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Autism presents as a range of social, cognitive, behavioral, sensory, and communication differences, with no singular presentation. Each person on the spectrum has a unique profile within the expanse of human neurodiversity, "the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species". For some, these differences result in impairments and they can be disabling within the structures and expectations of our neurotypically designed world. 

Autism is not a disorder. The vast majority of research on autism does not include Autistic people in the intention, design, or implementation phases. Therefore voice, experience, and expertise of Autistic people are not also not a part of the conclusions that are made about autism or the way it is defined. The Medical Model of Disability has pathologized naturally ocuring variance in neurocognition and neuroexpression. 


The Disability Justice and Neurodiversity movements are bringing forward Autistic perspective. We are working through Social Models of Disability and towards more Radical Models of Disability to shift understanding and to create acceptance, inclusion, and belonging. 


"The autistic community advocates for autism research that is accessible, inclusive of autistic participation and perspectives, reflective of the priorities of the autistic community, of high quality, and written in such a way that it does not contribute to the stigmatization of autistic people. Although there has been progress on these fronts, some of the language used to describe autism and autistic people within published research continues to increase marginalization."


The best way to understand autism is to listen to and engage with Autistic-led organizations or groups and self-advocates, and to do so with a Disability Justice lens. 


Here is how Neuroclastic defines Autism.

If you are not Autistic, understand that the labor of creating this window for you is labor. You should find ways to acknowledge and, if possible, compensate. 


Autistic-led Organizations and Groups

Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (@autisticselfadvocacy)

NeuroClastic (@nueroclastic)

Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network

Autistic / Neurodivergent

Activists on Instagram

















Disability Justice and Advocacy Organizations and Individuals

Disability Together (@disabilitytogether)

Sins Invalid (@sinsinvalid)

Lydia X. Z. Brown

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