It essentially boils down to whether one chooses to do damage to the system or to the student.
The “Fix Injustice, Not Kids” Principle: Educational outcome disparities are not the result of deficiencies in marginalized communities’ cultures, mindsets, or grittiness, but rather of inequities. Equity initiatives focus, not on “fixing” students and families who are marginalized, but on transforming the conditions that marginalize students and families.Basic Principles for Equity Literacy
Fix injustice, not kids. “It essentially boils down to whether one chooses to do damage to the system or to the student.”
So many of us in this system want to do better. Students and teachers find themselves in spaces guaranteed to result in feedback loops and meltdowns and the eventual burnout of everyone involved. Responding to fires and stresses caused by overloaded sensory spaces and deficit ideology consumes more time, people, and passion than available and starves a better future of oxygen.
A better future requires time and will to get structural, get social, get equity literate, connect with communities, and build classroom user experiences compatible with neurodiversity and disability. SpEd and self-advocates should be working together, designing for real life and fixing injustice, not kids.
There is no path toward educational justice that contains convenient detours around direct confrontations with injustice. The desperate search for these detours, often in the form of models or frameworks or concepts that were not developed as paths to justice, is the greatest evidence of the collective desire among those who count on injustice to give them an advantage to retain that advantage. If a direct confrontation of injustice is missing from our strategies or initiatives or movements, that means we are recreating the conditions we’re pretending to want to destroy.Paul C. Gorski – Grit. Growth mindset. Emotional intelligence….
A better future requires a justice mindset.
JUSTICE mindset: We stop critiquing mindsets of kids and focus on efforts of schools to be equitable and just. #FixInjusticeNotKidsPaul Gorski | Equity Literacy Institute
A better future requires an acceptance mindset.
Two-way communication forms the bedrock of the provision of most public services and must be effective in order for all individuals to receive appropriate access to care, services, employment, and justice; services should be accessible and delivered in a way that respects the differing needs of the individual. However, society is shaped for neurotypical people and largely excludes those who think differently, despite the fact that neurologically diverse people – from those with autism to ADHD to dyslexia – constitute a significant proportion of the population. In this blog we present autism as a case study for how the critical points of interaction between individuals and public services could be better designed to respect neurodiversity, taking the criminal justice system, healthcare, and employment interviews as exemplar contexts.Respecting neurodiversity: Interactions between autistic people and public services | IPR blog
A better future is possible. Let’s start building it together today.
An overriding goal of education should be learning and developing humanistic values based on freedom, respect for others, and the ability to build good interpersonal relations and understand each other.
This is the foundation of our culture and civilisation.
A better future is possible.
Let’s start building it together today.Holistic Think Tank | Good Day – YouTube
To that end, here are some ways to respect neurodiversity and disability in your school.
- Learn About Neurodiversity at School
- Build a Community of Practice
- Presume Competence
- Foster Neurological Pluralism
- Teach Autonomy and Self-Determination
- Ditch “Special”
- Use Our Language
- Understand Monotropism and the Double Empathy Problem
- Understand Exposure Anxiety, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, and Situational Mutism
- Understand Our Love Languages
- Appreciate our Spiky Profiles
- Reframe ADHD as Kinetic Cognitive Style
- Provide Opportunity but not Pressure
- Understand Equity and Needs-based Fairness
- Affirm Our Bodyminds
- Main Takeaways
- The Accommodations for Natural Human Variation Should Be Mutual
My head is on straight My heart is in peace My soul is incredibly Ready to change history It’s a good day To fight the system (To fight the system) It’s a good, good, good day, yes, A good, good, good day We’re never gonna stop We’re gonna make it count When when one of is tired out The other one will hold down We’re gonna spread the love We’re gonna spread it ‘round We’re all over in the city now And way down in the underground It’s a good day To fight the system (To fight the system) It’s a good, good, good day, yes, A good, good, good day
Learn About Neurodiversity at School
Delivering the LEANS resources is a way for primary school teachers of children 8-11 to introduce the concept of neurodiversity to their class, and explore how it affects people’s everyday experiences. Schools currently may teach about the diversity of people’s cultures or beliefs, but usually do not teach about neurodiversity. This resource aims to help change that. It was developed especially for primary schools by a neurodiverse team of researchers and educators, led by the University of Edinburgh.Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS) | The University of Edinburgh
So, what is neurodiversity? In LEANS, the definition that pupils will hear is:
Neurodiversity means that we are all different in how we think, feel, and learn, because our brains process information differently.
Your whole class is diverse, not just in the way you look or what you enjoy doing, but also in the way your brains work and how you think, feel, and learn.1
Teaching about neurodiversity is more akin to topics like citizenship or health than it is to teaching about photosynthesis or adjectives. It’s a topic that doesn’t neatly “finish”, because its implications are all around us in daily life. Our understandings of it will mature as we have new experiences and make further connections. LEANS is intended to be an introduction to this complex and sensitive topic, and the start of a longer conversation in your class. Even when the LEANS curriculum is over, pupils will still be making sense of things, and perhaps reconsidering others— or themselves.
Neurodiversity: Neurodiversity is the fact that all human beings vary in the way our brains work. We take in information in different ways, we process it in different ways, and thus we behave in different ways. Like other types of diversity, neurodiversity is about the presence of variation (in this case, information processing) within a group or population of people; it’s not a property of individuals.
Neurodiversity doesn’t just explain how each individual person is different from the next in terms of their information processing. We can also use neurodiversity to understand bigger differences between types of people, that may be labelled by a diagnosis. Such categorical differences in brain processes, and therefore in experience and behavior, underpin diagnostic labels such as autism, ADHD, developmental language disorder, dyslexia or dyspraxia.
Let’s consider trees as a metaphor for brains (Figure 2). Every single tree in a woodland has its own pattern of growth and is different and unique from its neighbours. However, it’s also possible to categorise trees—pines, oaks, willows, apples—and these categories indicate consistent, larger differences. Sometimes differences are really obvious, like when we compare a palm tree and an oak tree. Sometimes they are subtle, and easy to miss. These differences are not only about their appearance, but the types of environmental conditions that they need to thrive.Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS) | The University of Edinburgh
This is a great time for everyone involved in education to understand #neurodiversity and what it means for the classroom, for learning and for inclusion.
Launched today is the #LEANSproject handbook, for teaching about neurodiversity at primary school.@MxOolong
Build a Community of Practice
We know that there is a gulf between the autism research that gets done and the research that people in the autism community want.
So, how do we go about building the community of practice we need to deliver these participatory methods? Some basics are already well known – for example, the importance of using respectful language to talk about autism and the need to create an enabling environment in which autistic people can contribute. Our series went beyond these basics, and identified five topics which are essential parts of developing a more participatory and collaborative research model in which autistic academics and autistic people in the community lead and / or partner in research projects.Shaping Autism Research in the UK
Do as these researchers are finally doing. They are in the space connecting with autistic people. They are using and spreading our language. They are building, with us, a community of practice around participatory research that reflects our priorities. We see them and welcome others, particularly K-12.
This article reports on the outcomes from the series, identifying five topics relevant to building a community of practice in participatory research: Respect, Authenticity, Assumptions, Infrastructure and Empathy.
By participatory research, we mean incorporating the views of autistic people and their allies about what research gets done, how it is done and how it is implemented (Cornwall and Jewkes, 1995). A key principle of participatory research is the recognition, and undermining, of the traditional power imbalance between researcher and participant (Nelson and Wright, 1995).
Another key feature of participatory research is inclusiveness including adapting the research environment, methodology and dissemination routes to permit the widest and most accessible engagement, or engagement from specific groups (e.g. non-speaking autis- tic people and people with additional intellectual disabili- ties – see Long and Clarkson, 2017). Participatory research is ethically informed by the values of the community, for example, in the selection of research questions and study objectives. Moreover, input from this community can improve the quality of research methods, contextualise findings within real-world settings and thereby enhance the translation of findings into practice (Carrington et al., 2016; Grinker et al., 2012; Parr, 2016; Parsons and Cobb, 2013).
Making the future together: Shaping autism research through meaningful participation – Sue Fletcher-Watson, Jon Adams, Kabie Brook, Tony Charman, Laura Crane, James Cusack, Susan Leekam, Damian Milton, Jeremy R Parr, Elizabeth Pellicano, 2019
- Respect – how to respectfully represent lived experience
- Authenticity – how autism communities can shape a research agenda
- Assumptions – best practice in autistic leadership and community advocacy
- Infrastructure – how to support and encourage autistic academics and activists
- Empathy – how to build effective working partnerships
Language towards us used by researchers that are #AutisticAllies is changing the research environment one paper at a time
“To not presume competence is to assume that some individuals cannot learn, develop, or participate in the world. Presuming competence is nothing less than a Hippocratic oath for educators.”
Never assume that the ability to speak equals intelligence. There are plenty of autistic people who have trouble speaking but who have glorious creative worlds inside them seeking avenues of expression. Never assume that an autistic person who can’t speak isn’t listening closely to every word you say, or isn’t feeling the emotional impact of your words. I’ve interviewed many autistic people who said they could hear and understand everything around them while people called them “idiots” or described them as “out of it” to their faces. Ultimately, presuming competence is the ability to imagine that the person in front of you is just as human as you are, even if they seem to be very impaired. If you understand that the autistic students in your class are just as complex and nuanced and intensely emotional and hopeful as you are, you’ll do everything in your power to help them lead happier and more engaged lives.A Q&A about autism with Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes
Presuming competence is not an act of kindness.
Presuming competence is not something we do because we are a “good” person.
We do not get to pat ourselves on the back because we have presumed competence. If we believe we deserve a pat on the back and/or acknowledgement, then we are not presuming competence, we are more likely being condescending.“Presume Competence” – What Does That Mean Exactly? | Emma’s Hope Book
Foster Neurological Pluralism
ANI launched its online list, ANI-L, in 1994. Like a specialized ecological niche, ANI-L had acted as an incubator for Autistic culture, accelerating its evolution. In 1996, a computer programmer in the Netherlands named Martijn Dekker set up a list called Independent Living on the Autism Spectrum, or InLv. People with dyslexia, ADHD, dyscalculia, and a myriad of other conditions (christened “cousins” in the early days of ANI) were also welcome to join the list. InLv was another nutrient-rich tide pool that accelerated the evolution of autistic culture. The collective ethos of InLv, said writer and list member Harvey Blume in the New York Times in 1997, was “neurological pluralism.” He was the first mainstream journalist to pick up on the significance of online communities for people with neurological differences. “The impact of the Internet on autistics,” Blume predicted, “may one day be compared in magnitude to the spread of sign language among the deaf.”The neurodiversity movement: Autism is a minority group. NeuroTribes excerpt.
Understanding spiky profiles, learning terroir, collaborative niche construction, and special interests is critical to fostering neurological pluralism.
Teach Autonomy and Self-Determination
My choice is my own My body, my own Opinion is my own I own it, I own it I don't want unsolicited advice I might succeed, I might get in strife But my choice is my own My voice, my own My life is my own I own it, I own it I can make my own choices I ignore all the voices Life has layers, it's lawless Ah, stuff ya --Choices by Amyl and the Sniffers
The logic of the connection between “special needs” and “special [segregated] places” is very strong – it doesn’t need reinforcement – it needs to be broken.
There is another insidious but serious consequence of being labelled (as having or being) “special needs”. The label carries with it the implication that a person with “special needs” can only have their needs met by “special” help or “specially-trained” people – by “specialists”. That implication is particularly powerful and damaging in our mainstream schooling systems – it is a barrier to mainstream schools, administrators and teachers feeling responsible, empowered or skilled to embrace and practice inclusive education in regular classrooms, and accordingly perpetuates attitudinal resistance to realising the human right to inclusive education under Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In other words, the language of “special needs” leads to, and serves to excuse, a “can’t do” attitude as the default position of many general educators – it effectively deprives inclusive education of its necessary oxygen – a conducive “can do” classroom culture.
Learn more about the problems with “special” on our glossary page.
Use Our Language
Identity first language is common among neurodivergent and disabled self-advocates. When hanging out in social model, neurodiversity, and self-advocacy communities, identity first is a better default than person first. Every autistic and disabled person in our community uses identity first language. The words autistic and disabled connect us with an identity, a community, and a culture. They help us advocate for ourselves.
“Disability” and “disabled” are indicators of culture and identity. Thus, “disabled person” is an accepted term.Person-First Language Doesn’t Always Put the Person First
Learn how to speak our language with our IFL primer, “ Identity First Language: Thinking differently requires speaking differently.“
Understand Monotropism and the Double Empathy Problem
Monotropism is a theory of autism developed by autistic people, initially by Dinah Murray and Wenn Lawson.Welcome – Monotropism
Monotropic minds tend to have their attention pulled more strongly towards a smaller number of interests at any given time, leaving fewer resources for other processes. We argue that this can explain nearly all of the features commonly associated with autism, directly or indirectly. However, you do not need to accept it as a general theory of autism in order for it to be a useful description of common autistic experiences and how to work with them.
Monotropism and the Double Empathy Problem are two of the biggest and most important things to happen to autism research. These two videos, totaling 9 minutes, are well worth an educator’s time.
If an autistic person is pulled out of monotropic flow too quickly, it causes our sensory systems to disregulate.
This in turn triggers us into emotional dysregulation, and we quickly find ourselves in a state ranging from uncomfortable, to grumpy, to angry, or even triggered into a meltdown or a shutdown.
This reaction is also often classed as challenging behavior when really it is an expression of distress caused by the behavior of those around us.
How you can get things wrong:
An introduction to monotropism – YouTube
- Not preparing for transition
- Too many instructions
- Speaking too quickly
- Not allowing processing time
- Using demanding language
- Using rewards or punishments
- Poor sensory environments
- Poor communication environments
- Making assumptions
- A lack of insightful and informed staff reflection
Learn more on our glossary pages.
Understand Exposure Anxiety, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, and Situational Mutism
Exposure Anxiety, Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, and Situational Mutism marked the childhoods of many us here at Stimpunks. The intense sensory and social environment of schools feeds all of these.
Learn about these neurodivergent traits on our glossary pages.
Understand Our Love Languages
This list of five common neurodivergent love languages is much about recognizing and meeting neurodivergent emotional bids in relationships, including professional and educational relationships.
- Penguin Pebbling
- Parallel Play, Body Doubling
- Support Swapping, Sharing Spoons
- Please Crush My Soul Back Into My Body, Deep Pressure Input Good
Learn about these love languages, and notice them in your school.
Appreciate our Spiky Profiles
There is consensus regarding some neurodevelopmental conditions being classed as neurominorities, with a ‘spiky profile’ of executive functions difficulties juxtaposed against neurocognitive strengths as a defining characteristic.Neurominorities, Spiky Profiles, and the Biopsychosocial Model at Work
We have spiky profiles. That deeply affects how we live and learn. Learn about spiky profiles, learning terroir, niche construction, and neurological pluralism with the help of our friends at Randimals in the bricolage essay, “What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world.“
An education that is designed to the edges and takes into account the jagged learning profile of all students can help unlock the potential in every child.From Hostility to Community – Teachers Going Gradeless
Reframe ADHD as Kinetic Cognitive Style
ADHD or what I prefer to call Kinetic Cognitive Style (KCS) is another good example. (Nick Walker coined this alternative term.) The name ADHD implies that Kinetics like me have a deficit of attention, which could be the case as seen from a certain perspective. On the other hand, a better, more invariantly consistent perspective is that Kinetics distribute their attention differently. New research seems to point out that KCS was present at least as far back as the days in which humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies. In a sense, being a Kinetic in the days that humans were nomads would have been a great advantage. As hunters they would have noticed any changes in their surroundings more easily, and they would have been more active and ready for the hunt. In modern society it is seen as a disorder, but this again is more of a value judgment than a scientific fact.Bias: From Normalization to Neurodiversity – Neurodivergencia Latina
I’m not a fan of the “ADHD” label because it stands for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” and the terms “deficit” and “disorder” absolutely reek of the pathology paradigm. I’ve frequently suggested replacing it with the term Kinetic Cognitive Style, or KCS; whether that particular suggestion ever catches on or not, I certainly hope that the ADHD label ends up getting replaced with something less pathologizing.Toward a Neuroqueer Future: An Interview with Nick Walker | Autism in Adulthood
We here at Stimpunks long for an alternative label for ADHD to catch on. Kinetic Cognitive Style is a needed reframing.
The “Kinetic” in “Kinetic Cognitive Style” is about more than hyperactivity.
“Kinetic” makes a better descriptor for the “ADHD” cognitive style for a few important reasons:
- Kinetic captures the energy of a cognitive style driven by attention, interest, fascination, novelty, challenge, and urgency.
- Kinetic captures the inertia and omnipotential of hyperfocus and flow states.
- Kinetic captures the need for plenty of large muscle movement and fidgeting.
KCS reconceptualizes cognitive difference in a manner that allows Kinetics to live authentically.
I seek a reconceptualization of cognitive difference, to the end that those who bear now-stigmatizing labels of “deviance,” “disorder” and “syndrome,” may live and manifest their individuality, distinctive interests, gifts and capacities with integrity, in a manner that comes naturally to them, free of pressure to become people they are not, free of the automatic assignation of inferior status; and that they may enjoy the respect of their fellow citizens, rather than disdain and exclusion.neurodiversity.com | the autistic distinction
“Kinetic Cognitive Style” is a new way of thinking about ADHD. This guide will help you understand Kinetic/ADHD ways of being.
Almost every one of my patients wants to drop the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, because it describes the opposite of what they experience every moment of their lives. It is hard to call something a disorder when it imparts many positives. ADHD is not a damaged or defective nervous system. It is a nervous system that works well using its own set of rules.Secrets of the ADHD Brain: Why we think, act, and feel the way we do.
Provide Opportunity but not Pressure
The conference began with an orientation session in the main lodge led by Sinclair, who explained the guidelines that had been established to maintain and preserve the environment as autistic space. Photographs and videos could only be taken after asking for permission, and only outdoors, so that the flash didn’t trigger seizures. Cigarette smoking and perfumes were banned. Respect for each person’s solitude and personal space was essential, and the interaction badges allowed everyone to know at a glance who was open to talking. All of the conference events were optional, including the orientation itself; the overriding principle was “opportunity but not pressure.”Silberman, Steve. NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (p. 448, 449). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Freedom from pressures and expectationsHistory of ANI via Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking
Karla Fisher has a great visual she uses for IEP advocacy called “Our breaks are not like NT breaks.” She points out that, for an autistic person, lunch and recess can be the most stressful times of the day.
The autistic community has a solution for this, for autistic events. They are Color Communication Badges. With green displayed, the message is to approach. With yellow, only known people are welcomed. With red displayed, the wearer is to be left alone except in direst emergency. This makes it easy at autistic events, to know if a person sitting alone would relish or loathe company.
Why don’t we have something like that at schools? Color badges or seat markers or perhaps a choice chart the child can use in class before recess.I (,) Object – Nightengale of Samarkand — LiveJournal
Understand Equity and Needs-based Fairness
Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS) | The University of Edinburgh
- What I need may be different than what other people need, and that is OK. Everyone has things they need to thrive at school and in their life.
- Fairness in school isn’t always about being treated the same or getting the same things.
- Sometimes, it can be fair for people to get or to do different things than their classmates, because they don’t have the same needs. Being treated fairly helps us be able to do our best at school.
- Due to their learning and thinking, some neurodivergent students may do things differently in the classroom. What helps one person may not help another—neurodivergent people are very different from each other too.
Tall Poppy Syndrome, the politics of resentment, fundamental attribution error, and sameness-based notions of fairness are a systemic slog for neurodivergent and disabled people. We really appreciate this video from LEANS explaining fairness.
This unit grapples with two possible concepts of fairness: an equality or “sameness” concept of fairness, and an equity or needs-based concept. It encourages pupils to question sameness-based understandings of fairness, and why these may not work for everyone. It explains how the principle of equity is already at work in many familiar school situations—like a teacher spending more time with a pupil who has more questions.
Mainly through story explanations, it also tries to address objections that pupils may have for example, that getting support automatically grants an “unfair” advantage over others, or that some tools are “cheating” or mean pupils aren’t doing the work themselves.
The unit also introduces a balance scale metaphor for thinking about fairness. Someone may experience a challenge that others don’t have in that situation. It’s “a weight on their scale”—so they may also use a support that others don’t use, as a tool to meet that challenge and help “balance their scale”.Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS) | The University of Edinburgh
In this story, Mr. Oliver introduces a new metaphor for fairness, the balance scale. He is trying to address concerns that classroom changes or additional supports give some pupils an advantage over others (i.e. are actively disadvantaging classmates). The point of the balance scale is to suggest that supports may help “even things up” rather than putting some people ahead of others. People getting or doing apparently “extra” things may be making school more fair, not less.
Mr. Oliver reminds the class that the example is about one person in one situation. People’s scales will differ from one another, and each person would have a different scales in a different situations (for example, sports, maths, or art rather than a book report). Different situations make different demands on us—and our available tools and coping capacity can vary too.Learning About Neurodiversity at School (LEANS) | The University of Edinburgh
Learn more on our Equity page.
Affirm Our Bodyminds
I believe we should all move in our space in whatever way is most comfortable for our bodyminds.
Please use this space as you need or prefer.
Sit in chairs or on the floor, pace, lie on the floor, rock, flap, spin, move around, come in and out of the room.
This is an invitation for you to consider what your bodymind needs to be as comfortable as possible in this moment
This is an invitation to remind yourself to remember and to affirm that your bodymind has needs and that those needs deserve to be met, that your bodymind is valuable and worthy, that you deserve to be here, …, to belong.Against Ableism & White Supremacy: Disability Justice is Our Liberation – YouTube
I know that I myself could not sit still in a room like this for even 15 seconds. So if you are like me and you need to take a break during my presentation, that’s all good. You need to go to the back of the room and pace back and forth, I won’t be offended. You need to leave the room, it’s all good. I myself may wander off in the middle of my presentation, and you all will be accepting, inclusive, and accommodating of that for sure. (Laughter) But, hey, you know what, this is your time.Lab School Lecture Series – Jonathan Mooney – YouTube
We Stimpunks really like and appreciate these affirmations and need the access and understanding they offer, both online and in physical space. We bring our whole bodyminds — stims, senses, perceptual worlds, and all — to every learning experience.
This is a great time for everyone involved in education to understand #neurodiversity and what it means for the classroom, for learning and for inclusion.
The key to acceptance is understanding.
If you don’t understand someone, you can’t fully accept them: you can’t accept what you don’t get…
All schools are neurodiverse: all have kids with wildly different experiences of the world, different needs. Teachers need to grasp that.
Neurodivergent young people across Greater Manchester feel that school staff do not understand them and their needs well enough.
“They would push and push for me to get back into class when it was not possible for me. After teachers were given instructions to sit me at the back of class many ignored this and put me at the front thinking they could help me when they should have listened to me and the pastoral team.”anonymous Spectrum Gaming member
“they promised things and I trusted them but it never happens (multiple times) they didn’t listen to me or what I have to say or what i would like to do they thought I looked ok on the out side but on the inside I was having a mental breakdown”anonymous Spectrum Gaming member
How to understand the kids or adults you work with?
Don’t assume you know what’s easy or hard for them, or what’s obvious.
Listen to them, and learn from people with similar experiences.
Learn about autism from autistic people. Understand #monotropism.@MxOolong
- It essentially boils down to whether one chooses to do damage to the system or to the student.
- The “Fix Injustice, Not Kids” Principle: Educational outcome disparities are not the result of deficiencies in marginalized communities’ cultures, mindsets, or grittiness, but rather of inequities.
- Equity initiatives focus, not on “fixing” students and families who are marginalized, but on transforming the conditions that marginalize students and families.
- A better future requires time and will to get structural, get social, get equity literate, connect with communities, and build classroom user experiences compatible with neurodiversity and disability.
- There is no path toward educational justice that contains convenient detours around direct confrontations with injustice.
- If a direct confrontation of injustice is missing from our strategies or initiatives or movements, that means we are recreating the conditions we’re pretending to want to destroy.
- A better future requires a justice mindset.
- JUSTICE mindset: We stop critiquing mindsets of kids and focus on efforts of schools to be equitable and just.
- Justice, not grit. Justice, not growth mindset. Justice, not behavior “management.” Justice, not rearrangement of injustice.
- A better future requires an acceptance mindset.
- Differences should be accommodated, accepted and celebrated.
- Respecting neurodiversity improves interactions between neurodivergent people and public services.
- Society is shaped for neurotypical people and largely excludes those who think differently.
- Neurodiversity means that we are all different in how we think, feel, and learn, because our brains process information differently.
- Neurodiversity includes everyone, because everyone has a brain!
- Neurodiversity means that we are all different in how we think, feel, and learn, because our brains process information differently.
- Your whole class is diverse, not just in the way you look or what you enjoy doing, but also in the way your brains work and how you think, feel, and learn.
- Neurodiversity is an important idea.
- Neurodiversity is the fact that all human beings vary in the way our brains work.
- There is a gulf between the autism research that gets done and the research that people in the autism community want.
- Scientists are increasingly recognizing a moral imperative to collaborate with the communities they study.
- A key principle of participatory research is the recognition, and undermining, of the traditional power imbalance between researcher and participant.
- Participatory research is ethically informed by the values of the community.
- The double empathy problem (Milton, 2012) highlights the issue of ‘mutual incomprehension’ that exists between some autistic and non-autistic people.
- There is a growing body of evidence which demonstrates empirically that non-autistic people may fail to comprehend autistic people.
- Meaningful participation in autism research can help us make a better future for autistic people, together.
- Presuming competence is nothing less than a Hippocratic oath for educators.
- To not presume competence is to assume that some individuals cannot learn, develop, or participate in the world.
- Never assume that the ability to speak equals intelligence.
- Presuming competence is the ability to imagine that the person in front of you is just as human as you are, even if they seem to be very impaired.
- Presuming competence is not an act of kindness.
- Noncompliance is a social skill.
- Prioritize teaching noncompliance and autonomy to your kids. Prioritize agency.
- Many behavior therapies are compliance-based. Compliance is not a survival skill. It makes us vulnerable.
- It’s of crucial importance that behavior based compliance training not be central to the way we parent, teach, or offer therapy to autistic children. Because of the way it leaves them vulnerable to harm, not only as children, but for the rest of their lives.
- Disabled kids are driven to comply, and comply, and comply. It strips them of agency. It puts them at risk for abuse.
- The most important thing a developmentally disabled child needs to learn is how to say “no.” If they only learn one thing, let it be that.
- Our non-compliance is not intended to be rebellious. We simply do not comply with things that harm us. But since a great number of things that harm us are not harmful to most neurotypicals, we are viewed as untamed and in need of straightening up.
- We don’t believe that conventional communication should be the prerequisite for your loved one having their communication honored.
- The logic of the connection between “special needs” and “special [segregated] places” is very strong – it doesn’t need reinforcement – it needs to be broken.
- The “special needs” label sets up the medical “care” model to disability rather than the social inclusion model of disability. It narrows and medicalises society’s response to the person by suggesting that the focus should be on “treating” their “special needs”, rather than on the person’s environment responding to and accommodating the person – including them for the individual that they are.
- The label carries with it the implication that a person with “special needs” can only have their needs met by “special” help or “specially-trained” people – by “specialists”.
- The language of “special needs” leads to, and serves to excuse, a “can’t do” attitude as the default position of many general educators – it effectively deprives inclusive education of its necessary oxygen – a conducive “can do” classroom culture.
- The label of “special needs” is inconsistent with recognition of disability as part of human diversity. In that social framework, none of us are “special” as we are all equal siblings in the diverse family of humanity.
- Monotropism is one of the key ideas required for making sense of autism, along with the double empathy problem and neurodiversity.
- Monotropism makes sense of many autistic experiences at the individual level.
- The double empathy problem explains the misunderstandings that occur between people who process the world differently, often mistaken for a lack of empathy on the autistic side.
- Neurodiversity describes the place of autistic people and other ‘neurominorities’ in society.
- Monotropic minds tend to have their attention pulled more strongly towards a smaller number of interests at any given time, leaving fewer resources for other processes.
- The ‘double empathy problem’ refers to a breakdown in mutual understanding (that can happen between any two people) and hence a problem for both parties to contend with, yet more likely to occur when people of very differing dispositions attempt to interact.
- Monotropism and the Double Empathy Problem are two of the biggest and most important things to happen to autism research.
- If an autistic person is pulled out of monotropic flow too quickly, it causes our sensory systems to disregulate.
- If an autistic person is pulled out of monotropic flow too quickly, it causes our sensory systems to disregulate.
- All schools are neurodiverse: all have kids with wildly different experiences of the world, different needs. Teachers need to grasp that.
- Exposure anxiety (EA) is a condition identified by Donna Williams in which the child or adult feels acutely self-conscious; it leads to a persistent and overwhelming fear of interaction.
- Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) is extreme emotional sensitivity and pain triggered by the perception that a person has been rejected or criticized by important people in their life. It may also be triggered by a sense of falling short—failing to meet their own high standards or others’ expectations.
- I am situationally mute. For anyone that isn’t aware of what that is, it simply means that in certain situations, places or around certain people I don’t want to and often literally cannot speak.
- Autistic people tend to have ‘spiky skills profiles:’ we are good at some things, bad at other things, and the difference between the two tends to be much greater than it is for most other people.
- There is consensus regarding some neurodevelopmental conditions being classed as neurominorities, with a ‘spiky profile’ of executive functions difficulties juxtaposed against neurocognitive strengths as a defining characteristic.
- Provide Opportunity but not Pressure.
- The absence of any expectation or pressure to socialize, and the knowledge that they’re free to withdraw at any time, seem to free many autistic people to want to socialize.
- For an autistic person, lunch and recess can be the most stressful times of the day.
The Accommodations for Natural Human Variation Should Be Mutual
Real inclusive organizing should at a minimum include: Incorporating disability into your values or action statements; having disabled people on the organizing committee or board; making accessibility a priority from day one; and listening to feedback from disabled people.
We have turned classrooms into hell for neurodivergence. Students with conflicting sensory needs and accommodations are squished together with no access to cave, campfire, or watering hole zones. This sensory environment feeds the overwhelm -> meltdown -> burnout cycle. Feedback loops cascade.
They don’t take disability studies classes.
They don’t socialize with us.
They don’t listen to us.
Wanted: hospitals and doctors’ offices that…
“Written communication is the great social equalizer.” It allows us to participate and be a part of things bigger than ourselves.
Our multi-age learning community sets up and runs our organization. We don’t use learning management software. Instead, our learners use the professional tools of a modern, neurodiverse organization, without all the ed-tech surveillance baked in. We use technology to co-create paths to equity and access with our learners.