Neurodiversity 101

Erin Human

neurodiversity 101

Neurodiversity 101

It’s a big word for a simple idea!

neuro/brain [image of head with brain]
diversity/range of different kinds [image of landscape with trees, water, animal]
= a range of different kinds of human brain

neurodiversity is not
– a belief system
– a personal opinion
– a political position
– a theory

by itself, it is just a neutral fact of human life:
neurodiversity exists!

[image of text/speech boxes]
more and more, people are saying they
are pro-neurodiversity
support neurodiversity
celebrate neurodiversity
those are personal opinions; people may agree or disagree that neurodiversity is a good thing, but that it is REAL is undeniable.

bonus neurodiversity vocab words:
neurotypical: having the most common, typical kind of brain
neurodivergent: having any kind of brain that is not neurotypical
neurodiverse: having a variety of people with neurotypical and neurodivergent brains; refers to a group or group environment, such as…

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The Autistic Community does not support Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

Absolutely! ☺

ABA Controversy Autism Discussion

Evidence to Listen to Autistic People and that the Autistic Community does not support Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA)

It is a sad state of affairs that there was even a need in 2017 to publish research evidence that supports the stance that autistic adults should be considered as “experts” and involved in matters relating to autism, but clearly there was.   Despite this the alternative of autistic people being ignored, dismissed or silenced by others remains a common occurrence, experienced by many activists who wish to do nothing more than help autistic children have their needs met and grow up accepted for who they are, feeling safe and competent.  One example we hear over and over is the classic rhetoric used by ABA proponents “do not listen to autistic adults as they are able to communicate, use social media so are not like your ‘low-functioning’ 3 year old child”.


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Nothing about you without you – the Labour party manifesto for disabled people

Fantastic! Alongside the LP Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto, the LP is demonstrating its deep commitment to us all 🙂

Politics and Insights

dis manifesto.pngFOREWORD

Over the last seven years disabled people have borne the brunt of the cuts inflicted on them by the Conservative Government and the Coalition before them.

The cuts have had a detrimental effect on the lives of disabled people, cutting living standards and undermining their access to education, social care and to justice.

Two years ago the United Nations (UN) convened a committee to investigate state violations of the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Last year the UN published their report and concluded that the Conservative Government had committed ‘grave, systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities.’

This is a damning indictment of the treatment of disabled people by the Conservatives, one which shames us as a country.

We believe in a social model of disability, a society which removes the barriers restricting opportunities and choices for disabled people. As such…

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Political Post

Yes, yes, yes! This is what we have been saying – and tried to embody within the Autism / Neurodiversity Manifesto: & 🙂


(Image from


I find myself embroiled in a conflict between disability and difference. Add to that the political climate that we are in and I’m here, wanting to shout. I must have more self-belief and stop being embarrassed about having an opinion. I am an intelligent adult after all, not only that, I am an self-identified autistic adult, parent, and teacher, I see things as if looking through a kaleidoscope.

The Merton news of taking Autism diagnosis away from the CAMHs service has caused uproar, and rightly so, but take a look at your own local pathways, how long is the wait for assessment? Will they see those over 11? How about those over 35? Are local services being reduced or quietly disappearing altogether?

The message:
Services cannot cope. The NHS and schools are underfunded.
Politically Brexit was going to save the NHS, Academisation was going to save…

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“Call the doctor!” – Speaking to clinicians about Autism and mental illness


I am at Melbourne airport, waiting for my delayed flight to leave for home. I just had to get a replacement boarding pass and handed it in to get a new one for the cancelled flight. The flight attendant said ‘Doctor Purkis?’ and I replied ‘Yes’ quite confidently – this fib was easier than explaining why I was incorrectly titled as a doctor.

The reason  for my undeserved Doctor-ing was that last night I spoke at a conference for paediatricians ad psychiatrists who work with people with ADHD and Autism. The events company organising the conference must have just thought all the speakers were doctors, hence the mix-up.

The presentation was one of the best talks I think I have done – not so much due to my delivery or even the content of my slides. The beauty of my talk yesterday was the audience of around 150 psychiatrists and…

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Self-Care is Resistance!!

Thirty Days of Autism

I have been thinking about the incredible endurance and perseverance of people who are fighting for human rights, for themselves and for others…

Activism is gruelling, slogging, hard work… and it is seemingly unending. It can be hard to step back and take a break and find space to be renewed (even a little) when you are committed to making change and there is so far to go… so much work to be done.

I get that it is hard to not be busy, because, I know for me at least, it feels like taking action is empowering. And, collectively, I believe we are going to make things better for people. Things will change.

I think too, it can be difficult to take a break or step back because that can feel like a lack of committment – and the dedicated activists I know are unendingly generous with what…

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Tolerance vs Acceptance

Accept : embrace

Erin Human

Tolerance vs Acceptance

definitions of Tolerance at left:

  • the capacity to endure pain or hardship
  • indulgence for practices different from or conflicting with one’s own
  • the allowable deviation from a standard
  • the capacity of a body to endure or become less responsive to a substance or insult, especially with repeated use or exposure
  • relative capacity of an organism to grow or thrive when subjected to an unfavorable environmental factor

definitions of Acceptance at right:

  • the quality of being able to take or hold
  • the act of giving admittance or approval
  • the act of regarding something as proper, normal, or inevitable
  • the act of recognizing as true
  • the act of making a favorable response to
  • the act of assuming an obligation to
  • the state of being received willingly

Autism Acceptance
because tolerance is not enough

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‘Don’t assume I can’t do it!’ – Neurodiversity and competence


I was at an event earlier in the year for which i was the keynote speaker. The MC introduced with the following: “And now Jeanette is going to give her little talk…” I was affronted. That little word ‘little’ carried with it paternalism and a good whiff of tokenism. I got the feeling the organisation wanted an Autistic speaker just so they could say they did. Maybe my diagnosis was more of a draw card than my actual presentation. I was so annoyed that I was determined to give as good a talk as I could. Needless to say I absolutely knocked it out of the park and the conference delegates all told me how wonderful my talk was. (‘Bring it on ableist MC boy!’ I thought to myself).

Sadly this experience is all too common. In my situation it didn’t have a lot of implications for me other than…

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I’m dismissed! Where invalidation comes from and what to do about it

Standing up for ourselves – and others…


When I was about eleven I apprehensively went up to tell the teacher i was being bullied by some of the boys in my class: ‘Miss, the boys are chasing me and calling me names.” Miss thought for a fraction of a second and said ‘Just ignore it, And stay away from them’. ‘But they can find me!’ Miss went on to apparently more important things and I was all alone.

When I was 22, a skinny kid in hippie clothes with a faded streak of purple in my messy hair, I was in England with my parents. I was a visual artist at the time, and made the most incredible, soulful drawings. I went to a shop in the town where we were staying to buy some pastels and a can of spray fixative. I went up to pay for these things and the woman behind the counter looked…

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