These are exciting times for Autism Policy and Practice is under a new editor team having agreed with Nick Chown to restart the journal, we are:


Editor in Chief

Dr Mitzi Waltz, Athena Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands

Editorial Team

Dr Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, Department of Social Work, Umeå University, Sweden

Diarmuid Heffernan, MSocSc, University College Cork, Ireland

Dr Damian Milton, Tizard Centre, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK

Dr Elizabeth Sheppard, Faculty of Science, University of Nottingham, UK

Dr Catriona Stewart, Scottish Women's Autism Network, UK

Gaynor Ward, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, UK

Richard Woods, Sheffield Hallam University, UK


We have decided to update the journal’s Focus and scope to bring in line with what we believe are pressing issues in good practice Autism Studies literature, as such the journal’s aims and scopes are:


Focus and Scope

  • To be an autistic-led (emancipative) good practice journal with a bias towards social model based adjustments and good practice.
  • To help to close the theory-to-research-to-practice gap (Chown 2015); submissions should include autism theory, if not the authors have to justify why in the article.
  • To provide a voice for those stakeholders not typically presented in the academic literature, such as autistic persons, parents and students.
  • To provide experience for early career autism studies students and academics, both autistic and non-autistic.
  • To set the example by journals for making adjustments for neurodivergent authors for the peer review process.
  • To be an open access journal.



Recent years has seen the growth of autistic activist academics aligned to the neurodiversity movement (Woods et al 2018; Milton et al 2018, both submitted). This has been mirrored in the recent developments in the autistic-led projects such as the journal Autonomy, The Critical Journal of Interdisciplinary Autism Studies, Autscape and the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC). Most pertinently these facts have contributed to a leading autism studies journal Autism to change its cover symbol as the editors believe we are entering a new error of emancipatory autism research. Yet there is still no autistic-led good practice journal, which we seek to fill.


There is currently a new wave of autistic academics coming through either undertaking masters or doctorates (Woods et al 2018; Milton et al 2018) and we seek to provide them a platform to both publish their work and to gain valuable experience. There are student journals in other disciplines, such as the Canadian Journal of Disability Research in Disability Studies.


It is increasing becoming accepted that research needs to include the input of all stakeholders to represent all stakeholders’ views as different stakeholders express different ontologies of autism and consequently divergent preferences on good practice (Milton 2013; Milton 2017). Encompassing all views also increases the epistemic integrity of autism research (Milton 2014; Woods et al 2018), leading to its wider acceptance outside of autism studies. Autism Policy and Practice being an autistic led journal will reflect the autistic community views of social model aligned research (Gillespie-Lynch et al 2017).


Anecdotally there are reports the peer review process is an unpleasant experience for neurodivergent authors, we aim to do our best to address these concerns.


For the journal to be relevant to all stakeholders there is a desire by the editor board to be open access. Particularly autistic persons are more likely to be unemployed or on a low-income compared to other demographics and so having vital articles behind pay walls is created a social barrier to knowledge that could benefit them. In addition, successful autistic academics such as Nick Chown and Larry Arnold are independent of academic institutions and can struggle to gain access to autism literature due to pay walls established by most publishers, we aim to avoid such restrictions to research. Taking these steps we should be breaking down “silo-mentality” that is present in autism studies (Arnold 2013).


Autism Policy and Practice will be situated in between the journals Autonomy, the Critical Journal of Interdisciplinary Autism Studies and Good Autism Practice, a clinicians and parent led good practice journal.



Please keep a look out for a call-for papers for our first test edition in the coming months.


Autism Policy and Practice Editor Team.