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Revamped Links: Neurodiversity Paradigm

This is very much an aside, not a standard post, but I think it needs to be said.

Sunday, I posted a recommendation link post to Nick Walker’s “What is Autism?” I then proceeded to go and read his entire blog (called Neurocosmopolitanism). There aren’t very many posts there at the moment (from what I can see, he’s quite the busy man – and there is a new one up today), but the ones that are, are well thought-out, and thought-provoking.

One of those posts – the second one – has a very long title: Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm. I’m not going to go into loads of details here – that will be reserved for the recommendations post I intend to put up sometime this week – but there is something important that I want to say straight out.

This post – with its description of the pathology paradigm, how it damages us and impoverishes society (not necessarily mentioned, but I’m a firm believer in the “Patchwork Quilt” society, rather than the “Melting Pot”), and its suggestions for how to build a neurodiversity paradigm (that is not solely about autism, but other “conditions” involving differences in neurological wiring) really made me think. And one of the things that most made me think was about language use, and how it affects our views of ourselves. In particular, the term “Autism Spectrum Disorder”.

Nothing wrong with the term “Autism Spectrum”. That’s a very good term. It’s the “Disorder” component that Mr. Walker takes issue with, and argues against very well indeed. He points out that using the term “Disorder” makes it appear that there is something “wrong” with us – which is exactly the sort of thinking that autistic advocates are trying to fight. That the neurodiversity community is trying to fight.

So. I have gone through my links list, and changed each description/category of “ASD” to “Autistic”. I have not yet decided whether I will do this to my posts or not – I suspect not, simply because they provide a record of how I thought at the time. But the change has to start somewhere, and who better for it to start with than ourselves and our allies?

🙂 tagAught

[Added Note: I have also changed the title of my post category and tag of “ASD” to “Autism Spectrum”.]

By tagÂûght

I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve lived in Canada all my life (Toronto and St. John’s), but I’ve travelled to Florida, Massachusetts, England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Costa Rica. I love airplane travel (as long as there are no noisy kids around me!). I’m proud to be Canadian (though Harper might end up changing that!).

I have ASD, aka Autism Spectrum Disorder. Strictly speaking, I’ve been diagnosed as having Aspergers, but (for Canada and the US, at least) that diagnosis is going to be melded with ASD as of May, with the publication of DSM V. Having ASD, and the job I do at the moment (see First Post), is why reading the blogs I mentioned above inspired me to start one of my own about my life in general.

Back in October, I got my driver’s license (as opposed to driving permit for learners) – after twenty years of effort and trying. A lot of thanks is due to my instructor, who has dealt with people with ASD before, and so knew how to teach me for the test (I was able to drive before, just not pass the test, due to anxiety and problems with multi-tasking).

I’m a fanatic writer of SF and Fantasy, both fanfiction and original, and I devour books as well.

I love animals, in particular cats, and I have a fascination with wolves, wild cats (including the big cats), orcas, and the physiology of cephalopods.

I love the wilderness – though I don’t really have the endurance (at the moment, at least) to go hiking or camping out.

And, rather importantly, I’m not someone who thinks about political correctness when it comes to vocabulary. I use what seems right when it seems right. That will include calling myself a person with ASD, or an Autistic, or an Aspie. I’m me; I can call myself what I want.

So, enough about me. Go read my posts – they’re more informative!

3 replies on “Revamped Links: Neurodiversity Paradigm”

Oddly enough, this brings up the memory of shoelaces.

Short version of the story – fumble-fingers is me at the best of times, my ability to picture objects in space sucks, and I still didn’t know how to tie a knot when I entered grade school. Hence, when my shoelaces came undone, I needed to ask for help. At one point an exasperated teacher asked if I wanted other people to be tying my shoelaces my whole life.

Me: No. But I still haven’t _figured it out_ yet. Help?

It wasn’t long after that, that I ended up stuck with sneakers with Velcro closures.

I did, eventually, learn how to tie a knot. No thanks to the teachers, who seemed determined to hear, “Please show me how to do this again” as “Do this _for_ me.” So, yes. The use of language is _extremely_ important.

*{{{Huggles You!}}}*

Yes, exactly. And one thing Mr. Walker points out in that long post is that language can also affect us unconsciously, including how we see ourselves. And that’s one of the reasons he refuses to let anyone post a comment on his blog that includes the term “ASD”, unless they’re referring to it in… gah, can’t remember exactly, but the gist of it is referring to another post somewhere else, or quoting someone else that they want to disprove, or something like that. That’s the gist, at least – I’d have to re-read his comment policy to get it completely right, and at the moment, I’m reading someone else’s blog.

(And petting Imber, in the hopes she will remove her paws from my trackpad….)

😉 tagAught

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