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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On Hans Asperger, the Nazis, and Autism: A Conversation Across Neurologies

by Maxfield Sparrow and Steve Silberman How complicit was Hans Asperger with the murderous eugenic policies of the Third Reich in his role as the head of the Children’s Clinic at University of Vienna in the 1930s and 1940s? This painful question, which has vexed autism history for decades, has been reopened by the simultaneous publication of Edith Sheffer’s book “Asperger’s Children” and Herwig Czech’s paper in The Journal of Molecular Autism, “Hans Asperger, National Socialism, and ‘race hygiene’ in Nazi-era Vienna.” By unearthing new information from the municipal archives in Vienna that was mistakenly believed to be lost, Sheffer and Czech make the case that Asperger was more culpable than historians previously believed. They portray him as a calculating, ambitious young physician who never joined the Nazi party but was “prematurely promoted” over the heads of his Jewish colleagues as they were purged from the university in the increasingly…

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Happy (Autism Diagnosis) Anniversary

Chris Williams medium.com/@Marrowsky Hello. My name is Chris Williams. Nice to meet you. I recently celebrated an anniversary. If you’re reading this, thank you for letting me share it with you. On January 7th of 2017, my doctor telephoned. My screening, my tests, my questionnaires, and interviews with my family had been reviewed and evaluated. My diagnosis was in the mail. “…Chris demonstrates pattern of behavior and impairment consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorder 299.00 (F84.)…” I’ll introduce myself again, for the first time: Hello. My name is Chris Williams, and I’m autistic. Nice to meet you. My diagnosis was, it still is, mind boggling to me. Perhaps to those of you who know me. Perhaps not. To have a paradigm shift, at thirty-six years old, in self reflection, and in reflection about my personal relationships. My memories now telling me different stories. An awfully familiar stranger resembling me in mirrors.…

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Autism Acceptance Day and Month 2016 at TPGA

Autistic people accommodating, accepting — and having fun with — other autistic people. [image: white boy with a green straw in his mouth pinching the elbow of a white woman with long dark hair and noise-canceling headphones.] Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.thinkingautismguide.com It’s World Autism Acceptance Day, which kicks off World Autism Acceptance month. Those are not usually exciting statements for us — historically April overwhelmingly generates pity-based “autism awareness” campaigns, but we’re seeing a lot more positivity and autism acceptance this year. More acceptance is fabulous, and very welcome. Acceptance rather than mere awareness is being honored at non-autistic-centric places as diverse and cool as the United Nations, where NeuroTribes author Steve Silberman gave the #WAAD16 opening keynote; most successful company in the world Apple, which produced an Autism Acceptance video featuring a non-speaking autistic teen successfully using AAC to communicate at home, and at a regular high school;…

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NeuroTribes and the Proper Use of ‘Neurodiversity’

Shannon Des Roches Rosa www.squidalicious.com Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes is a large, densely packed book about autism’s past, present, and future. I found myself overwhelmed by the amount of information contained in each individual paragraph, in considering how much research and synthesis it took to create those paragraphs — and in knowing that NeuroTribes’s information matters so much, while acknowledging my kind of brain can’t possibly retain it all.  It doesn’t surprise me, then, when other people have trouble remembering every important point in NeuroTribes, because the book is an 500-page information tsunami. Due to those info overload risks, however, some of NeuroTribes’s themes need to be repeated more than once or twice for people to get them right.  One theme that needs more emphasis is NeuroTribes’ clarification about neurodiversity: The term is not limited to autistic people who communicate independently, or indeed only to autistic people.  Neurodiversity is the full…

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How We Autistics Got to Here: Reviewing Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes

Patricia George-Zwicker www.persnicketypatricia.ca [Image: White woman with dark hair wearing black-rimmed glasses, and intently reading the book NeuroTribes.] When Shannon Rosa contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a guest review for Steve Silberman’s highly anticipated book NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, I excitedly and nervously said yes! Like so many others, I’ve been anxiously awaiting what I hoped would be a game changer for the Autism community and Autistic people. I’ve visited many book stores over the years in search of credible information or stories by people like me, especially stories and information from Autistic women. I often left disappointed and frustrated by the lack of history, compassion, accuracy and the almost non-existent input from actual Autistics like myself, finding instead a minefield of cures, desperation, martyr parents, male-dominated information and — said with respect — books about or by one…

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NeuroTribes Is Finally Here: Celebrating With a Review, and a Giveaway

Shannon Des Roches Rosa  www.Squidalicious.com   Steve Silberman and Leo Rosa [image: a white man with short salt-and pepper hair, and a white teen boy with short curly brown hair, sitting on a green bench.] Steve Silberman’s long-awaited book NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity arrives in bookstores today. Finally! If you have any interest in autism whatsoever, then trust me, you need this book. (No, really. We are so excited that NeuroTribes exists that we’re hosting a giveaway, details below.) I’ll be upfront with my disclosure: When Silberman described his intention to write a book that “upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently,” my family and I agreed (and were honored) to be included in the project. But I would recommend NeuroTribes regardless; I’ve been pining for an autism…