New Releases in Our Own Voices

Black and white illustration of a woman with long hair singing into a microphone with wide open mouth

Here are some recent books by neurodivergent and disabled people that we recommend. We provide WorldCat links, embed Kindle previews, and feature quotes for each book.

The tendency to force a meltdown upon an autistic person, and then to castigate them for acting in such a childish and ungrateful way, is a rhythm that most autistic adults will recognize and despise.

What I Want to Talk About How Autistic Special Interests Shape a Life
Black Disability Politics
Black Disability Politics

A lot of things remain that I want for me, and there are even more things I want for us. Manifestation requires desire, ambition, sensitivity, and creativity. Each book or story by a disabled person holds a piece of a spell…eventually when enough pieces come together and fit, there will be a collective harmonic conjuring. Ripples of energy propelled by momentum, our truths undeniable and irresistible, our messages reverberating far and wide with hidden frequencies just for us. By conjuring our power and manifesting infinite dreams together, the world will finally see us as we are.

Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life

I have spent over a decade unravelling myself, carefully turning over each piece shattered on the floor since my first breakdown, desperate to find one that I could recognise. I realised I had been camouflaging my whole life, that is, I’d been trying to mask my autistic traits and fit in with all the non-autistic people around me, desperate to always be liked and to never draw attention to myself. Underneath was an abyss of emptiness, a stream of tainted thoughts that didn’t belong to me. I was utterly lost, but little did I know that such a painful journey would lead to such an extraordinary rediscovery of myself and others.

Taking off the Mask: Practical Exercises to Help Understand and Minimise the Effects of Autistic Camouflaging

My first day of school was full of tears and utter terror as I desperately tried to cry out for my mum to return and take me home. But I had no words. While the teachers would say I refused to talk, even at the age of four I knew this wasn’t true. My words were stuck and I couldn’t talk.

Taking off the Mask: Practical Exercises to Help Understand and Minimise the Effects of Autistic Camouflaging

At the core of my work and life is the belief that disabled wisdom is the key to our survival and expansion. Crip genius is what will keep us all alive and bring us home to the just and survivable future we all need. If we have a chance in hell of getting there.

The Future Is Disabled : Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs

Yet a major way ableism works is to erase us from ideas of the future. The science fiction future, sure, but also the everyday future of having any idea of what a disabled adulthood or elderhood could look like. Ableism isolates and keeps disabled, Deaf, and neurodivergent people from finding disabled, Deaf, and neurodivergent communities. It’s common for parents or teachers to tell some disabled children they’re “not like the others,” for parents of autistic, Deaf, or disabled kids to deny our identities. Sometimes, especially for BIPOC people, this can be the best survival strategy we know, but being kept from each other also kills. Most people still draw a blank when you say the words “disabled community”—like, what is that? Autistic and disabled special-ed student Cole Sorensen writes, “Until I started college, I had never met an adult who was like me. I had other disabled friends, sure, but with no model of what my life could look like after graduation, I couldn’t imagine much of a future for myself at all.”6 This is why I believe some of disability justice’s most important work lies in how we’ve created space for BIPOC people (and, secondarily, Others) to identify as disabled, chronically ill, Deaf, or neurodivergent, through our creation of Black-and brown-centered disabled, sick, Deaf, and neurodivergent communities and politics. Community building isn’t always seen as “real activism” (whatever) but the work we do to create disabled Black and brown community spaces, online forums, hashtags, and artwork is lifesaving because it creates space for disabled BIPOC to come out as disabled. I mean big organized spaces, parties, and cultural events, and I also mean the disabled BIPOC version of “Hey, do you want some of my fries?”: one disabled BIPOC person being friendly and Initiating Hangout Space with another, who might not be ready to be out yet. It’s very difficult to organize for survival, power, and pleasure when people can’t even admit they go to this school, you know?

The Future Is Disabled : Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs

I wish I didn’t find it so hard to speak up.

But at school, when there’s so much going on at once, and so many sounds and tight clothes and new things?

I get overwhelmed.

So when I try to speak, I can never find the words.

Speak Up!

Before Mommy and I leave, I’m busy resting with my favorite super seat: Misty!

I have cerebral palsy, so I know that when my legs get tired I have to stop and sit.

Yesterday at the park, I overdid it on the swings, and my right leg still hurts a little.

Misty is the living room couch named after my favorite dancer, Misty Copeland. When we aren’t doing pirouettes before dance class, we play “I spy” and laugh at our silly answers. Misty loves to dance, and I know she loves me. She’s comfortable and graceful. That’s what makes her a super seat.

Sam’s Super Seats

Autistic people have built many niche communities from the ground up—both out of necessity and because our interests and modes of being are, well, weird.

Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity (p. 218)

For more book recommendations, visit our Library.

Published by Ryan Boren

#ActuallyAutistic retired technologist turned wannabe-sociologist. Equity literate education, respectfully connected parenting, passion-based learning, indie ed-tech, neurodiversity, social model of disability, design for real life, inclusion, open web, open source. he/they

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