Pier Jaarsma, PhD

Pier Jaarsma is a Professional Master in Humanist Ethical and Worldview Education and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BN), a Master’s degree in Practical Philosophy (MA), and a PhD in Health and Society. He has published about the ethical aspects of Autism Spectrum Conditions in the journals Health Care Analysis, Medicine Health Care and Philosophy, Ethics and Education and Bioethics. His doctoral thesis is called 'Reflections on Autism: Ethical Perspectives on Autism Spectrum Disorder in Health Care and Education'.


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What is the course about?

This course is an introduction into the debate between the proponents and opponents of a cure for autism. The student's activities will be to read texts, to watch videos, to click on recommended links and surf the internet, to do a quiz and to write an essay. The essay will receive written feedback from the instructor. 

What are the learning objectives?

At the end of this course the student will be able to:

  1. describe the history of autism
  2. explain autism at the behavioral level
  3. explain autism at the cognitive level
  4. explain autism at the biological level
  5. describe the arguments of the anti-cure movement
  6. describe the arguments of the pro-cure movement
  7. reflect upon the arguments of both movements


What are the assessment criteria?

The student will, with respect to his or her reasoning about whether or not we should try to cure autism, be assessed by his or her ability to:

  1. integrate relevant facts 
  2. integrate relevant values 
  3. weigh the arguments independently


What is the target audience?

This course is mainly intended for professionals of those organisations in health care and/or education who, on a daily basis, come into contact with autistic persons (patients, clients, pupils or students). Furthermore all other persons with an interest in whether or not we should try to cure autism may find this course helpful for their own reflection on this matter.


Certificate of completion?

At the end of this course a certificate of completion will be issued.

Course content

  • A short history of autism

  • Behavioral explanations

  • Cognitive explanations

  • Biological explanations

  • Anti-cure perspective

  • Pro-cure perspective

  • Reflection

Interested? Enroll to this course right now.

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