Autism and Happiness: Mission (Im)possible?

Happiness has received little attention in the field of autism spectrum disorders. Outcome and effect studies, for instance, rarely take emotional well-being as a desired outcome. And when the focus is on well-being, it is often from a negative perspective, namely the lack of well-being and quality of life in autism. It is time to take a U-turn in our approach and change from an exclusive focus on what makes autism so different and from a negative, clinical and medical approach of happiness in people with autism (lack of distress) towards a shared and positive focus (we all want to be happy). In other words: let’s move from neurodiversity to neuroharmony.

 

Knowing that the outcome in autism spectrum disorders is not solely based on objective criteria for independent functioning but also on subjective quality of life criteria. ⋅ Knowing the two aspects of happiness (hedonic and eudaimonic) and identifying the different key elements in these two aspects.

Identifying different strategies to enhance the emotional well-being and the life satisfaction of people with an autism spectrum disorder.

Reflecting on the concepts of neurodiversity and neuroharmony in relationship to happiness

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