum, and have created participatory autism-awareness that are being used by charities and local government in the US, UK and Australia. In 2018 I was the recipient of the ESRC’s national 2018 prize for Future Career Promise and the Finalist for Outstanding Early Career Impact.
This paper will discuss recent and ongoing research on diverse and creative forms of neurodivergent intersubjectivity. Intersubjectivity is a term that describes the process of how connections are formed between people and groups. It plays a central role in how people come to know themselves and others, as well as learn about the world around them. Social norms, although intending to facilitate intersubjectivity, can present particular barriers for neurodivergent people because they constrain diverse and creative forms of connectivity. This paper will therefore discuss pathways that emerge between neurodivergent people in situations where social norms are no longer being actively imposed. In particular it will focus on dialogue, sensory awareness and embodied actions. Indeed, such forms of communication are not only inventive and productive, but they also have important implications for stepping outside of power dynamics that are embedded within traditional forms of intersubjectivity. The implications of this for future research will be discussed.