Michelle Dawson Researcher and Ethical Rights Proponent Michelle Dawson is an avid researcher, author and a person on the spectrum. Most known for her paper Misbehavior of Behaviorists she is perhaps one of the most controversial figures in the Canadian Autism community. Michelle was born in 1961, and didn’t receive her diagnosis as a child. She instead was diagnosed an adult in 1993-1994. She doesn’t share much about her personal life, or childhood with the public, and is seemingly a very private person. Michelle has dedicated her life since 2003 to researching Autism. Much of her research is interconnected with the idea of ethics and how it relates to those on the spectrum. Though her research has been met with much opposition it seems as though her goal is to further the rights of those on the spectrum. She works under Laurent Mottron, a professor of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal. He is also the research chair on Marcel and Rolande Gosselin in cognitive neuroscience in autism for the Montreal University. His work has been highly focused on autism spectrum disorder, and has been highly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Michelle is a member of his research team. Michelle began down the road that would become her passion and her career path when she found herself being discriminated against at her job. As a postal worker Michelle filed two human rights complaints against the Canada Post, one of which was settled out of court but the other she won. It was during this time that she began to find out what researching meant.
Until then she had been under the imposed impression that those on the spectrum couldn’t understand research. Michelle found not only did she deeply understand it, but that she could excel in the field. In an interview with Tyler Cowen he begins to describe Michelle as an advocate for Autism, and she is quick to correct him. She does not consider herself an advocate but is willing to agree with his assessment that “She is arguing for science and ethics being brought into the autism discourse.” In her blog she further explains her position on this and gives some insight into why she is so opposed to being called an advocate.
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- Fall '16
- English, Asperger syndrome, autism spectrum, Michelle Dawson Researcher