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UC Davis Neurodiversity Summit 2021: Debate on the Neurodiversity Movement, with Shannon Rosa and Matthew Belmonte

Earlier this month, our senior editor Shannon Rosa was invited to participate in the 2021 UC Davis Neurodiversity Summit, on a panel debating the role of the Neurodiversity Movement in supporting and including autistic people with intellectual and communication disabilities. The panel was moderated by Dr. Susan Rivera and also included Dr. Matthew Belmonte, a neuroscientist and autism researcher. The two panelists agreed more than they disagreed, as you can see by either watching the video or reading the full debate transcript below.  The full conference included autistic people with intellectual disabilities and/or who communicate via AAC, on panels such as a Discussion on Experiences of Discrimination and Stigma, and Autism, Communication and Agency, and is worth your time.  [image: Headshot photos of Shannon Rosa, a white woman with red hair and glasses, and Matthew Belmonte, a white man with Picard hair and a beard, next to their short bios.]…

About That Study on “Preventing” Autism Diagnoses, and How Autism Researchers Can Do Better

Source: Wikimedia Commons [image: Photo of a smiling Black toddler with curly black hair up in puffs, sitting in a  Black adult’s lap, while a smiling medical professional interacts with them.] Patrick Dwyer, MA Lucas Harrington, PsyD Ava Gurba, BS  Last month, researchers in Australia led by Andrew Whitehouse published a new study: a trial of a “pre-emptive” intervention for infants assessed to have an elevated likelihood of later developing autism.  Internet furor immediately ensued, with some headlines proclaiming that the new intervention could prevent as many as two-thirds of autism diagnoses. Many neurodiversity advocates were naturally horrified by these ominous headlines, but was the media portrayal accurate? What were the researchers trying to do? The researchers who conducted the study claimed that it “chershes neurodiversity”: that instead of being about suppressing autism, the intervention aimed to help the caregivers of these possibly-neurodivergent babies better understand their children and adapt…

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Little Victories: Publishers Need to Stop Framing Resenting Autistic Children as “Love”

Shannon Des Roches Rosa twitter.com/shannonrosa “What does the story you tell matter, if the world is set upon hearing a different one?” –Ta-Nehisi Coates After my autistic son was diagnosed 18 years ago, I went looking for autism and parenting guidebooks. And while I found exactly zero mainstream resources for helping him be a happy and well-adjusted autistic person, I did find a sizable industry centered on “fixing” him, whether through ABA therapy, specialized diets, supplements, or worse.  It’s not surprising that humane strategies for parenting autistic children were not selling books in 2003, as the autism zeitgeist had only just moved on from blaming autism on “refrigerator mothers” and exploded into an autism-vaccine-epidemic panic. That era’s media outlets would typically only frame autistic children as damaged goods who needed to be reshaped into “normal” children. But we have long since debunked the autism epidemic and vaccine causation myths, plus…

Autism: A Vision for a More Equitable Future

We are closing out Autism Acceptance Month with a conversation between Pivot Neurodiversity Founder John Marble and NeuroTribes author Steve Silberman on the history of autism, what we understand now, and where we go from here. This event was hosted and presented by Neurodiversity @ Square, in San Francisco, and includes an enthusiastic Q & A. —- Hello. My name is Chris Williams, and I’m autistic. Nice to meet you. I work for equity at a company called Square, and three years ago I started an organization for our workers there. The Neurodiversity Community at Square is an Employee Resource Group founded on fault lines, on our mental and physical disorders and disabilities. We are building a house on these rocks to illuminate our differences and build a network of accommodation, support, and self-advocacy for our neurodivergent workers and their family members. Ten years ago, I became a father to…

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Review: Neurodiversity, Autism, and Recovery from Sexual Violence: A practical resource for all those working to support victim-survivors

Sonny Hallett twitter.com/scrappapertiger [Image: Book Cover. Black text at the top reads, Neurodiversity, Autism & Recovery from Sexual Violence Under is an illustration a seated purple figure holding an armful of pink and purple blossoms. More blossoms surround them on the ground and in the air. smaller black text underneath reads,   by Dr Susy Ridout, Illustrated by Catherine Haywood  Even smaller black text at the bottom reads,”A practical resource for all those working to support victim-survivors”]  CN: discussion of sexual violence and abuse Considering how many autistic people struggle with mental health difficulties related to trauma, there is really very little in the way of resources, let alone good practical guides, for those supporting autistic people dealing with traumatic experiences. What little there is is also so often about us rather than by us, and written from rather clinical and pathologising perspectives.  Susy Ridout’s book Neurodiversity, Autism, and Recovery from…

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A Conversation About “The Pattern Seekers” by Simon Baron-Cohen

“There are so many basic human rights that autistic people are being denied just because society isn’t accommodating autistic people.” Read about this issue and more, such as why just because autistic people are good at “systematizing” doesn’t mean they are all destined to be engineers, and “how a different style of education is appropriate for a systemizing thinker.” Our editor Carol Greenburg and NeuroTribes author Steve Silberman join Simon Baron-Cohen for a Zoom discussion on Baron-Cohen’s new book on autism, The Pattern Seekers.  —- Katherine Hill: Hi everyone, I’m Katherine Hill for Basic Books, and I’m excited to welcome you to today’s conversation about Simon Baron-Cohen’s new book, The Pattern Seekers: How Autism Drives Human Invention.  Joining us is Steve Silberman, author of the award-winning NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. Steve’s articles have appeared in Wired, New York Times, New Yorker, and many other…

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Autistic Replay: Both Involuntary and Misunderstood

Photo © Dean Shareski | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: Close-up photo of a remote control’s “Replay” and “Rewind” buttons.] Emma Dalmayne www.Autisticate.com Content note: This article discusses trauma and an infant being assaulted Have you ever watched an autistic individual joyously laugh or begin to sob broken heartedly for no reason apparent to yourself? It’s very likely they are replaying a memory of an event that has passed, possibly as recent as that day or even months or years ago. We can feel the exact same intensity that we felt at that moment, see the same sights, smell the same smells, and hear the same sounds. Depending on if it’s a pleasant memory, we may sit there smiling, giggling, or laughing uproariously—to the amazement of anyone nearby. Similarly our distress is absolute if it’s a depressing memory: tears will run, and the devastating sadness experiences at that time will…