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Saturday, 27 July 2013

Why revisit Neurodiversity now?

A friend notified me that they'd seen my name in Wired magazine's 20th anniversary issue in Neurodiversity Rewires Conventional Thinking About Brains by Steve Silberberg

It's always exciting to be recognised, but when I googled myself, I found there was a lot of stale information sloshing about the internet, usually variations of the same three or four sentences which someone had put on Wikipedia and which were not quite right in the first place. Usually they including versions of this quote from my thesis "Odd People In: A personal exploration of a New Social Movement based on Neurological Diversity" which I completed at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in 1998:

For me, the significance of the “Autistic Spectrum” lies in its call for and anticipation of a “Politics of Neurodiversity”. The “Neurologically Different” represent a new addition to the familiar political categories of class/gender/race and will augment the insights of the Social Model of Disability. 
The rise of Neurodiversity takes postmodern fragmentation one step further. Just as the postmodern era sees every once too solid belief melt into air, even our most taken-for granted assumptions: that we all more or less see, feel, touch, hear, smell, and sort information, in more or less the same way, (unless visibly disabled) are being dissolved.

So I want to set the record straight, return to the field, find out what's happening. I still have much to contribute, a whole body of work, articles and papers that barely saw the light of day, and an amazing life story to tell.

This is also about claiming intellectual space as an Australian, against what we used to call "US cultural imperialism". It still rules, apart from token film-stars and swimmers, celebrities whose main asset is their bodies.  Aussies geeks whose main asset is their brain need to be able to able to scrape up the plane fare to New York or London.

X 
marks the spot where I start scraping