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Day 4 – Choosing the Margin: Our Philosophical and Pedagogical Foundation

Home » Courses » DIY at the Edges: Surviving the Bipartisanship of Behaviorism by Rolling Our Own » Day 4 – Choosing the Margin: Our Philosophical and Pedagogical Foundation

Themes: Our heart, exposed. Compasses, guiding stars, and alignment with our loved people.

No one knows best the motion of the ocean than the fish that must fight the current to swim upstream.

Black Cyberfeminism: Intersectionality, Institutions and Digital Sociology by Tressie McMillan Cottom :: SSRN


Choose the margin as a site of radical possibility.


Disabled and neurodivergent people are always edge cases, and edge cases are stress cases.

Our designs, our societies, and the boundaries of our compassion are tested at the edges, where the truths told are of bias, inequality, injustice, and thoughtlessness.

The insights of intersectionality, the social model of disability, and design for real life help us design and build for these truths and do the “truly essential work”.

These insights are there in the values statements of the Human Restoration Project.

4 Values Statements for an Equitable System

Learning is rooted in purpose finding and community relevance. Map a Path to Purpose Learn Experientially Connect to the Community Promote Literacy Create Cross-Disciplinary, Multi-Age Classrooms Social justice is the cornerstone to educational success. Support a Reflective Space Demand Inclusive Spaces Authenticate Student Voice Adopt Critical Pedagogy Utilize Restorative Justice Dehumanizing practices do not belong in schools. Radically Reduce Homework Build Strong Relationships Eliminate Grading Redefine Assessment and End Testing Reform Food Systems Learners are respectful toward each other’s innate human worth. Self-Direct Learning Support and Elevate Teachers Ensure a Thriving Public Education Cooperate, Don’t Force Competition Prioritize Mental Health & Social Emotional Learning
  1. Map a Path to Purpose
  2. Learn Experientially
  3. Connect to the Community
  4. Promote Literacy
  5. Create Cross-Disciplinary, Multi-Age Classrooms
  1. Reimagine Space & Promote Free Play
  2. Demand Anti-Racist, Inclusive Spaces
  3. Authenticate Student Voice
  4. Adopt Critical Pedagogy & Build Democratic Schools
  5. Utilize Restorative Justice
  1. Radically Reduce Homework
  2. Build Strong Relationships
  3. Eliminate Grading
  4. Redefine Assessment and End Testing
  5. Reform Food Systems
  1. Self-Direct Learning
  2. Support and Elevate Teachers
  3. Stay Buzzword Free
  4. Cooperate, Don’t Force Competition
  5. Support Multi-Age Classrooms

Source: The Need


Choosing the Margin: Design is Tested at the Edges

Main Takeaways
  • Compassion is not coddling.
  • The more dehumanized groups a person belongs to, the more their experience forces them to understand about the way society is structured.
  • This space of radical openness is a margin a profound edge.
  • Living as we did on the edge we developed a particular way of seeing reality.
  • We fear those who speak about us who do not speak to us and with us.
  • Marginality as site of resistance. Enter that space.
  • No one knows best the motion of the ocean than the fish that must fight the current to swim upstream.
  • By focusing on the parts of the system that are most complex and where the people living it are the most vulnerable we understand the system best.
  • When we build things we must think of the things our life doesn’t necessitate. Because someone’s life does.


Main Takeaways
  • Design is tested at the edges.
  • Human cognitive diversity exists for a reason.
  • The right to learn differently should be a universal human right that’s not mediated by diagnosis.
  • Laziness does not exist.
  • We urgently need a society that’s better at letting people get the rest they need.
  • When you measure include the measurer.
  • There is no path to equity that does not involve a direct confrontation with inequity.
  • It is time to celebrate our interdependence!
  • Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.
  • We exist as friction.
  • Nothing About Us Without Us
  • We should always be part of the conversation.
  • Embracing pluralism is good citizenship.
  • Name the systems of power.

We Believe: Human-Centered, Trauma-Informed, Self-Determined, Equity-Literate, Interdisciplinary Learning with Open Technology

Main Takeaways
  • Dehumanizing practices do not belong in schools.
  • Learning is rooted in purpose finding and community relevance.
  • Social justice is the cornerstone to educational success.
  • Create a neurodiverse inclusive environment.
  • Seven Pathways to Ensuring Life Long Learning Competencies
  • The Eight Principles of Good Autism Practice are embedded in four themes: “Understanding the Individual”, “Positive and Effective Relationships”, “Enabling Environments”, and “Learning and Development”.
  • Autists conceptualise the world in terms of trusted relationships with unique people.
  • Autistic students need strong, trusting relationships with their teachers and peers; a learning environment that suits their needs; and some flexibility and control over their time and rhythm of their learning
  • Attend to the practices, policies, and aspects of institutional culture that traumatize children at school.
  • Dislodge hyper-punitive cultures and ideologies.
  • We must infuse trauma-informed education with a robust understanding of, and responsiveness to, the traumas of systemic oppression.
  • Trauma-informed education is antiracist and against all forms of oppression.
  • Trauma-informed education means centering our shared humanity.
  • How do we build learning environments that embrace intrinsic motivation: autonomy,  mastery, and purpose?
  • Everyone should have the right to make choices.
  • Flow states are the pinnacle of intrinsic motivation, where somebody wants to do something for themselves, for the sake of doing it and doing it well.
  • People need to feel appreciated and safe, to give themselves to an activity; and they need to feel like they are making progress to keep giving themselves to it.
  • Flow allows us to recharge.
  • The path to equity requires direct confrontations with inequity.
  • In order to achieve equity we must prioritize the interests of the students and families whose interests historically have not been prioritized.
  • Educational outcome disparities are not the result of deficiencies in marginalized communities’ cultures, mindsets, or grittiness, but rather of inequities.
  • No student will have mechanical limitations in access to either information or communication.
  • Tools matter. They are the most basic thing about being human.
  • We want our children to discover how to choose effectively for their own needs. To do that, they need choices, and so we believe in Toolbelt Theory.


Our Mission & Philosophy is our heart, exposed. We get through rough nights on warm lines with the words and music on our Mission page. Our Mission page helps us confront our truths and choose the margins.

We pay

We pay neurodivergent creators and amplify them to our clients and throughout society.

We exist

We exist for the direct support and mutual aid of neurodivergent and disabled people.

We believe

We believe that direct support to individuals is the most effective approach to alleviating the barriers and challenges that prevent neurodivergent and disabled people from thriving in neurotypical and ableist environments.

We create

We create anti-ableist space for passion-basedhuman-centered learning compatible with neurodiversity and the social model of disability.

We serve

We serve our loved people so we can keep on living through the onslaught.

Peer-run warm lines “staffed by people who have lived mental health experience” have been shown to reduce loneliness and participants’ use of mental health crisis services. Additionally, a review of several studies found that digital forms of peer support improve the lives of people with serious mental illness by “enhancing participants’ functioning, reducing symptoms and improving program utilization.”


When we need to cry, we visit our Mission and Philosophy pages. When we need to hope, we visit our Mission and Philosophy pages. They preserve our souls and align us on our loved people.

  • Keep on Livin’
  • Let Us Be Our Real Selves
  • Be Good, Be Loud

Holding our mission statement as our North Star, we choose the margins. We choose interdependence.

We are interdependent.

Interdependence is our reality. Celebrate our interdependence! Notice and nourish the interdependence in your spheres.

The notion of disability in our society is underscored by a bizarre conception of “independence”.

It is time to celebrate our interdependence!

Collaboration allows us to create genuinely safe spaces for autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people.

The Myth of Independence: How The Social Model of Disability Exposes Society’s Double Standards – NeuroClastic

Are you an inclusive world builder or a eugenicist world builder? Neurodiversity is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. Ableism and eugenics are at the core of our most pressing issues, including in education, and neurodiversity is the answer. #DIYEdge #Stimpunks #RollinOnOurOwn

Are you an inclusive world builder or a eugenicist world builder?

Neurodiversity is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. Ableism and eugenics are at the core of our most pressing issues, including in education, and neurodiversity is the answer. Neurodiversity and disability communities have been fighting ableism, eugenics, pseudo-science, behaviorism, conversion therapy, anti-vaxxers, bigots, and the tyranny of the norm for decades. Join us in the trenches of pluralism. Our bodily autonomy and our very bodyminds are under attack.

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.

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

We live in an age of unvarnished eugenics, and neurodiversity is our most powerful response to it.

Neurodiversity is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. It’s time is now.


On day 1, we mentioned developing a personal creed. Here’s our creed.

I know

I know that pluralism is our reality. I know that Neurodiversity is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation, and that Neurodiversity friendly forms of collaboration hold the potential to transform pathologically competitive and toxic teams and cultures. I know Autistic forms of communication within a neurodiverse team and within a psychologically safe environment impart a collaborative advantage to the entire team. I know neurodiversity, the social model of disability, and intersectionality are urgently needed reframing necessary to equity and inclusion.

I reframe

I reframe out of the confines of the medical model and pathology paradigm and into the respectfully connected expanse of the biopsychosocial model and the Neurodiversity paradigm. I reframe from deficit ideology to structural ideology.

I center

I center the marginalized and the different. I center edge cases, because edge cases are stress cases and design is tested at the edges. I center neurodivergent and disabled experience in service to all bodyminds.

I will

I will never stop learning. I will communicate as much as possible because communication is oxygen to an organization. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out another Stimpunk. I will maintain learner safety and remember what it is like to be a new contributor. I will make other people feel equal and not alone. I will build with, not for. I will default to open. I will move carefully and fix things. I will make things that help people, and I will not make things that harm people. I will bake ethics into everything I do. I will be a threat to inequity in my spheres of influence.

What’s your creed? Develop a personal creed to have with you as you navigate our systems.

Learn more about the Stimpunks team by reading our bios and listening to selections from our individually curated playlists. Or, if you need something a little more laid-back and cerebal, the below playlist may be just right for you.

Take it Further

Visit our learning space.


Feed our bricolage! We’d love to see your suggestions on resources supporting the creation of safe spaces and the spirit of DIY at the Edge. You can share them in our Commonplace Notebook. We might incorporate them into our website and philosophy.

Thanks for Reading Our Story

That’s it. You made it to the end. Thanks for reading our story of DIY at the Edges.

To recap: