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Dr. Peter Vermeulen
International Speaker, Psychologist, Bestselling Author, Senior Lecturer, Trainer & Consultant on Autism  
1 Dr. Peter Vermeulen Headshot web.jpg
Dr. Peter Vermeulen

International Speaker, Psychologist, Bestselling Author, Senior Lecturer, Trainer & Consultant on Autism.

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Happiness and Autism: from Neurodiversity to Neuroharmony

With over 10 scientific articles per day, autism (as a synonym for autism spectrum disorder) is just about the most studied condition in the world.


We need all this research to increase our understanding of a condition that suffers like no other from myths and misconceptions.


However, all the research and all the information about how different, specific and unique autism is, has made us forget that people with autism are not only different, but that they share more than we think with all the other people, especially with basic needs such as happiness.


Accepting neurodiversity is fine, but it emphasizes the differences between people.   


While it is a big step towards more acceptance of autism as one of the many ways a brain can operate, it is only the first step in our commitment to a better world and more well-being for people with autism.


We should also focus on what connects people with autism with the rest of the human species: the pursuit of happiness.

Happiness has received little attention in autism spectrum disorders.


Outcome and effect studies, for instance, rarely take emotional well-being as a desired outcome.


And when the focus is on well-being, it is often from a negative perspective, namely the lack of well-being and quality of life in autism.


It is time to take a U-turn in our approach and change from an exclusive focus on what makes autism so different and from a negative, clinical and medical approach of happiness in people with autism towards a shared and positive focus (we all want to be happy).


In other words, let’s move from neurodiversity to neuroharmony.

In the presentation, we will explore:


  • How we can increase the well-being of autistic people.

  • How to promote positive feelings

  • The importance of life satisfaction and contentment as primary sources of emotional well-being.


We will illustrate this with the story of Thijs, a boy we diagnosed back in the eighties and now a happy adult.


His story will show how we can move from neurodiversity to neuroharmony, an inclusive world where autistic and non-autistic people are living in harmony.​

Who is this presentation for? 

This presentation will interest everyone, parents, professionals and autistic people



Peter Vermeulen, PhD in Psychology and Clinical Educational Sciences, has over 35 years of experience in autism.


He is Founder of “Autism in Context”, where autism is understood in context.


Peter is an internationally respected lecturer/trainer, and he presents all over the world.   


Peter wrote over 15 books and several articles on autism, some of them translated into over 10 languages.


For his +30 years of work in autism, he received in 2019 a Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is the author of

- Autism as Context Blindness

I am Special : Introducing Children and Young People to their Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Autism and The Predictive Brain : Absolute Thinking in a Relative World 

His newest book “Autism and the predictive mind” will be published end of November 2022.


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