Useful Autism Research: Welcome to This Very Important Update

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Pot full of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Pot full of gold at the end of the rainbow. Gold (Au) is a symbol for autism acceptance. Rainbows are a symbol for neurodiversity. The research presented below is rainbow gold.

The old 1940s version of autism has turned out to be based on very poor evidence, and deserves a decent burial.

Autism: Some Vital Research Links

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

Are you confused, because you attended a lecture reading out the myths from the original 1940s version?  Welcome to this very important update.

The old 1940s version of autism has turned out to be based on very poor evidence, and deserves a decent burial.

What’s it like, trying to grow up in a world that wants to see you as a fault, because that’s what two men said, 80 years ago, after looking at a handful of mostly male, white children with profound support needs?

Autism: Some Vital Research Links

A diagnosis of ASD requires identification of a child’s “persistent deficits” and “clinically significant symptoms” in two domains (American Psychiatric Association 2013). Hence, at the time of parents’ first experience with ASD, they encounter a deficit-oriented framework that is aimed at identifying traits that their child does not have and behaviors that their child is lacking. Following diagnosis, they enter an early intervention system that seeks to further assess their child’s skill deficits in order to develop a plan for remediation. Rarely are parents formally asked by professionals to identify their child’s strengths and positive character traits, either during the early childhood period or as their child with ASD enters school.

Research on the positive character traits of individuals with ASD is congruent with both a contemporary neurodiversity perspective that emphasizes strengths, resilience, and lived experiences (Kapp et al. 2013; Szatmari et al. 2016; Tesfaye et al. 2019) and a strength-based approach to assessment and intervention (Cosden et al. 2006). Cosden and colleagues described several ways that a strength-based approach can contribute to educational planning. First, such an approach can assist in the development of intervention plans that capitalize on a child’s strengths and motivations. Second, by placing an emphasis on the positive aspects of a child’s personality, the outcomes of a strength-based approach may change the attitudes of both parents and educators and result in the development of more fruitful working relationships (Steiner 2011). Third, a strength-based approach encourages educators and other interventionists to establish goals that go beyond “fixing” a child’s deficits to include those aimed at improving overall quality of life. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a focus on the strengths of children with ASD by parents and professionals may have a lasting impact on children’s self-esteem, developmental health, and resilience (Szatmari et al. 2016).

One gets the impression that, for the most part, these parents did not have to think hard in order to identify positive traits in their children; rather, they readily recognized these assets and were both proud of and eager to share them. Their comments are a reminder of the importance of looking past diagnostic labels, test scores, and behavioral challenges to focus on individual strengths, toward the goal of supporting people with ASD to live the lives that they define as both meaningful and fulfilling.

“Best Things”: Parents Describe Their Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Over Time | SpringerLink

Autism in Care Settings: Managing Sensory Load

“It’s Not Rocket Science” – NDTi – “Small changes that can easily be made to accommodate autism really do add up and can transform a young person’s experience of being in hospital. It really can make all the difference.”

Considering and meeting the sensory needs of autistic people in housing | Local Government Association – “One of the most important findings is that most autistic people have significant sensory differences, compared to most non-autistic people. Autistic brains take in vast amounts of information from the world…”

Avoiding Anxiety in Autistic Children by Luke Beardon | Waterstones – “I have written elsewhere about what I refer to as ‘the golden equation’ – which is: Autism + environment = outcome. What this means in an anxiety context is that it is the combination of the child and the environment that causes the outcome (anxiety), not ‘just’ being autistic in and of itself.”

Experience of Trauma and PTSD Symptoms in Autistic Adults: Risk of PTSD Development Following DSM‐5 and Non‐DSM‐5 Traumatic Life Events – Rumball – 2020 – Autism Research – Wiley Online Library – “Research to date suggests that individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) may be at increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following exposure to traumatic life events. It has been posited that characteristics of ASD may affect perceptions of trauma, with a wider range of life events acting as possible catalysts for PTSD development.”

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

Daisy
I get overwhelmed so easily
My anxiety creeps inside of me
Makes it hard to breathe
What's come over me
Feels like I'm somebody else
I get overwhelmed so easily
My anxiety keeps me silent
When I try to speak
What's come over me
Feels like I'm somebody else
I get overwhelmed

All of these faces
Who don't know what space is
And crowds are shut down
I'm overstimulated
Nobody gets it
They say I'm too sensitive
I can't listen cause I'm eyeing the exits

--Overwhelmed by Royal & the Serpent
I get overwhelmed so easily
My anxiety
Creeps inside of me
Makes it hard to breathe
What's come over me?
Feels like I'm somebody else

I get over, well, well, well
Would you look at that?
Another person telling me that I should just relax
"Calm down and take it easy everything will be okay"
Yeah, sure 'cause that's what they all say

--Overwhelmed by Ryan Mack

The Double Empathy Problem

We found neurotypical– neurodivergent encounters manifest this double empathy problem, with practitioners displaying limited capacity for neurodivergent intersubjectivity leading to misempathy and lack of relational depth.
This study has demonstrated a need for less focus on remediation and greater focus on shifting practitioner capacity for humanistic relating.

Practitioner experience of the impact of humanistic methods on autism practice : a preliminary study

The ‘double empathy problem’ refers to the mutual incomprehension that occurs between people of different dispositional outlooks and personal conceptual understandings when attempts are made to communicate meaning.

From finding a voice to being understood: exploring the double empathy problem
  • Cameron (2012) uses the term ‘dyspathy’ to highlight how empathy is often blocked or resisted by people.
  • Cameron (2012) cites a number of recent studies using fMRI scanning claim to demonstrate a bias towards in-group members in ‘automatic’ empathy.
  • Such findings support the earlier social psychological theories of Tajfel (1981), which found that people felt increasing emotional connection to those deemed within their social ‘in-group’, whilst stereotyping ‘outsiders’.

Source: From finding a voice to being understood: exploring the double empathy problem

To be defined as abnormal in society is often conflated with being perceived as ‘pathological’ in some way and to be socially stigmatised, shunned and sanctioned. Then, if there is a breakdown in interaction, or indeed a failed attempt to align toward expressions of meaning, a person who sees their interactions as ‘normal’ and ‘correct’ can denigrate those who act or are perceived as ‘different’ (Tajfeel & Turner, 1979). If one can apply a label on the ‘other’ locating the problem in them, it also resolves the applier of the label’s ‘natural attitude’ of responsibility in their own perceptions and the breach is healed perceptually, but not for the person who has been ‘othered’ (Said, 1978).

A Mismatch of Salience | Pavilion Publishing and Media

Let me put this in no uncertain terms: if you do not understand the Double Empathy problem you have no business writing anything at all about autism for general consumption. This is not because you are a bad person — it’s because you have missed the most important memo in Autism research in decades.

How To Talk About Autism Respectfully: A Field Guide for Journalists, Educators, Doctors and anyone else who wants to know how to better communicate about Autism

And this is where the neurotypical belief in theory of mind becomes a liability. Not just a liability – a disability.

Because not only are neurotypicals just as mind-blind to autistics as autistics are to neurotypicals, this self-centered belief in theory of mind makes it impossible to mutually negotiate an understanding of how perceptions might differ among individuals in order to arrive at a pragmatic representation that accounts for significant differences in the experiences of various individuals. It bars any discussion of opening up a space for autistics to participate in social communication by clarifying and mapping the ways in which their perceptions differ. Rather than recognize that the success rate of the neurotypical divining rod is based on mere statistical likelihood that the thoughts and feelings of neurotypicals will correlate, they declare it an ineffable gift, and use it to valorize their own abilities and pathologize those of autistics.

A belief in theory of mind makes it unnecessary for neurotypicals to engage in real perspective-taking, since they are able, instead, to fall back on projection. Differences that they discover in autistic thinking are dismissed as pathology, not as a failure in the neurotypical’s supposed skill in theory of mind or perspective-taking.

Ironically, constantly confronted with the differences in their own thinking and that of those around them, and needing to function in a world dominated by a different neurotype, autistics are engaged in learning genuine perspective-taking from the cradle on. The perceived failure in that perspective-taking is thus based on the fact that autistics do not rely on and cannot rely on neurological similarities to crib understanding by projecting their own thoughts and feelings onto others.

As such, autistics talk about themselves rather than others, a feature of autistic narrative that has been pathologized as “typically autistic” by researchers like Ute Frith. The fact that much of autistic writing is dedicated to deconstructing neurotypical fallacies about autistic thinking set in the world when they spoke about (or for) us, and to explaining differences in autistic thinking in order to broker mutual understanding remains unremarked upon, as it would have required adequate perspective-taking to have identified this.

Thus, if we were to summarize the effect of neurotypicals sitting in wells that are structured in much the same way, delimited in much the same way, oriented in the same general direction and located in the same geographic location, manifested as an unassailable belief in their natural gift of theory of mind, we would have to conclude that this belief in theory of mind severely impairs neurotypicals’ ability to perceive that there is sky or even the great sea outside the narrow limits of their purview. It also necessarily impacts their cognitive empathy vis-à-vis autistics and, sadly, their affective empathy as well.

This deficit in neurotypicals needs to be remediated if autistics are to have a chance to participate as equals, because the truth is, in this regard, autistics suffer and are excluded from social communication not because of our own disability, but because of neurotypical disability.

The belief in a theory of mind is a disability — Semiotic Spectrumite

Monotropism

Monotropism provides a far more comprehensive explanation for autistic cognition than any of its competitors, so it has been good to see it finally starting to get more recognition among psychologists (as in Sue Fletcher-Watson’s keynote talk at the 2018 Autistica conference). In a nutshell, monotropism is the tendency for our interests to pull us in more strongly than most people. It rests on a model of the mind as an ‘interest system’: we are all interested in many things, and our interests help direct our attention. Different interests are salient at different times. In a monotropic mind, fewer interests tend to be aroused at any time, and they attract more of our processing resources, making it harder to deal with things outside of our current attention tunnel.

Me and Monotropism: A unified theory of autism | The Psychologist

When focused like this an Autistic person can enter a ‘flow state’ which can bring great joy and satisfaction to the person experiencing it.

However it can make switching between tasks and other transitions difficult.

Monotropism

The biggest practical thing to take away from this is the importance of meeting the child, or adult, where they are. This is not an insight unique to the monotropism perspective, but nothing else I’ve seen demonstrates with such clarity why it’s so crucial. Treat interests as something to work with. Recognise what someone’s passionate about and learn how to become part of the attention tunnels which come with monotropic focus, rather than trying to just reach in and pull the person out of the flow states that are so important to us. Never pathologise ‘special interests’, and don’t assume that autistic interests are ‘restricted’  – there are plenty of ways to get us interested in new things, it’s just that they mostly involve taking existing interests and building on them.

Me and Monotropism: A unified theory of autism | The Psychologist

Characterization of Special Interests in Autism

The mean number of current special interests reported was 9, with television, objects, and music being most commonly endorsed interests. The mean age of onset reported across all categories was 5.24 years, with duration of past interests most often exceeding 2 years. Age of onset, interference, and relative unusualness of the SI was varied across categories. Interference was significantly correlated with the unusualness of the SIs.

Even at the developmental peak, the prevalence of intense interests (i.e., SIs) is not as high in NT preschoolers as is seen in preschoolers with ASD with prevalence estimated to be between 65 and 88% (Klin et al. 2007; Turner-Brown et al. 2011). In contrast to NT youth, high numbers of SIs persist in individuals with ASD.

Interests in NT children are distinguished from SIs among youths with ASD by the intensity of the interest, the type of interest, and inflexibility around the interest (Anthony et al. 2013; Turner-Brown et al. 2011). Sometimes referred to as monotropism (Wood 2019), the tendency to focus intently on a limited range of topics appears to be highly indicative of ASD; researchers have been able to correctly classify 77.5% of individuals as either NT or having ASD using a meas- ure of interest intensity (Anthony et al. 2013; Murray 2018; Murray et al. 2005; Wood 2019). SIs in children with ASD can also be distinguished from interests and hobbies in NT children by the type of interest and the degree of inflexibility around the interests (Turner-Brown et al. 2011). For exam- ple, while an interest in Pokémon may not be unexpected in a NT 8-year-old, an interest in the make and model of eleva- tors would be surprising. Similarly, the same NT 8-year-old who enjoys Pokémon would likely have other interests, be able to engage in conversation with peers around other top- ics, and understand when it would be appropriate to spend time discussing Pokémon. This stands in contrast to the 8-year-old with ASD with a similar interest in Pokémon, who would likely be much less flexible in how they engaged with peers around Pokémon (Turner-Brown et al. 2011).

ndeed, the tendency to focus on specific topics or aspects of the environment (i.e., SIs) may be a manifestation of per- ceptual differences that contribute to intellectual functioning to a greater degree than in NT individuals (Mottron 2017). There are other advantages to SIs in individuals with ASD, such as providing opportunities for social interaction and con- nectiveness around shared interests, and promoting well-being (Grove et al. 2018; Klin et al. 2007; Koenig and Williams 2017). Some research suggests that SIs may help individuals with ASD make sense of the social world by applying the same methods of learning about SIs to learning about social interac- tions (Klin et al. 2007). Individuals with ASD self-report that SIs often facilitate social interactions with others with similar interests, generate positive emotions and coping strategies, provide a skill base for later employment, and induce a sense of pride and general well-being (Grove et al. 2018; Jordan and Caldwell-Harris 2012; Koenig and Williams 2017; Mer- cier et al. 2000; Teti et al. 2016; Stratis and LeCavalier 2013; Trembath et al. 2012; Winter-Messiers 2007). In a sample of adults with ASD, the majority (96.2%) surveyed felt that SIs should be encouraged in children and that their own SIs had facilitated positive outcomes in their own lives (Koenig and Williams 2017).

SIs can also be tapped as powerful motivators/reinforcers and incorporated into intervention (Harrop et al. 2019). For example, although socialization may not be a natural reinforcer for individuals with ASD, incorporating a SI may provide the reinforcement needed and increase time spent in social inter- actions (Boyd et al. 2007b, a). Focusing on a person’s SIs can lead to increased participation in a broad range of school-based activities and SIs have been used in classrooms to motivate students to engage in academic tasks that would otherwise be aversive (Charlop-Christy and Haymes 1996; Wood 2019).

The majority of caregivers (99.7%) endorsed at least one SI and 98.6% endorsed more than one SI over the course of their child’s life. The highest number of SI categories endorsed, both ongoing and in the past, was 29 with caregiv- ers reporting a mean number of nine interests (SD = 4.45). Of the sample, five individuals had zero SIs (see Table 3). The number of lifetime interests (i.e., SIs in the past or ongoing), was weakly correlated with age (r 1921 = 0.13; p = 0.000).

For the number of current interests (i.e., SIs that were ongoing), the majority of caregivers (97.5%) reported that their child currently had more than one SI. The highest num- ber of current SIs caregivers endorsed was 28 with a mean of eight SIs (SD = 4.45). The number of current SIs endorsed was not correlated with age (r 1921 = 0.02; p = 0.29).

A better understanding of SIs has a broad-reaching impact for individuals with ASD. First, given the posi- tive impact of SIs, understanding how SIs manifest across this heterogeneous population can inform recommenda- tions for intervention and support. Clinicians may consider how SIs could be incorporated in intervention and sup- port programs across settings (e.g., school, clinic, home) in order to increase the relevance for the individual with ASD and potentially improve outcomes. Providing psych- oeducation for parents and clinicians about the potentially beneficial aspects of their child’s SI may also result in identifying new methods of developing meaningful life skills including communication, vocational skills, and decreased disruptive behaviors (Mottron 2017). Under- standing the manifestation of SIs in autistic individuals also has implications for improving overall well being (Grove et al. 2018). Supports and interventions to support autistic individuals’ feelings of competency, autonomy, socialization, and engagement would potentially be more efficacious when SIs are incorporated (Grove et al. 2018).

Diagnostic practice could also be informed by a more in-depth understanding of SIs, as it may increase clinician awareness and lead to easier clinical recognition of different types of SIs. All of these impacts have the potential to affect long-term outcomes for individuals with ASD through more informed identification, diagnosis, and support.

However, understanding what a caregiver perceives unusual appears to be important because there is a significant cor- relation between how unusual a caregiver rates an SI and how much they think it interferes. This finding has direct implications for intervention and psychoeducation.

Characterization of Special Interests in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Brief Review and Pilot Study Using the Special Interests Survey | SpringerLink

Vulnerability and Trauma

Research to date suggests that individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) may be at increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following exposure to traumatic life events. It has been posited that characteristics of ASD may affect perceptions of trauma, with a wider range of life events acting as possible catalysts for PTSD development.

Experience of Trauma and PTSD Symptoms in Autistic Adults: Risk of PTSD Development Following DSM‐5 and Non‐DSM‐5 Traumatic Life Events – Rumball – 2020 – Autism Research – Wiley Online Library

Co-morbid mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression are extremely common in autistic adults. Vulnerability to negative life experiences such as victimisation and unemployment may be partially responsible for the develop- ment of these conditions.

Autistic adults (N = 426) reported higher rates of the majority of events in the VEQ than non-autistic adults (N = 268). They also reported more anxiety and depression symptoms and lower life satisfaction. Group differences in anxiety, depression and life satisfaction were partially mediated by VEQ total score. This study highlights several important understudied areas of vulnerability for autistic adults, including domestic abuse, contact with social services (as parents) and financial exploitation and hardship. Improved support, advice and advocacy services are needed to reduce the vulnerability of autistic adults to negative life experiences, which may in turn improve mental health and life satisfaction in this population.

Autistic adults were more likely than non-autistic adults to have experienced the majority of the events assessed by the VEQ, demonstrating their significant vulnerability in society. Furthermore, autistic traits, measured using the AQ-10, were associated with experiencing a greater number of negative life experiences in the VEQ in individuals with and without an autism diagnosis.

We found an association between vulnerability experiences and current anxiety symptoms, depression symptoms and life satisfaction in autistic and non-autistic adults. As expected, autistic adults had higher rates of depression and anxiety symptoms Joshi et al., 2013; Mazurek, 2013; Roy et al., 2015, and lower life satisfaction Kirchner et al., 2016; Schmidt et al., 2015 than non-autistic adults. A mediation analysis suggests that these group differences may be partially due to greater vulnerability to negative life experiences in the autistic group. Although we cannot determine the direction of causality from this study, future longitudinal studies should test whether victimisation and other negative life experiences are a cause of high rates of co-morbid anxiety and mood disorders and lower life satisfaction in autistic adults.

Our findings highlight several important understudied areas of vulnerability for autistic adults. First, as well as confirming previous findings that autistic children are often bullied by peers (Cappadocia et al., 2012), our study also found high rates of other types of victimisation. An alarmingly high number of autistic adults reported hav- ing been victimised physically, verbally, emotionally and sexually by adults when they were children. This is in line with a recent study that found that autism diagnosis was associated with parent-reported experience of mal-treatment (Dinkler et al., 2017). We also found that autistic adults who had been in a relationship were more likely to have been sexually, physically, financially and emotionally abused or threatened by a partner compared to non-autistic adults in relationships. We believe this is the first study to report an association between autism and domestic abuse. The lack of previous research in this area may be due to the belief that few autistic people have romantic relationships. However, in our sample of intellectually able autistic adults, 83% had been in a romantic relationship, suggesting that many autistic adults are potentially vulnerable to domestic abuse.

A second understudied area of vulnerability explored in this study is financial hardship and exploitation. High numbers of autistic adults reported financial difficulties, including having nowhere safe to life. These difficulties may result from financial exploitation, as well as unemployment, given almost half of our sample reported being tricked or pressured in to giving someone money or pos- sessions. Studies have shown that parents of autistic children experience financial difficulties (Sharpe & Baker, 2007) and vulnerability to financial victimisation has been reported in adults with intellectual disability (Gillian, Lynn, Kenneth, Michael, & Priscilla, 2017) but this is the first study to show the extent of financial diffi- culties for autistic adults. Our finding that many autistic adults have housing difficulties is in accordance with a recent study that found high levels of autistic traits in a homeless population (Churchard, Ryder, Greenhill, & Mandy, 2019).

A third unexplored area of vulnerability investigated in this study was parent contact with social services; a topic suggested by our advisory group. Nineteen per cent of autistic parents, around four times as many as in the non-autistic group, reported that their ability to care for their child had been questioned by a professional.

In line with previous studies (Taylor et al., 2015), we found evidence of substantial difficulties in employment. Although 90% of our sample had held paid employment, rates of negative experiences such as long-term unemployment and losing jobs were high. Similarly, although 62% had university level qualification, many reported experiences of difficulty within education, for example missing lessons due to anxiety and depression or stress. This demonstrates that individuals that might be considered ‘high-functioning’ are vulnerable to negative events in education and employment that may affect their mental health.

Similarly in line with previous research (Rava et al., 2017), we found that autistic adults are at high risk of being cautioned and possibly arrested by police. However, we did not find that autistic adults were more likely to have been charged with a criminal offence, to hold a criminal record, or to have spent time in prison than non- autistic adults. Again, this may be due to insufficient statistical power to detect differences between groups for these rarer events. Alternatively, it may suggest that autistic individuals are more likely to attract police attention, perhaps due to unusual behaviours, but are not more likely to commit crimes. Either way, this finding highlights the importance of autism awareness training for police (Crane, Maras, Hawken, Mulcahy, & Memon, 2016).

Our findings indicate that few autistic adults have good social support networks; only half of autistic adults reported that there was always someone who would help them if they were in trouble, suggesting that this type of intervention could be beneficial.

The Vulnerability Experiences Quotient (VEQ): A Study of Vulnerability, Mental Health and Life Satisfaction in Autistic Adults

Research-Storytelling

Our website is an act of research-storytelling.

The purpose of storytelling is the propagation of beliefs and emotions.

What is the usefulness of stories if they do nothing to improve our level of understanding of the world we live in?

The limitations of machine learning highlights what is being lost by neglecting model building and by leaving modelling entirely to individual experts working in deep and narrow silos. Model validation and integration has largely been replaced with over-simplified storytelling – the goal has shifted from improving understanding to applying the tools of persuasion.

Sure, if stories help to increase the number of shared beliefs within a group, then the people involved may understand more about the motivations and behaviours of the others within the group. But at the same time, in the absence of building improved models about the non-social world, the behaviour of the group easily drifts into more and more abstract realms of social games, making the group increasingly blind to the effects of their behaviours on outsiders and on the non-social world.

Stories are appealing and hold persuasive potential because of their role in cultural transmission is the result of gene-culture co-evolution in tandem with the human capability for symbolic thought and spoken language. In human culture stories are involved in two functions:

1. Transmission of beliefs that are useful for the members of a group. Shared beliefs are the catalyst for improved collaboration.

2. Deception in order to protect or gain social status within a group or between groups. In the framework of contemporary competitive economic ideology deception is often referred to as marketing.

Are you a model builder or a story teller? | Jorn Bettin

We’d like to transmit some beliefs useful to members of our group in the spirit of collaboration, not persuasion, marketing, and behaviorism.

Storytelling thus is a key element of cultural evolution. Unfortunately cultural evolution fuelled by storytelling is a terribly slow form of learning for societies, even though storytelling is an impressively fast way for transmitting beliefs to other individuals.

Storytelling with the intent of deception enables individuals to reap short-term benefits for themselves to the longer-term detriment of society.

If there is anything that has led to significant improvements in human well-being and life expectancy in the last thousand years it would undoubtedly have to be model building and the scientific method. The power tools of systematic experimentation and modelling facilitated much of what we call progress but they also facilitated dangerous social games at a planetary scale.

The culture within the software development community is shaped much less by mathematics and scientific knowledge about the physical world than by the psychology of persuasion – and an anaemic conception of innovation based on social popularity and design principles that encourage planned obsolescence. A few years ago Alan Kay, a pioneer of object-oriented programming and windowing graphical user interface design observed:

It used to be the case that people were admonished to “not re-invent the wheel”. We now live in an age that spends a lot of time “reinventing the flat tire!”

Are you a model builder or a story teller? | Jorn Bettin

We deeply and broadly source our storytelling with supporting evidence.

And storytelling and social transmission need not result in a never ending sequence of psychopathic social games if we get into the habit of explicitly tagging all stories with the available supporting evidence, so that untested ideas and attempts of corruption become easier to identify.

In all domains where decisions and actions may have significant impact on others and on the environment we live in, adopting a more autistic mindset in relation to human stories may improve human decision making. In the Asch conformity experiment, autists were found to resist changing their spontaneous judgement to an array of graphic lines despite social pressure to change by conforming to the erroneous judgement of an authoritative confederate.

Are you a model builder or a story teller? | Jorn Bettin

Explore our research-storytelling:

Table of Contents

Intro

Art and Announcements

About Us

Mutual Aid

Featured Artists

Human-Centered Learning

Space

Research

Services

Mission & Philosophy

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

Help us and join us by reading on, and reframing.

Rock N’ Roller by Kyle Duce

Staying alive is a lot of work for a disabled person in an ableist society…

DISABILITY VISIBILITY: FIRST PERSON STORIES FROM THE 21ST CENTURY
This is your time, this is your life and
This is your time, this is your life and
You gotta keep on (Keep on livin!)
Gotta keep on (Keep on livin!)
You gotta keep on (Keep on livin!)

Disability justice (and disability itself) has the potential to fundamentally transform everything we think about quality of life, purpose, work, relationships, belonging.

DISABILITY VISIBILITY: FIRST-PERSON STORIES FROM THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY

Access

Give

We exist as friction. The work that we do; it’s wildly painful.

Bookmarks

We do public, team bookmarking, highlighting, and annotation with Raindrop.io. Check out our DEI folder for lots of research.

Glossary

We’re really pleased with our growing glossary. We love glossaries!

As If We Existed

A COMPUTER
CAN NEVER BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE

THEREFORE A COMPUTER MUST NEVER
MAKE A MANAGEMENT DECISION

1979 IBM Presentation

Like gods, these mathematical models were opaque, their workings invisible to all but the highest priests in their domain: mathematicians and computer scientists. Their verdicts, even when wrong or harmful, were beyond dispute or appeal. And they tended to punish the poor and the oppressed in our society, while making the rich richer.

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
What's the problem with my genius?
Too attached to ever leave it
Silent for the new achievement but
What I long to witness is the equal shift
Of lifted gadgetry to intuition by
Genius giving up its selfish tact
And bringing praise of spirit back (Hey)
Pay respect upon the debt incurred
By non-belief when soul was speaking
Called simplistic by a name familiar to
Those regulars who think intelligence a competition
Missing opportunity to be a real show embarrassment
The care is not
The care is NOT spewing tools to ax the problem
Rather asking have or how they aptly solve themselves
...
What if love said: Hear me out a bit before the future comes around
...
This isn't anger, no, it's passion so let's live the way we should
As if we existed

"As If We Existed" by Solillaquists of Sound

What if love said: Hear me out a bit before the future comes around.

⛑📚 Our Pillars 🗂🧰

Mutual Aid

Real help against the onslaught. Staying alive is a lot of work for a disabled person in an ableist society.

Learning Space

The place where we belong does not exist. We will build it. Anti-ableist space for passion-based, human-centered learning compatible with neurodiversity and the social model of disability.

Open Research

Digital sociology, neurodiversity studies, disability studies, and syncretism, in the open. Improving science by restoring the humanities.

Services

Stay relevant in a constantly changing world. Dismantle ableism in your spaces. Enable dignity through access.

⏭ Next Pillar: Services

The story continues with, “🧰 Services”

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