We are delighted to welcome Dr Monique Botha to the STAR team as a Post-Doctoral Fellow, funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) via the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.
Monique’s research to date has focused on the role of minority stress, stigma, and discrimination in the mental health outcomes of autistic people. Further, Monique’s recently finished PhD in Psychology from the University of Surrey investigated whether autistic community connectedness buffers against the impact of these extra stresses. As an autistic autism researcher, Monique is passionate about a socially just, ethical, and engaged form of science, which aims for emancipation and equality.
Additionally, Monique has just had a new paper published, entitled “”Autism is me”: an investigation of how autistic individuals make sense of autism and stigma”. This qualitative research looked closely at how autistic people make sense of being autistic and the stigma often attached to autism. Twenty autistic adults shared their experiences and spoke of how autism was just part of who they were, yet society often viewed autism as something negative. This feeling could cause tension and personal conflicts as autistic people have to figure out when and who it is safe to tell that they are autistic. The participants also talked about the need to reframe others’ understanding of autism.