Leading the way to promote self-determination of individuals with autism spectrum disorder
This study explored ways in which the Centre for Autism Services Alberta could exercise leadership to promote self-determination of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I utilized action research engagement and included people with ASD. The study, which employed a neurodiversity lens and added new knowledge relative to self-determination theories, produced the following findings: (a) the need to include the voice of the autistic community in all that affects it; (b) the need to develop an understanding of the construct of self-determination within the Centre; (c) the need to exercise leadership for an organizational culture change to enable staff to build on current good practices and implement new practices; and (d) there are systemic barriers beyond the Centre’s mandate. Recommendations focus on leadership for an organizational culture change as a foundation for work with strategy and policy, training, and the establishment of an advisory group of self-advocates with ASD.