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  • Jack Duroc-Danner

Autism Overview

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

What is autism?

Autism is a neurotype (an example of human variation i.e. neurodiversity) that affects how an individual experiences the world around them. Autism is also described as a neurological developmental disability. It is a present throughout life from infancy to adulthood.

Autism is a spectrum. No two Autistic people are alike same as with allistic (non-autistic) individuals. While Autistic individuals may share similar characteristics, each are individuals with their own personalities and interests as well as unique neurological and psychological profiles.

Autism is not a recent invention. Autistic individuals have always been with humanity.

Neurodiversity argues that autism and other disabilities are natural variations of the human mind and genome. Autistic and other disabled individuals are not defective and in need of being fixed. Neurodiversity states that, the value or worth of an individual is not lessened by disability.

As we gain a better understanding of autism it is important to keep in mind that autism is an example of cognitive diversity. Rather than seeing autism as a disease that we should fear and cure we as society should instead embrace difference and work toward supporting autistic individuals and help them thrive. Society needs many kinds of intelligences to thrive and as a society we should move toward greater inclusivity.

Resources (see autism resource page for additional resources on autism)

Leadbitter, K., Buckle, K. L., Ellis, C., &; Dekker, M. (2021). Autistic Self-Advocacy and the Neurodiversity Movement: Implications for Autism Early Intervention Research and Practice. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. SciShow Your Brain is a Fingerprint

The word “normal” is often used as a synonym for "typical," "expected," or even "correct." By that logic, most people should fit the description of normal. But time and time again, so-called normal descriptions of our bodies, minds, and perceptions have turned out to match almost no one. So what does normal actually mean— and should we be relying on it so much? Yana Buhrer Tavanier investigates. TED-Ed What is “normal” and what is “different”? - Yana Buhrer Tavanier (note: seizure warning some of the images flash/move in ways that might cause a seizure depending on the individual)

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong

Crip Kinship: The Disability Justice & Art Activism of Sins Invalid By Shayda Kafai

The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love Sonya Renee Taylor

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