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Glossary: Develop a Language in Which We Can Both Understand and Challenge the World

The shift from the pathology paradigm to the neurodiversity paradigm calls for a radical shift in language, because the appropriate language for discussing medical problems is quite different from the appropriate language for discussing diversity.


In politics our frames shape our social policies and the institutions we form to carry out policies. To change our frames is to change all of this. Reframing is social change.

When we successfully reframe public discourse, we change the way the public sees the world. We change what counts as common sense. Because language activates frames, new language is required for new frames. Thinking differently requires speaking differently.

The ALL NEW Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate

Terror comes in many forms and one powerful expression is when people become too fearful to develop a language in which they can both understand and challenge the world in which they live. Not only does such linguistic deprivation fail to ward off the plague of propaganda, but it also contributes ‘to an annihilation of the self and the destruction of the capacity to recognize the real world’.

Giroux, Henry A.. Pedagogy of Resistance (p. 31). Bloomsbury Publishing.

Language is also a place of struggle.

—bell hooks, Choosing the Margin as a Space of Radical Openness

“Language is also a place of struggle.” “Thinking differently requires speaking differently.” “Develop a language in which they can both understand and challenge the world in which they live.”

People often take issue against the terms used by marginalized people. We experience this in our advocacy regarding Identity First Language and the terms neurodivergent and neurotypical. These terms were coined to examine power and privilege, which is exactly what some don’t like about them.

Our glossary grows rapidly. We’re defining the small truths and the big truths of our daily existence.

Fascists despised the small truths of daily existence, loved slogans that resonated like a new religion, and preferred creative myths to history or journalism. They used new media, which at the time was radio, to create a drumbeat of propaganda that aroused feelings before people had time to ascertain facts. And now, as then, many people confused faith in a hugely flawed leader with the truth about the world we all share.

Post-truth is pre-fascism.

Snyder, Timothy. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (p. 71). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.

“Language is also a place of struggle.”

Thinking differently requires speaking differently.

“Develop a language in which they can both understand and challenge the world in which they live.”

All Glossary Entries

Essential Neurodiversity Vocabulary: The Good, The Bad, The Different

Other Glossaries