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Research Involving Participants with Cognitive Disability and Differences

By Ariel Cascio and Eric Racine
As human beings, we are all different yet part of one humanity. How we deal with differences between ourselves, however, is complex and is embedded in cultural and historical context including such as varying recognition of the value of diversity. Accordingly, cognitive disability and difference are of fundamental importance for the field of ethics.
This topic is sometimes discussed using the concept of neurodiversity. Neurodiversity has strong ties to autistic self-advocacy, but is not (indeed, never has been) limited only to autism. Neurodiversity refers to the many ways that people may be different from one other by virtue of something to do with “the neuro” – neurodevelopmental conditions, neurogenerative conditions, brain injury, mental health, and so on. One important area of scholarship regards research ethics for studies involving individuals with cognitive disability and difference, which may impact informed consent among other components. A n…

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