Changelog: Updated and New on Stimpunks.org for Calendar Week 4, January 2023

Metal Health Fest was a joyful success. Thanks to all who came out.

Meanwhile, on our website:

2 new blog posts.
3 updated Field Guide pages.
1 new glossary entry.
6 updated glossary entries.

New blog posts

Updated Field Guide Pages

New glossary entries

Updated glossary entries

Cognitive Net: Checklists, Index Cards, Ivy Lee, and the Leverage of Simple Interventions

A checklist of 6 – 10 items on an index card, created daily, can be powerful and accessible coping for interest-based operating systems.

Checklists

We love lists and checklists.

Checklists are simple interventions with lots of leverage.

All the examples, I noticed, had a few attributes in common: They involved simple interventions—a vaccine, the removal of a pump handle. The effects were carefully measured. And the interventions proved to have widely transmissible benefits—what business types would term a large ROI (return on investment) or what Archimedes would have called, merely, leverage.

Plain soap was leverage.

The secret, he pointed out to me, was that the soap was more than soap. It was a behavior-change delivery vehicle.

The Checklist Manifesto | Atul Gawande

Analog

We complement our digital coping systems with lists written on physical index cards, in particular Analog from Ugmonk. Ugmonk’s Analog is a simple intervention with lots of leverage. It’s an accessible and achievable system, beautifully distilled.

Index card oriented vertically with a todo list handwritten on it.

Analog doesn’t replace your digital tools, it works alongside them by helping you focus on your most important work.

Analog is a simple, repeatable process. Starting fresh with a new Today card helps you adjust to your changing priorities.

At the beginning of each day, write up to 10 tasks on a Today card.

Use Task Signals to mark each task as completed, delegated, or in progress.

Carry over unfinished tasks on a new Today card, or move some of them to a Next or Someday card.

Analog – Ugmonk

Fitting with our love of constructionism, each Today card is an artifact, a wonderfully textured and considered artifact that captures a day and a moment in your life.

You don’t need Analog cards, of course. Any index card will do. We also like Exacompta cards with their Clairefontaine paper.

Ivy Lee

During his 15 minutes with each executive, Ivy Lee explained his simple daily routine for achieving peak productivity:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

On Managing Priorities Well

Ivy Lee’s productivity method utilizes many of the concepts I have written about previously.

Here’s what makes it so effective:

It’s simple enough to actually work.

It forces you to make tough decisions.

It removes the friction of starting.

It requires you to single-task.

The Ivy Lee Method: The Daily Routine for Peak Productivity

Interest-Based vs. Importance-Based

Autistic and Kinetic (ADHD) people have interest-based rather than importance-based, priority-based nervous systems.

If you ask a person with ADHD, has the importance of the task ever once in your life been useful to you, a person with ADHD with honesty can say no. Importance rewards and consequences are nothing but a nag to me.

“I have always been able to do anything I wanted to do so long as I could get engaged through interest, challenge, novelty, urgency, and passion.”

“I have never once in my life been able to make use of the three things that organize and motivate everybody else: importance, rewards, and consequences.”

There are implications for this as well. Not being able to make use of importance makes decision-making almost impossible. If importance and priority do not organize and motivate us, and if what we get out of a particular choice does not matter to us at all, all choices look the same, all starting points look the same. They’re all sort of shades of grey. That makes planning and organization very difficult. You don’t know what your goals are. Most planning systems are built for people who are neurotypical because they are based on two things that the ADHD nervous system doesn’t: importance and time.

Consequently, Franklin Covey is nothing more than a setup for failure for people with ADHD.

Defining Features of ADHD That Everyone Overlooks: RSD, Hyperarousal, More (w/ Dr. William Dodson) – YouTube

Analog + Ivy Lee is simple enough to help interest-based neurotypes cope in priority-based cultures. Checking an index card for what to do next offers a distraction-less clarity compared to checking our online devices with their infinite, enticing rabbit holes.

Point of Performance

When psychologist Russell Barkley (1997) refers to that space between stimulus and response, he calls it “the point of performance.” It is that particular time and place where we are called upon to recognize our options and commit ourselves to a course of action. It is a window of opportunity that is available only for a limited time. According to Barkley, response inhibition is the key to keeping that window of opportunity open long enough to consider our options and choose our path. Barkley cites response inhibition as the most fundamental of the brain’s executive functions and the gateway to accessing the other executive functions such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, planning, and problem solving (Barkley, 1997).

Executive Function and Child Development

On Saturday, Jon sits down at the table and cuts a piece of paper into strips. He then writes his chores on the strips—one chore per strip. Next, with Mia’s help, he puts them in the order that they are to be done. The final chore is his favorite—taking his dog to the park for a long walk. Finally, Jon puts the strips together to create a paper chain. Once the chain is completed, he attaches it to his wrist so that it will always be at the point of performance as he moves about the house completing his chores.

An hour later, chores done, Mia, Jon, and the dog are on their way to the park. “That was fun,” Jon says to his mother. “And I got all my chores done by myself! Let’s do that again next week.”

Executive Function and Child Development

Tie It To Ya

I, Ryan, hang my index cards around my neck at point of performance. I cut the covers off two Rite in the Rain Index Card Wallets, stuck them back to back with hook-and-loop, and put two label markers in the pen loops. The whole thing hangs around my neck from a lanyard with a magnetic quick connect.

Analog index card in an index card holder with two black markers on each side in pen loops. A magnetic quick connect is attached to the bottom of the card holder.

My cognitive net is always at hand and ready to capture thoughts before they are forgotten.

Further reading,

Changelog: Updated and New on Stimpunks.org for Calendar Week 3, January 2023

This week was spent updating our access Field Guide in preparation for Metal Health Fest and designing and printing our own interaction badges.

3 new blog posts.
2 new pages.
3 new Field Guide pages.
3 updated Field Guide pages.
1 new glossary entry.
2 updated glossary entries.

New blog posts

New pages

New Field Guide pages

Updated Field Guide Pages

New glossary entries

Updated glossary entries

Neurodiversity and Disability Related Passages from “Trust Kids!: Stories on Youth Autonomy and Confronting Adult Supremacy”

Over in the Human Restoration Project Discord community, we’re about to start our next book club selection: “Trust Kids!: Stories on Youth Autonomy and Confronting Adult Supremacy

I was happy to see some great neurodiversity and disability related passages in the book, excerpted below.

Yet the frequently uttered message “you are not broken” is more often than not an erasure of trauma. In some sense, due to their trauma, they’re all a bit broken, like most of us.

Trust Kids! (2022 edition) | Open Library

trust kids to be kids in a world that does not want them to be kids. trust kids to be kids.
to be neurodivergent.
neuroemergent.
neurodifferent.
neurofabulous.
neurodimensional.
neuroqueer.
trust kids to be.
trust (these) kids.
trust (those) kids too.
trust kids / all kids / sad kids / mad kids / happy kids / Black kids / Indigenous kids / magical kids / anxious kids / quiet kids / outspoken kids / undocumented kids / adopted kids / thoughtful kids / tree-climbing kids / naming-all-the-frogs-George kids / otherworld otherworld-daydreaming kids / mutain’eering kids / screaming kids / joyful kids / disabled kids / grieving kids / autistic kids / sick kids / scared kids / hurt kids / traumatized kids /
non-verbal kids / compassionate kids / empathetic kids / system kids / hypervigilant kids / voice-hearing kids / stimming kids / hungry kids / tired kids / ticcing kids / hopeful kids / trans kids / queer kids / intersex kids / 2SLGBTQIAA+ kids / all (and we mean all) kids. because this list is not exhaustive of kids to trust
how about
just
trust (all) kids.

Probably connected to the times in which it was created, in the world of X-Men, parents are assumed to be unable to accept the differences among their mutant children, and these mutants are only saved through the hand of a non-parental other, and the state-like institutions they are part of. This assumes that a parental figure can never truly come to understand the differences among their children and that what the kids need instead is to be warehoused in some kind of “alternative” institution, one that supports the colonial state, so they can be molded and turned into good citizens.

How does this relate to our worlds? We think that “mutants” can be read not only as a metaphor for the alienating feeling of being young in an adult world, but also as a metaphor for neurodivergence and madness. The number of people—of all ages—who are being diagnosed and self-diagnosing as neurodivergent has proliferated in the last two decades. We see part of this breaking open of differences as correlating to the immense degree of hyperstimulation, global catastrophe, and isolation that has escalated in the last twenty years. We aren’t necessarily saying “that this correlation is evolutionary, but that, for many reasons, we are now seeing that more and more people have been revealed to be on the margins of contemporary society than before. To us, “t is also the result of years of activists breaking down barriers, our increased access to information, and the dissemination of personal stories. As well, it’s often easier to place blame on the individual for not fitting in (to school, etc.) due to their differences, rather than critique schools and other intuitions as the places that are not working. For this essay, we’re interested in talking about “mutants” in the contemporary context: those who have started to transform away from/shed the veils and masks of the oppressive environments in which they and their recent ancestors have lived.”

“I think it’s important to remember that people’s behavior always exists within their own social context. The ways that teenagers are—the supposedly immutable patterns of behavior culturally ascribed to teens—exist within a society in which they are oppressed, stripped of power, surveilled (by parents or other guardians, schools, and by police), criminalized, and controlled. I would suggest that basing our understanding of teenage behavior on a population existing under oppression, shut away from the rest of society in schools, with very little power or freedom, does not represent an accurate picture of what teens are innately like. I would also suggest that much of what is cast as “bad” behavior is not inherently bad; it’s simply inconvenient or dangerous to power.”

CW: ableist language

“Within the western developmental paradigm, any failure to escape childhood—that is, to achieve and maintain the complete form and abilities associated with adulthood—is considered a tragic and lamentable failure to become human. Thus, disability is defined as an interruption in the “normal” and “natural” fulfillment of the ontogenic telos of human development from infant to mature adult. A childing lens rejects the notion that adulthood is an achievement and recognizes it simply as a different way of being fully human, which exists alongside other modalities of human agency associated with care and interdependence, which are neither unnecessary nor inferior to adult forms of agency.

To address disability, we must understand that it is structured according to a degraded notion of childhood as a stage closer to animal than human. We see this expressed in the way levels of intellectual or cognitive “disability” are indexed against alleged stages of childhood development. Not only is IQ an age-based metric of intelligence, but the terminology of cognitive disability itself (i.e., fool, moron, idiot, imbecile, etc.) are all defined with reference to the child’s progression through various intellectual benchmarks. The “moron” is someone whose cognitive development is that of someone between the ages of ten to twelve years old. The “imbecile” has the mental age of someone four to ten years old. The “idiot” has the mind of someone three years old or younger. Historically, these classifications have corresponded to distinct forms of labor—the labor deemed suitable for children of different ages, as well as adults who cognitively or intellectually remain children, mired in a world of necessity and immediacy rather than freedom and transcendence. And so, IQ and “feeble-mindedness” become a way of designating adults to the labor normally designated “to children.

To be intellectually disabled, then, is to be fixed or arrested at an arbitrarily designated stage of childhood development. Likewise, to be physically disabled is to require assistance to move, walk, grasp, or eat in the way we must assist an infant or toddler. In general, disability is shorthand for the dependence of the child and their ethical demand for care, which we already view as a regrettable impingement on the exercise of adult freedom. Without the concept of the adult as a being who defines what it means to be fully human vis-à-vis their abilities to think and act, which is posed in contradistinction to the developing child who is unable to function as fully human, there is no basis for the idea of arrested development or disability. Childing disability entails the elimination of the teleological framework of human development from child to adult, and a recognition of different forms of human as fully human irrespective of age or capacity. This also bears on the participation of differently abled folks in political life.”

Stephanie told me that her autistic child, Zachary, was in a constant state of distress at school, and that he would bring that distress home to the family each afternoon. Stephanie first tried to advocate for accommodations at the local public school, and when that did not work, she enrolled him in the most progressive school she could find. Yet she still found herself physically prying his fingers from the door frame each morning to go to school, and trying to find ways to ameliorate the compounding symptoms of physical illness that seemed to stem from the stress. Zachary felt trapped in environments where he was expected—so adults could feel comfortable—to contain his emotions, ideas, and movements.

When young people are in distress, adults often attempt to help the child manage through it. This rarely benefits the child, as the causes of the distress are usually external. Depending on their identities and places of being, young people can be impacted by the wide variety of social, economic, and legal forms of oppression that adults also face. Other than those who are incarcerated, no group of people are more routinely denied autonomy over their bodies and minds than young people. Autonomy is a basic human need, and distress in response to violations of that autonomy is not a defect of the child. We can change the context for these young people by removing the oppressive practices and structures that are placed upon and inhibit the autonomy of children.

“As a result of Stephanie’s decision to move Zachary from an environment that disregarded his personal autonomy to one that openly acknowledged it, many of Zachary’s struggles quickly disappeared, and the quality of his life and that of his family improved substantially. For example, the tussling each morning at the door disappeared, and Zachary and his family avoided a stressful event at the beginning of the day, which helped head off a cascade of follow-on crises.”

It began when some teachers and schools wanted to drug and kick Zach out of mainstream spaces for his difference, which is autism—despite the school system wanting to label his behavior as ADHD. Instead of complying, we sought out radical and alternative spaces, for both education and community, finding communities where folks were trying to think about how kids can be fully part of a community in liberated and autonomous ways. The key word here is radical because broadly speaking, in the youth liberation movement, there are many permutations of ways that adults work to create better spaces for (or with) youth to exercise their autonomy and power.

Trust Kids! (2022 edition) | Open Library

“Trust Kids!” is currently 50% off at publisher AK Press.

Related reading,

We Use Interaction Badges at Our Events

At our events, we use interaction badges.

Stimpunks Umbrella Logo
Interaction Badge

Come Talk To Me

A person wearing a green badge is actively seeking interaction. They may have trouble initiating conversations, but it's okay to come up and start a conversation with them.

A white circle on a green background with the word “GREEN” beneath.

Come Talk To Me

A person wearing a green badge is actively seeking interaction. They may have trouble initiating conversations, but it’s okay to come up and start a conversation with them.

A white circle on a green background with the word “GREEN” beneath.

Stimpunks Umbrella Logo
Interaction Badge

Do I Know You?

A person wearing a yellow badge only wants to talk to people they recognize. Unless you've met this person face-to-face before, please don't start a conversation with them. If they start talking to you, you're welcome to talk back with them.

A white triangle on a yellow background with the word “YELLOW” beneath.

Do I Know You?

A person wearing a yellow badge only wants to talk to people they recognize. Unless you’ve met this person face-to-face before, please don’t start a conversation with them. If they start talking to you, you’re welcome to talk back with them.

A white triangle on a yellow background with the word “YELLOW” beneath.

Stimpunks Umbrella Logo
Interaction Badge

Not Right Now

A person wearing a red badge does not want anyone to talk to them. They may approach others to talk, in which case it's okay to respond. Unless you have been told otherwise, please don't start interacting with them.

A white square on a red background with the word “RED” beneath.

Not Right Now

A person wearing a red badge does not want anyone to talk to them. They may approach others to talk, in which case it’s okay to respond. Unless you have been told otherwise, please don’t start interacting with them.

A white square on a red background with the word “RED” beneath.

Interaction badges were first developed in Autistic spaces and conferences. They help people tell everyone who can see their badge about their communication preferences.

The card that is currently visible is the active card. The other two are hidden behind the first one, accessible to the person if they should need them.

The default is green if no card is displayed.

If you see someone wearing a yellow or red card, please respect their wishes. If you are wearing a red or yellow card and someone is harassing you by not respecting your preference, find the nearest staff member.

We recently designed our own set of interaction badges, borrowing heavily from the fine iterative work done by Midwest Furfest and WordCamp Philly.

Red, yellow, and green interaction badges printed on poly paper arranged side-by-side on a wooden table

Color Communication Badges are an accommodation to support social interaction for people with a variety of disabilities and communication needs. Color communication badges were first developed by Autism Network International, and popularized by the Autistic community in Autistic spaces and conferences.

Color Communication Badges offer those who use them an opportunity to communicate explicitly the degree to which they want to participate in new social interactions and with who. They offer a universally designed way of making a conference, university, event or other space more accessible to those who may not find typical nonverbal social cues accessible. Many non-disabled people report that this system also benefits them too.

Color Communication Badges
Interaction badges were first developed in Autistic spaces and conferences. They help people tell everyone who can see their badge about their communication preferences.

The card that is currently visible is the active card. The other two are hidden behind the first one, accessible to the person if they should need them.

The default is green if no card is displayed.

If you see someone wearing a yellow or red card, please respect their wishes. If you are wearing a red or yellow card and someone is harassing you by not respecting your preference, find the nearest staff member.

Here's what the badges look like and what they mean:

Come Talk To Me

A person wearing a green badge is actively seeking interaction. They may have trouble initiating conversations, but it's okay to come up and start a conversation with them.

A white circle on a green background with the word “GREEN” beneath.

Do I Know You?

A person wearing a yellow badge only wants to talk to people they recognize. Unless you've met this person face-to-face before, please don't start a conversation with them. If they start talking to you, you're welcome to talk back with them.

A white triangle on a yellow background with the word “YELLOW” beneath.

Not Right Now

A person wearing a red badge does not want anyone to talk to them. They may approach others to talk, in which case it's okay to respond. Unless you have been told otherwise, please don't start interacting with them.

A white square on a red background with the word “RED” beneath.

Learn about the history and use of interaction badges in this piece.

Providing interaction badges is one of our five ways of welcoming people to our learning spaces and events.

Changelog: Updated and New on Stimpunks.org for Calendar Week 2, January 2023

This week on stimpunks.org.

  • 1 new event.
  • 1 new blog post.
  • 2 new pages.
  • 1 updated page.
  • 4 new glossary entries.
  • 1 updated glossary entry.
  • 6 new Field Guide pages.

New Events

New blog posts

New pages

Updated pages

New glossary entries

Web

Updated glossary entries

New Field Guide Pages

Changelog: Updated and New on Stimpunks.org for Calendar Week 1, January 2023

We continuously update our site with the latest research and community writing.

This week:

2 new blog posts.

6 updated pages.

17 updated glossary entries.

9 new glossary entries.

New blog posts

Updated Pages

Updated glossary entries

New glossary entries

Neurodiversity in the Classroom

Neurodiversity is an equity imperative and is critical in shifting the culture of teaching and learning.

 “Neurodiversity is Human Diversity: An Equity Imperative for Education” in the International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity (Volume 10, Number 2, December, 2022) IJTDC Journal – IJTDC 10(1&2) 2022

We offer several series and courses on neurodiversity in the classroom. This is what our community of neurodivergent and disabled people wants to say to educators. This is 100s of hours of free and open professional development, deeply and broadly sourced. Learn how to better treat and teach our loved people.

Education Access: We’ve Turned Classrooms Into a Hell for Neurodivergence

We have autistic children who need us to support them as architects of their own liberation against the schools and clinicians and institutions and police and prosecutors who would crush and destroy them.

AUTISTIC HOYA: THE NEURODIVERSITY MOVEMENTS NEEDS ITS SHOES OFF, AND FISTS UP.

Enter many SpEd classrooms, and you’ll see little awareness of neurodiversity and the social model of disability. 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. “Mind blindneurotypical adults call across the room, feeding the overwhelm. They ratchet compliance, feeding the overwhelm. They treat meltdowns as attention-seeking “fits”, feeding the overwhelm. They not only fail to presume competence, they speak about kids as if they aren’t even there, feeding the overwhelm. The familiar yet wrong things are done.

Education Access: We’ve Turned Classrooms Into a Hell for Neurodivergence

The neurodiversity and disability rights movements well-understand the ubiquity of behaviorism, and its tremendous costs.

Behaviorist education is ableist education.

When your kid is DXed as autistic, almost all of the professional advice you get from education and healthcare is steeped in deficit ideology and the pathology paradigm.

The unhealthiness, unhelpfulness, and disconnectedness of this worldview leads some to consult autistic adults. Then, you discover neurodiversity and the social model of disability. And then, maybe, intersectionality, design for real life, and equity literate education. And then you find yourself in the healthier framing of structural ideology that is better for your kid and better for the systems and institutions that you’re now trying to improve.

Education Access: We’ve Turned Classrooms Into a Hell for Neurodivergence

The Need: Anti-Ableist Space for Human-Centered Learning

My kids have been kicked out of many, many places for being different—just like I was.

The question is simple: Is there room for disabled kids at a piano school? On a swim team? In most classrooms?

The answer, right now, seems to be no.

Catapult | The World Doesn’t Bend for Disabled Kids (or Disabled Parents)

The need for anti-ableist learning space for neurodivergent and disabled people is now.

We create anti-ableist space for passion-based, human-centered learning compatible with neurodiversity and the social model of disability. We create space for those most ill-served by “empty pedagogy, behaviorism, and the rejection of equity“. We create paths to equity and access for our learners so they can collaborate on distributed, multi-age, cross-disciplinary teams with a neurodiverse array of creatives doing work that impacts community.

The Need: Anti-Ableist Space for Human-Centered Learning

We have created a system that has you submit yourself, or your child, to patient hood to access the right to learn differently. The right to learn differently should be a universal human right that’s not mediated by a diagnosis.

The Gift: Learning Disabilities Reframed

Classroom UX: Designing for Pluralism

Since reading NeuroTribes, we think of psychologically & sensory safe spaces suited to zone work as “Cavendish bubbles” and “Cavendish space”, after Henry Cavendish, the wizard of Clapham Common and discoverer of hydrogen. The privileges of nobility afforded room for his differences, allowing him the space and opportunity to become “one of the first true scientists in the modern sense.”

Cavendish Space: psychologically & sensory safe spaces suited to zone work, intermittent collaboration, and collaborative niche construction.

Let’s build psychologically safe homes of opportunity without the requirement of nobility or privilege. Replace the trappings of the compliance classroom with student-created context, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and BYOC (Bring/Build Your Own Comfort). Let’s hit thrift stores, buy lumber, apply some hacker ethos, and turn the compliance classroom into something psychologically safe and comfortable to a team of young minds engaged in passion-based learning. Inform spaces with neurodiversity and the social model of disability so that they welcome and include all minds and bodies. Provide quiet spaces for high memory state zone work where students can escape sensory overwhelm, slip into flow states, and enjoy a maker’s schedule. Provide social spaces for collaboration and camaraderie. Create cave, campfire, and watering hole zones. Develop neurological curb cuts. Fill our classrooms with choice and comfort, instructional tolerance, continuous connectivity, and assistive technology. In other words, make space for Cavendish. Make spaces for both collaboration and deep work.

Classroom UX: Designing for Pluralism

Space: The place where we belong does not exist. We will build it.

A human-centered classroom is needed now more than ever. In a time of growing uncertainty, global challenges, and increased threats to democracy, children need space to question, reflect, and actualize a meaning to their lives. These young people, along with their educators, will build a new future of love, care, and respect for all.

A Guide to Human Centric Education

Stimpunks Space offers community and space for passion-based, human-centered learning with purpose. Our learners collaborate on distributed, multi-age, cross-disciplinary teams with a neurodiverse array of creatives doing work that impacts community. Via equity, access, empathy, and inclusivity, we create anti-ableist space compatible with neurodiversity, the social model of disability, and all types of bodyminds. We create space for the neurodivergent and disabled people most ill-served by “empty pedagogy, behaviorism, and the rejection of equity“.

Online, we bring safety to the serendipity with our distributed community and communication stack. Chance favors the connected mind. Our learners connect using 1:1 laptops and indie ed-tech. We give our learners real laptops with real capabilities, and we fill those laptops with assistive tech and tools of the trades.

Offline, our learners enjoy fresh air, daylight, large muscle movement, and the freedom to stim and play.

We provide Cavendish space of peer respite and collaborative niche construction where our learners can find relief from an intense world designed against us.

Space: The place where we belong does not exist. We will build it.

Give your kids the gift of daylight.

In order to maintain healthy attention kids need three things that are often in short supply in schools — fresh air, large muscle movement, and daylight. One of the easiest to fix, in many schools, is daylight.

How Will You Redesign Your School Over The Next Six Months?

DIY at the Edges: Surviving the Bipartisanship of Behaviorism by Rolling Our Own

Thorndike won, and Dewey lost. I don’t think you can understand the history of education technology without realizing this either. And I’d propose an addendum to this too: you cannot understand the history of education technology in the United States during the twentieth century – and on into the twenty-first – unless you realize that Seymour Papert lost and B. F. Skinner won.

B. F. SKINNER: THE MOST IMPORTANT THEORIST OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Behaviorism is dead.

Despite that, 

Behaviorism won.

And neurodivergent and disabled students lost.

Behaviorism is everywhere. The All Means All of public education is made meaningless by the bipartisanship of behaviorism. The neurodiversity and disability rights movements well-understand the ubiquity of behaviorism, and its tremendous costs.

This course fights against behaviorist practices in the classroom.

DIY at the Edges: Surviving the Bipartisanship of Behaviorism by Rolling Our Own

Reframing Learning: How We Use Caves, Campfires, and Watering Holes to Nurture Intrinsic Motivation, Enter Flow States, and make Rock ’n’ Roll

DIY at the Edges: Surviving the Bipartisanship of Behaviorism by Rolling Our Own

Six Things Educators Must Know About Neurodivergent People

Here are six things we think every educator must know about neurodivergent people. By understanding these, we make “all means all” more meaningful.

  • Spiky Profiles
  • Monotropism
  • Double Empathy Problem
  • Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria
  • Exposure Anxiety
  • Situational Mutism
Six Things Educators Must Know About Neurodivergent People

Five Ways to Welcome All Bodyminds to Your Learning Event

We have detailed accessibility checklists and recommendations in our course “Enable Dignity: The Accommodations for Natural Human Variation Should Be Mutual“, but for this piece we reduce down to five things you can learn and do to welcome all bodyminds to your learning event.

  • Create real access pages.
  • Create Cavendish Space with caves, campfires, and watering holes.
  • Provide interaction badges.
  • Offer bodymind affirmations and provide outlets for stimming, pacing, fidgeting, and retreating.
  • Ensure there is quiet space and outdoor space that people can access at any time.
Five Ways to Welcome All Bodyminds to Your Learning Event

The Five Neurodivergent Love Languages

The five neurodivergent love languages:

  • Infodumping
  • Penguin Pebbling
  • Parallel Play, Body Doubling
  • Support Swapping, Sharing Spoons
  • Please Crush My Soul Back Into My Body, Deep Pressure Input Good

Emotional bids are the pixels of relationship communications and are important to relationship accommodations. This list is much about recognizing and meeting some common neurodivergent emotional bids in relationships, thus the phrase “love languages”.

Infodumping, parallel play, support swapping, and penguin pebbling are languages of teamwork and collaboration too, especially in distributed work cultures and “communication is oxygen” cultures. If only there were a distributed and work-appropriate equivalent for “Please Crush My Soul Back Into My Body”.

Learn about these love languages, and notice them in your school.

The Five Neurodivergent Love Languages

It’s Not Rocket Science: Ensure there is quiet space and outdoor space that people can access at any time.

Ensure there is quiet space and outdoor space that people can access at any time.

It’s Not Rocket Science: Considering and meeting the sensory needs of autistic children and young people

This is a list of useful research papers and Commissioned documents that have changed how we think about autistic people, and how we respond to their distress and their brain events.

Useful New Autism Info for Care Settings

Autism. Nearly 80 years on from the original misunderstandings in the 1940s.  So, what’s changed, in research?  Almost everything.

Autism: Some Vital Research Links

Just listen. It’s not rocket science, just listen.

Daisy

The number of autistic young people who stop attending mainstream schools appears to be rising.

My research suggests these absent pupils are not rejecting learning but rejecting a setting that makes it impossible for them to learn.

We need to change the circumstances.

Walk in My Shoes – The Donaldson Trust

Outside space. Many people find being outside and in natural very calming. Space to move away from other people, internal noises and distractions can be a good way to self-regulate. 

“I think things that are useful for autistic people would be beneficial for everyone. It would have stopped a lot of distress for a lot of people if they can take themselves away and calm down.”
Emily 

A sensory room or de-stress room. Easy access to a quiet space to de-stress can be an enormously helpful tool for people to be able to self-manage. Ideally, this room will be away from areas where there is heavy footfall or other outside noise. Many people find neutral spaces beneficial, with the option of lights and other sensory stimulus. 

“I think you should just be able to walk into the sensory room instead of asking staff and waiting for them to unlock it.”
Jamie 

It’s Not Rocket Science: Considering and meeting the sensory needs of autistic children and young people

Changelog: Updated and New on Stimpunks.org for December 2022

I spent the holidays with our website. Here’s what’s updated and new for December.

13 new blog posts.

3 new pages.

3 updated pages.

18 new glossary entries.

7 updated glossary entries.

New blog posts

New pages

Updated pages

New glossary entries

Art

Updated glossary entries

Letter to the Boston Globe on “The Mismeasure of Misha: My son broke free from the most common therapy for autism. Why is it used on so many kids like him?”

Where, I wondered, did ABA’s scientific principles come from?

“Skinner,” Larry replied.

“B.F. Skinner? The Harvard psychologist who trained pigeons to play Ping-Pong?”

“Yes.”

The mismeasure of Misha: My son broke free from the most common therapy for autism. Why is it used on so many kids like him? 

CW: ABA, behaviorism, ableism, quiet hands

To the Boston Globe,

Thank you for publishing “The mismeasure of Misha: My son broke free from the most common therapy for autism. Why is it used on so many kids like him?

As an allistic parent, I am always careful about writing for, or speaking about the autistic and disabled communities. I believe that they should use their own voice and be given a safe space to express themselves. It will look different; maybe a bit odd, or a bit messy, or too emotional or not emotional enough. It will cause people to stare, to point, to whisper, to look away or to ogle.

So I am not going to write about ABA therapy that many autistic and disabled adults describe as harmful.

I am writing this because I hate when neurodivergent or disabled people are silenced, over-looked and taken advantage of. That is exactly what happens with ABA therapy. It teaches kids to quietly sit and collect “tokens” or rewards for “good behavior.” The goal is to have you to blend in, to be compliant, to not complain. It is such bullshit! In all other “underrepresented populations” we cheer when they break barriers, stand up for themselves and make some noise. We celebrate “girl power” and cheer for “equal rights” advocates; but if you are autistic then you learn to have “quiet hands” and “quiet voices.” If you express yourself as an autistic child then you are put on a behavior plan at school and have to earn your way back into an “inclusion environment.”

Pretty much everything an autistic child does, says, doesn’t do or doesn’t say is pathologised and made into a way to invent a ‘therapy’ for it.

It’s actually hell to experience.
We should stop doing this and start learning about autism.

Ann Memmott PGC

It’s totally wrong but also so very convenient for society. The quiet and compliant child becomes a quiet and compliant adult. That adult will not complain when they are prevented from driving, from working (for real wages), from saving money, and most importantly from voting.

Ever wonder why the neurodivergent and disabled population are unemployed, under-employed, abused and often incarcerated? Could it be that for years we have been teaching them to be quiet, sit down, and collect their tokens?

We start charities that promote funding for ABA, applaud VC investment in ABA therapies, and vote for governments and schools districts that pass laws/budgets mandating ABA therapies. The community at large believes we are helping.

What we as a community forget to do, is to give a platform to disabled people: the loud, the awkward and the messy ones.

We often forget to give them a seat at the table.

I am writing not only in support for this article, “The Mismeasure of Misha“, but also asking that you spotlight the neurodivergent and disabled community in this conversation. Please consider publishing some of their comments, and follow up articles that focus on their experience both inside and outside the ABA therapy rooms. The ultimate dream would be to partner with them to write those articles and exposés. People like my son and his friends. They have value, they have a voice, and they don’t want to sit down, be quiet and collect their tokens.

Abuse and silencing is a constant, pervasive theme in the lives of autistic people, and for many people it is best expressed by that old, familiar phrase from special education: quiet hands!

Loud hands means resisting. Loud Hands means speaking, however we do, anyway—and doing so in a way that can be very obviously Autistic. It means finding ways to talk and think about ourselves on our own terms.

There is room for all of us to play our part. And whatever we do, however we do it, we can do it with ‘loud hands’ and ‘loud voices,’ and loud whatever else we need, in whatever way that works for us individually or collectively. Let us be our real autistic selves, loud and proud, and show the world what we truly are.

Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking (p. 8, 125). Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Supporting Quotes

A motto of the self-advocacy movement is “Nothing About Us, Without Us!”. Lots of people talk about us without letting us talk. We should always be part of the conversation, and be in charge of our lives.

WELCOME TO THE AUTISTIC COMMUNITY

In a classroom of language-impaired kids, the most common phrase is a metaphor.

“Quiet hands!”

A student pushes at a piece of paper, flaps their hands, stacks their fingers against their palm, pokes at a pencil, rubs their palms through their hair. It’s silent, until:

“Quiet hands!”

I’ve yet to meet a student who didn’t instinctively know to pull back and put their hands in their lap at this order. Thanks to applied behavioral analysis, each student learned this phrase in preschool at the latest, hands slapped down and held to a table or at their sides for a count of three until they learned to restrain themselves at the words.

The literal meaning of the words is irrelevant when you’re being abused.

When I was a little girl, I was autistic. And when you’re autistic, it’s not abuse. It’s therapy.

Quiet Hands | Just Stimming…

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.” 

We’re Autistic. Here’s what we’d like you to know.

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.

One of my favorite anecdotes from Asperger’s thesis is when he asks an autistic boy in his clinic if he believes in God. “I don’t like to say I’m not religious,” the boy replies, “I just don’t have any proof of God.” That anecdote shows an appreciation of autistic non-compliance, which Asperger and his colleagues felt was as much a part of their patients’ autism as the challenges they faced. Asperger even anticipated in the 1970s that autistic adults who “valued their freedom” would object to behaviorist training, and that has turned out to be true.

THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO AUTISM: On Hans Asperger, the Nazis, and Autism: A Conversation Across Neurologies

It’s about rejecting pity, inspiration porn, & all other forms of ableism. It rejects the “good cripple” mythos. Cripple Punk is here for the bitter cripple, the uninspirational cripple, the smoking cripple, the drinking cripple, the addict cripple, the cripple who hasn’t “tried everything”. Cripple Punk fights internalized ableism & fully supports those struggling with it. It respects intersections of race, culture, gender, sexual/romantic orientation, size, intersex status, mental illness/neuroatypical status, survivor status, etc. Cripple Punk does not pander to the able bodied.

what are the principles of cripple punk? Are there any rules?

But even more compelling is the testimony of young people who understand the reality of this approach better than anyone because they’ve been on the receiving end of it. It is nothing short of stunning to learn just how widely and intensely ABA is loathed by autistic adults who are able to describe their experience with it. Frankly, I’m embarrassed that, until about a year ago, I was completely unaware of all the websitesarticlesscholarly essaysblog postsFacebook pages, and Twitter groups featuring the voices of autistic men and women, all overwhelmingly critical of ABA and eloquent in describing the trauma that is its primary legacy.

How is it possible that their voices have not transformed the entire discussion? Suppose you participated in implementing a widely used strategy for dealing with homelessness, only to learn that the most outspoken critics of that intervention were homeless people. Would that not stop you in your tracks? What would it say about you if it didn’t? And yet the consistent, emphatic objections of autistic people don’t seem to trouble ABA practitioners at all. Indeed, one critical analysis of ethics in this field notes that “autistics have been excluded from all committees, panels, boards, etc., charged with developing, directing, and assessing ABA research and treatment programs.”

Alfie Kohn, Autism and Behaviorism

Such an Organism as a Pigeon

“Once we have arranged the particular type of consequence called a reinforcement,“ Skinner wrote in ”The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching“ (1954), ”our techniques permit us to shape the behavior of an organism almost at will. It has become a routine exercise to demonstrate this in classes in elementary psychology by conditioning such an organism as a pigeon.”

…Such an organism as a pigeon.” We often speak of “lab rats” as shorthand for the animals used in scientific experiments. We use the phrase too to describe people who work in labs, who are completely absorbed in performing their tasks again and again and again. 

The Pigeons of Ed-Tech

In education and in education technology, students are also the subjects of experimentation and conditioning. But in Skinner’s framework, they are not rats; they are pigeons.

The Pigeons of Ed-Tech
Homing Pigeons in Cage

Further Reading From Our Community