No Stereotypes Here

Archive for the ‘neurodiversity’ Category

So yeah, both Glenn and Ted haven’t responded to me.  However, I’m going ahead in my plans.  I started a petition on Change.org!!!!   You can find it and sign it here!

I need to come up with an image, but I don’t know whether  I can do it until I can get back to my very old version of Photoshop.  Which won’t be until after my DST 501 Rethinking Disability course ends, next Saturday.

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>The word Neurotypical, or NT, is used quite a bit in the Autistic community to refer to non-Autistic individuals.  Lately, I’ve noticed some discussion on whether it is an accurate term, or whether there is a better term to use without being discriminating to the non-Autistic population. 

As I understand it, the term Neurotypical was created by Autistic persons in response to the use of the word “normal” when being compared to the rest of the human population.  Many times, it’s been used mockingly, through parody sites such as the Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical

I’ve also seen it used as a shorthand, or as an alternative for non-Autistic people. 
From what I can see, there has also been some debate on whether Neurotypical includes or excludes other variants of neurological diversity, and how exactly the term should be used, if at all. 

However, if one considers the Neurodiversity philosophy, then the term Neurotypical is at worse a flawed term, and at best a term that will become, in time, irrelevant and fall out of use.  Or else will come to encompass Autistic individuals as well as other forms of diverse neurology.

This is because Neurodiversity philosophy considers Autism as a natural part of human diversity, thus making it a part of human typicality, or normal.  As this becomes a fully embraced concept applied to all forms of neurological diversity, there will be no need to make and use the term Neurotypical as a division between neuro-types. 

In a sense, we will all be Neurotypical, so there will be no need to use the term anymore, except for an explanation of previous articles and texts. 

In this context, I don’t really see a point in creating an alternative term, since if there are improvements in the world, the term will be discontinued.  It is a term with a very limited period of use.  To create an alternative, then, is to halt the progress that we have been making, and even to discriminating to other members of diverse neurology.

After all, the ultimate goal of creating the term Neurotypical is to eventually not use it.

The word Neurotypical, or NT, is used quite a bit in the Autistic community to refer to non-Autistic individuals.  Lately, I’ve noticed some discussion on whether it is an accurate term, or whether there is a better term to use without being discriminating to the non-Autistic population. 

As I understand it, the term Neurotypical was created by Autistic persons in response to the use of the word “normal” when being compared to the rest of the human population.  Many times, it’s been used mockingly, through parody sites such as the Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical

I’ve also seen it used as a shorthand, or as an alternative for non-Autistic people. 
From what I can see, there has also been some debate on whether Neurotypical includes or excludes other variants of neurological diversity, and how exactly the term should be used, if at all. 

However, if one considers the Neurodiversity philosophy, then the term Neurotypical is at worse a flawed term, and at best a term that will become, in time, irrelevant and fall out of use.  Or else will come to encompass Autistic individuals as well as other forms of diverse neurology.

This is because Neurodiversity philosophy considers Autism as a natural part of human diversity, thus making it a part of human typicality, or normal.  As this becomes a fully embraced concept applied to all forms of neurological diversity, there will be no need to make and use the term Neurotypical as a division between neuro-types. 

In a sense, we will all be Neurotypical, so there will be no need to use the term anymore, except for an explanation of previous articles and texts. 

In this context, I don’t really see a point in creating an alternative term, since if there are improvements in the world, the term will be discontinued.  It is a term with a very limited period of use.  To create an alternative, then, is to halt the progress that we have been making, and even to discriminating to other members of diverse neurology.

After all, the ultimate goal of creating the term Neurotypical is to eventually not use it.

>Whew! I’m currently recovering from the end-of-school-year crunch. I had several papers due within days of each other, plus an online exam and a relapse in Panic attacks. PLUS I’ve been doing some work for the Canadian elections advance polls, because democracy is cool.

However, I just got this press release from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and since I’ve been paying some attention to what’s been going on, decided to share.



AUTISTIC COMMUNITY CONDEMNS PBS NEWSHOUR’S “AUTISM NOW” PROGRAM FOR IGNORANT REMARKS

Robert MacNeil claims needs and perspectives of Autistic adults today not an “urgent issue”

WASHINGTON, DC (April 27th, 2011) – An outpouring of widespread anger emerged from the Autistic adult community last night as journalist Robert MacNeil of PBS NewsHour claimed that issues facing Autistic adults were not “an urgent issue” and not important enough to merit coverage. Asked why his “Autism Now” series failed to include autistic adults amongst those invited to participate, MacNeil stated, “We tried to concentrate on what we thought were urgent issues, urgent problems. And a lot of adults with autism, particularly those who describe themselves as a kind of neurodiversity community, are high-functioning people with autism, who have busy and productive lives in the world, who serve a wonderful purpose of helping the community at large to understand and witness autism and be tolerant of it. But they speak for themselves. And we didn’t see them as an urgent issue, as urgent as the impending arrival into adulthood of hundreds of thousands of teenagers with autism.”
“Robert MacNeil’s comments last night displayed a level of ignorance that is shocking to hear for a professional journalist,” stated Ari Ne’eman, President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), “To ignore the widespread discrimination, lack of services, un- and under-employment, stigma and countless other issues facing hundreds of thousands of Autistic adults todayis unconscionable. Furthermore, to pretend that any comprehensive account of autism is meaningful without substantively engaging with Autistic people ourselves is disgraceful and offensive.”
The series had already attracted significant criticism from self-advocates and other community members, who were disappointed in comments MacNeil had made in promotional interviews claiming that Autistic adults were disproportionately violent and lacked empathy, popular and inaccurate stereotypes about adults on the autism spectrum. Numerous e-mails, blog posts, phone calls and other communications from self-advocates on the autism spectrum had expressed that inappropriateness of those remarks as well as failing to interview or involve Autistic people themselves in what was billed by PBS as “the comprehensive look at the disorder and its impact that’s aired on American television in at least five years.”
“I am an Autistic person who does struggle with daily living needs. I am really bothered by Robert MacNeil saying that people like me don’t have ‘urgent’ challenges,” said Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, an Autistic woman and neurodiversity advocate in Utica, Pennsylvania. “By not talking to Autistic adults in his series, Mr. MacNeil is ignoring the unemployment, risk of homelessness and many other problems that people like me face.”
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is the nation’s leading advocacy organization run entirely by and for Autistic adults and youth. ASAN’s supporters include Autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, family members, professionals, educators and friends. ASAN was created to provide support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to change public perception and combat misinformation by educating communities about persons on the autism spectrum. The organization’s activities include public policy advocacy, community engagement to encourage inclusion and respect for neurodiversity, quality of life oriented research and the development of Autistic cultural activities and other opportunities for Autistic people to engage with others on the spectrum.

Note: The previous quote has not been edited by me. Other than font size, cause it was a little hard to read. Also, my general response to Robert MacNeil have not been nice, so I will refrain from posting them here.

While I’m pretty sure it can be annoying in some situations, preservating and being stubborn or determined can have some benefits.  One being keeping at competing in contests for a long time, such as how the Autism Women’s Network has kept in the Pepsi Refresh contest for so long

Yes, I blogged about this some time ago; however, AWN did not make the top ten then, but since then has kept in the top 100 and kept in the running.

This month, AWN started at rank #5, and has slipped to #12.  With the combined help and voting of the community, we can get back up into the top ten and finally be able to run the workshops and programs that this funding hinges on.

As a reminder of what AWN is planning to do with the money, here’s the project profile on the Pepsi site.

The Autism Women’s Network is unique in that it was founded by women on the autism spectrum. Our mission is to provide effective supports to autistic females of all ages through a sense of community, advocacy, and resources.

AWN’s Project FAIM (Female Autistic Insight Mentoring) workshops will be the 1st of its kind.

We plan to set up 5 Project FAIM Workshops across the USA which will focus on qualities specific to females on the autism spectrum. Topics will include: peer supports, adolescence, adult life, relationships, vulnerabilities and successful communications.

Project FAIM Workshops will include active supports and information for everyone (autistics, parents, educators, etc.)

The participants will meet renowned autistic females whereby gaining valuable insight.

We will secure the Autism Women’s Network non-profit status so we can continue to provide Community Events, online Forum support & E-Mentoring as well as our AWN Radio Show.

Please help us to continue to support Autistic females who may not have access to supports and accommodations otherwise.  The workshops may be a small step towards a greater change and difference in many women’s lives.

Thank you very much.

(Please pardon the decreased quality of my writing in this post; I am having some communication difficulties today)

(Disclosure: Corina Becker is the Director of Networking for the Autism Women’s Network.  However, all opinions and views expressed on this site are solely the property of Corina Becker and does not reflect the official view of AWN and other organizations unless specifically stated. )

[Nov 24, 2010 Update: updated the list of participant blogs]

Yesterday, November 1, was Autistics Speaking Day, and it was a resounding success!! I am completely speechless trying to describe it; I keep using the words “incredible” and “awesome”, but truly these are weak words to accurately express it. The responses and contributions from everyone greatly exceeded my expectations.

I will be honest, when I proposed Autistics Speaking Day, I thought that at best it would be myself and a few others, tweeting on Twitter and maybe putting up a few blog posts. And when the criticisms came in, with people saying that much wouldn’t happen, so why bother, I thought of two things. The two things that leads me to be active in the Autism and Disability communities.

I thought “Well, it might not reach too many people, but it’s worth it if I can make even a little difference in someone’s life.”

And then I thought, “Well, you don’t know that for sure, so what’s the harm in me trying?”

Hope for the best, expect the worst, and be pleasantly surprised. And I was totally surprised. I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to be so wrong before. It was great to see and hear everyone online. I want to thank everyone for their hard work.

I’ve gotten messages of people thanking me for putting ASDay together, but I don’t think that’s right. I don’t deserve all of the credit. Yes, I thought of holding a counter to Communication ShutDown, and I thought of the name, and I nearly spammed Twitter getting the word out and explaining it. But on the day itself, what did I do? I did what everyone else participating did, I posted a blog entry, and shared my experiences with others.

I did not do it all; I do not deserve all the praise for the success of ASDay.

It was Kathryn Bjørnstad who started both Facebook groups, the event page, and the more permanent page. It was Melody Latimer that, when we were looking for a shorter Twitter hashtag, suggested #ASDay. It was Kim and Kathleen on the Autism Blogs Directory, Rachel Cohen-Rottenburg at Shift Journal and others getting the word out. It’s LizDitz for following all the responses, posts and media attention. It’s all sorts of people covering it in the news. It’s the Coffee Klatch for hosting such an amazing conversation on Twitter. It was all the parents and professionals who took the time to listen, and supported us.


And most of all, it was every single Autistic person who joined in and participated. It couldn’t have happened without any of you.


I am only one person, but together, we are a community of voices. I hope that ASDay was informative for many, and that the day inspired not only parents and professionals, but Autistics to be involved in processes and decisions that ultimately affect us. We should not be silent when we have something to say. And certainly, we weren’t on November 1st.


Right now, I want to acknowledge all the participants and contributers who wrote blogs, all their hard work that made ASDay a success. November 1st was your day.


(The following list was made possible by Kathryn)

The participants:
1. Action for Autism’s Mike Stanton explains why Communication Shutdown is offensive, and what it is like when autistic people shut down in real life. http://actionforautism.co.uk/2010/11/01/today-is-autistics-speaking-day/
2. Alexander Cheezem writes an awesome open letter to Buzz Aldrin. http://aspieperspective.blogspot.com/2010/11/open-letter-to-buzz-aldrin.html
3. Allecto on dispelling myths about autism. http://allecto.tumblr.com/post/1456668266/autisticsspeaking
4. Alysia Krasnow Butler on her own son’s autism diagnosis and her friend’s son’s recent unexpected diagnosis. A beautiful post. http://trydefyinggravity.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/voices-carry/
5. Amanda Forest Vivian on problems with the kinds of things non-autistics are trying to “fix” in autistic people. This is really awesome and you should read it if you’re not familiar with the concepts of “ableism” and why it’s not necessary or even beneficial to “pass” for non-autistic. http://adeepercountry.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day-post.html
6. Ari Ne’eman from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network on Communication Shutdown and Autistics Speaking Day. http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=122
7. AS Parenting has an awesome article on autism (including nonverbal autism) and advocacy. http://www.asparenting.com/2010/11/01/asd-autistics-speaking-day/
8. ASD Mommy-I don’t know this blogger’s name, but it is a good post. http://asdmommy.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/i-will-not-be-silent/
9. A.S.S.G.O. (AS Support Group Online)’s post for Autistics Speaking Day. http://www.assupportgrouponline.org/apps/blog/show/5212238-supporting-autistics-speaking-day
11. Brigy Staples on the double standards people use with autistic people. http://speakingon.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/autistics-speaking-day/
12. Britt Kravets on social interaction and acceptance for the whole spectrum. http://blackbird3398.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/autistics-speaking/
13. Clay on Autistics Speaking Day; also contains Ari Ne’eman’s post. http://cometscorner-clay.blogspot.com/2010/11/ari-neeman-on-autistics-speaking-day.html
14. Codeman busting myths about autism. http://aut.zone38.net/2010/11/01/speaking-up-for-autism/
15. The Coffee Klatch on their Twitter event, which you should totally check out if you have Twitter. http://thecoffeeklatchblog.blogspot.com/
16. Corabelle Li Crol on the power of the Internet and autistic people. http://aspiegirlworld.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day-post.html
17. Corina Becker’s guest blog on things she knows as an autistic person, and her post on her own blog for Autistics Speaking Day. http://blogs.plos.org/neurotribes/2010/10/31/corina-becker-communication-shutdown-for-autism-awareness-no-thanks/ http://nostereotypeshere.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistic-speaking-out-loud.html
18. Craig Thompson posted a video about autism and communication. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wEO2oJ-qKc
19. Cripchick (Stacy Milbern) on the dangers of donating to non-profit autism organizations that are all about profit and do nothing for autistic people. http://blog.cripchick.com/archives/8612
21. Darcy Reed is an autistic writer who writes beautiful poetry. http://spectrumhouseart.com/5Darcy1.html
26. Estee Klar on the dangers of trying to normalize autistic people with medication. http://www.esteeklar.com/2010/11/01/what-are-the-lies-we-believe/
27. Gavin Bollard on why a day of silence doesn’t work. http://life-with-aspergers.blogspot.com/2010/11/day-of-silence.html
28. Gaynell on the harm that society has allowed to be done to autistic people, particularly on physical abuse and restraint. This is an important issue in the community right now. http://wildflowersforjade.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day-autism-mom.html
30. Heather Sedlock on her autistic son’s life. http://heatherbabes.autisable.com/734878474/thom-part-2/

31. Ian on his experiences with autism. http://youhaventmetyourselfyet.blogspot.com/
32. Jennefer explains what she would like people to know about her three-year-old autistic son, referred to here as HRH. http://www.thekingandeye.com/2010/11/communications-shutdown-day-for-autism.html

33. Jill with some general info on autism and ASDay. http://bookish-nerd.livejournal.com/13273.html

34. John Elder Robinson posts his support here. http://www.facebook.com/JohnElderRobison

35. John Scot Thorburn on how autistic voices should be heard. http://colorvalues.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day.html

38. Julian Edward Frost posts on his own experience with autism. http://autismjungle.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/autistics-spoke-and-you-listened/

39. Karen Baum writes her first blog post on Autistics Speaking Day, for which I am honored. http://theautisticstepmom.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day.html
40. Karin has written several posts for today, which can be viewed here: http://bewaretheaspie.blogspot.com/

41. Kassiane on what she can tell you and explain about living with autism, and being on your autistic kid’s side. http://timetolisten.blogspot.com/2010/11/inaugural-post-autistics-speak-day.html and http://timetolisten.blogspot.com/2010/11/im-on-your-kid.html
42. Kathleen on autistic people and communication. http://autismherd.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistic-people-communicate.html
43. Kathryn Bjornstad writes about Autistics Speaking Day and shares a list of participants. http://autistickat.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day-is-today.html
44. Kerry Cohen on her autistic son, who she has written a memoir about. http://www.kerry-cohen.com/musings.html
45. Kevin Healey shares the voices of autistic people. http://www.kevinhealey.net/?p=1056
46. Kim Wombles on supporting autistic people instead of shutting down. http://kwomblescountering.blogspot.com/2010/10/supporting-autistics-whoever-they-are.html
47. Leah Jane on how the Internet made it possible for her autism club to pull off a successful event. http://quixoticautistic.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day.html and on the aftermath of ASDay http://quixoticautistic.blogspot.com/2010/11/aftermath.html

49. Luna Lightning on her own experiences with autism and life in general. http://spin-infinity.blogspot.com/2010/11/introduction.html

50. Maddy Keene on her experience with autism/Asperger’s. http://mmkeene.deviantart.com/journal/35987525/

51. Matt Friedman explains how social media has helped him and why autistics must speak for themselves. http://dudeimanaspie.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day-path-to.html
52. Maya Brown-Zimmerman on battles with the early intervention system. http://marfmom.com/archives/2656
53. Melissa Fields on not feeling welcome in the non-autistic world. http://iamautistic—thisismylife.blogspot.com/2010/10/autistic-i-am.html
54. Nicole Nicholson shares an awesome poem with us for Autistics Speaking Day. She is also sharing other poems, so check them out. http://ravenswingpoetry.com/2010/11/01/wwp-poem-26-back-door-blues/#more-2517
55. Ole Ferme L’Oeil on the wide range of people in the autism spectrum; also includes some awesome links to other important blog posts that you should check out. http://humainsvolants.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day-jour-de-parole.html
57. Paula C. Durbin-Westby shares her e-mail to Buzz Aldrin about Communication Shutdown and Autistics Speaking Day. http://paulacdurbinwestbyautisticblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/facebook-message-to-buzz-aldrin.html
58. Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg on empathy and communication. http://www.journeyswithautism.com/2010/11/01/speaking-my-mind-and-heart/
59. Sandy challenges the idea that verbal communication is the best form of communication. http://www.aspieteacher.com/2010/11/press-pound-for-more-options/
61. Savannah posts poems about her experiences with autism. http://crackedmirrorinshalott.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/poem-articulate/
62. Scottish Mum on why Communication Shutdown is not for her. http://scottishmum.com/?p=85
63. Shanti writes about her life, selective mutism, and her obsessions. http://latedx.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/celebrating-autism/
64. Shelly Valladolid on autistic special interests and their validity. I don’t know a better way to put it; it’s a short but good post. http://stillfabulous.blogspot.com/2010/11/fab-speaks.html

65. Socrates from the New Republic on Autistics Speaking Day. http://the-newrepublic.blogspot.com/2010/11/autistics-speaking-day.html

67. Sunday Stillwell writes an informative post on Autistics Speaking Day. http://www.extremeparenthood.com/2010/11/autism-shoutout-loud-and-proud.html
69. TMBMT on the pain of growing up undiagnosed. http://tmbmt.livejournal.com/26305.html
70. Tony Belcastro writes about what autism is like for him and how it has affected his life. http://elsmystery.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=3&Itemid=43
71. Toxicology Doc on communication. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idszVltvc3Y
72. Unstrange Mind on what you would have to do to really understand how her autism affects her. Hint: it’s not turning off your computer. http://unstrangemind.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/will-turning-off-your-computer-for-one-day-teach-you-what-its-like-to-be-autistic/
75. Zachary Lassiter on why many autistic people won’t be participating in Communication Shutdown. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HwgbMTmR3I

76. I missed Nick Walker’s post before, but here it is now. http://nickykaa.com/2010/11/an-autistic-speaking/

77. Also missed Jo’s blog post here about the difficulties she has encountered raising a son with Asperger’s. http://mumtoj.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/an-explanation/

78. Wendy on alt med, food allergies, and other things. http://raisingbutterfly.blogspot.com/

79. Spectrummy Mummy on her experiences with Autistics Speaking Day. http://spectrummymummy.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/an-ongoing-dialogue/

The Media:
There are some other lists here.





Please, if we’ve missed a post, let us know! We want to acknowledge and thank each person who contributed. You all are awesome!

On November 1, there is an Autism awareness campaign called Communitcation Shutdown, whereas people are encouraged to stay off Twitter and Facebook for the day in order to promote an awareness of the communication difficulties that Autistics face. 

A person is supposed to donate in order to get the charity app.  The app doesn’t really do anything, other than post a little image on your picture to say you’re participating.  Whether or not you stay off Twitter and Facebook is entirely up to you. 

And this is supposed to help simulate the communication difficulties that Autistic people face. 

I’m sorry, but no.  Just no. 

Yes, I know Temple Grandin supports this campaign, and I appreciate their creative approach to this, but I don’t think that this gives the NT population a complete experience on the communication issues we face. 

Why?  Because it relies on the assumption that everyone participating uses Twitter and Facebook to communicate.  While I realize that these sites make communication easier, it is not the only way in which NTs can communicate online, and thus subvert the entire exercise of the campaign.

I was recently asked by a person on Twitter to participate, and I responded that there wasn’t much of a point, since I am Autistic, and do not require to learn about difficulties that I myself face in communicating.  I pointed out to this person that Twitter and Facebook are two of the sites that actually allow Autistics to communicate and connect with others in the community, so I will not be disappearing from the Internet, as it is my lifeline.   I also remarked that this is a flawed simulation, since a non-Autistic person still have the capability to text on their phones, and speak verbally, and so would not be totally comprehending the true reality of Autistic disability.

The question now becomes, what would be a better method for Communication Shutdown that would have the most impact for those involved? 

Okay, for the NTs participating: do a total communication shutdown.  Go all the way.  Turn off your cell phones, log out of your instant messengers and email, unplug your home phone*, cover your mouth with a piece of cloth and don’t say a word.  Don’t text.  Don’t type.  Don’t write.  Don’t speak.

If you can help it, turn off your Internet. 

Completely and utterly disconnect yourself from any form of typical communication.

I understand that there will be some who can’t resist at least signing in and watching feeds go by.   For those, just watch. 

As for my fellow Autistics, as the NTs disconnect and fall silent, let’s speak.

Let us use this day to flood every social networking site we know with our accounts, our experiences, what it feels like to Autistic. 

Every sensory pain, every communication frustration, every account of being bullied, every wondrous moment, every peaceful calm, every instant of understanding and joy. 

Let them hear our voices and take back the Autism community.

Let us speak.

Let us tell you want it’s like to be us. 

And that, would be true Autism Awareness.













*except in the case of an emergency.  Don’t want you to risk your life, eh.



  • None
  • Corina Becker: Hi Anonymous person who apparently doesn't feel like giving me a name to address, and thus hides behind anonymity!!! I never said the federal gov
  • Anonymous: I think that it is about time something is being done federally to help those with ASD to get much needed therapies for their disability and YES I do
  • Corina Becker: Hi Janine! Melody reads here? Awesome. I honestly had no idea she was aware of this blog.And thank you so much, I'm glad both of you like the bl

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