The project “autism across cultures” was created from a Russian-German autism dialogue.
There were two points that led to the expansion of the dialogue on this project:
On the one hand, the great similarities between the “cultural-historical concept” of the Russian Lev S. Vygotsky, and the development-dynamic and (cross-cultural) social-psychological autism theory of the German Bernhard J. Schmidt.
On the other hand, the great cultural differences between West and East, whose research is still shaping the dialogue.
It is in the nature of things that only under a development-dynamic and socio-psychological approach such a project appears to be meaningful and necessary.
A static and purely biological approach, as it has previously dominated the Anglo-American world, does not need such a project.
Development, including autistic, needs social interaction – and this interaction takes place within a culture.
If there is a disturbance of social interaction, the result is probably also a disturbance of development.
Different cultures have different stages of development and philosophical backgrounds. Depending on these, the perceptions and therapies of autism are different.
Differences and similarities between different cultures can thus help to clarify the nature / nurture question about autism.