Stimpunks Foundation challenges the typical approach to helping people who are neurodivergent or disabled. We know what it is like to live with barriers and what it means to not fit in and have to forge our own community. Stimpunks knows that neurodivergent and disabled people have human needs. We offer a humane approach to help our community thrive.
Our website at stimpunks.org is an outpouring of neurodivergent and disabled art, culture, and perspective. Our front page is about reframing what we think we know about neurodivergence and disability.
Content note: Our website includes music, lyrics, writing, and art that address ableism, eugenics, exclusion, mental health, depression, dysphoria, behaviorism, abuse, chronic pain, and death. There are a few swear words in quoted materials.
Also included is an outpouring of neurodivergent and disabled perspective, culture, and joy.
Allyship: Providing a Buffer to the Trauma — “When allies ask me what they can do, I usually say “amplify us, nobody else does” and “pay us”. Stimpunks exists, in part, to amplify and pay the people who educated us. I’m adding another level to my allyship list: “buffer the trauma”.
There’s something uniquely alienating about hearing your experiences discussed amongst people who have never lived it, spoken about in the abstract and leaving you feeling like you’ve walked into a conversation about yourself that you were never supposed to hear.
Traumatic and abusive practices are taught uncritically, and every time I push back on these approaches, I’m told I’m lacking perspective and expecting something unreasonable. Instead I have to sit back and watch dozens of future teachers learn how to traumatize their students in exactly the way my teachers traumatized me.
I can never understand how someone can profess how important it is that my voice is heard while also doing everything in their power to silence it. I went into special education hoping that I could change the field, but all I’ve realized is that the field is beyond repair.
Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice — “disability justice asserts that ableism helps make racism, christian supremacy, sexism, and queer- and transphobia possible, and that all those systems of oppression are locked up tight.”
Skin, Tooth, and Bone: The Basis of Movement is Our People — “Popular movements often begin when people develop political consciousness and name their experiences. Rights-based strategies often address the symptoms of inequity but not the root. The root of disability oppression is ableism and we must work to understand it, combat it, and create alternative practices rooted in justice.”
Letters To My Weird Sisters: On Autism and Feminism — “What Lorde and other black feminists such as bell hooks, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison realized was that the more dehumanized groups a person belongs to, the more their experience forces them to understand about the way society is structured: what and who it takes for granted, the truths about itself it chooses to ignore, who is doing the truly essential work.”
The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma — “But traumatic experiences do leave traces, whether on a large scale (on our histories and cultures) or close to home, on our families, with dark secrets being imperceptibly passed down through generations. They also leave traces on our minds and emotions, on our capacity for joy and intimacy, and even on our biology and immune systems.”
Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure — “Declaring disability a matter of social justice is an important act of resistance—disability residing not in paralysis but in stairs without an accompanying ramp, not in blindness but in the lack of braille and audio books, not in dyslexia but in teaching methods unwilling to flex. In this declaration, disability politics joins other social change movements in the ongoing work of locating the problems of injustice not in individual body-minds but in the world.”
The Good Ally: A Guided Anti-Racism Journey From Bystander to Changemaker — “Racism is built on so many lies that in order for us to be antiracist, we absolutely have to start being honest with ourselves and one another – that means choosing to take responsibility for our own complicity. For centuries, we have been taught to uphold and maintain destructive systems of oppression as the norm, without question. We’ve been conditioned to go along with that powerful current because it’s easier than swimming in the opposite direction or, worse still, drowning.”
The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love — ‘When we hear someone’s truth and it strikes some deep part of our humanity, our own hidden shames, it can be easy to recoil into silence. We struggle to hold the truths of others because we have so rarely had the experience of having our own truths held. Social researcher and expert on vulnerability and shame Brené Brown says, “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”’
Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness: Practices for Safe and Transformative Healing — “This book proposes that trauma-sensitive practice involves resourcing social justice movements challenging systemic conditions that create and perpetuate trauma. For people who’ve experienced trauma, mindfulness meditation can exacerbate symptoms of traumatic stress. This can include flashbacks, heightened emotional arousal, and dissociation—meaning a disconnect between one’s thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. While meditation might appear to be a safe and innocuous practice, it can thrust trauma survivors directly into the heart of wounds that require more than mindful awareness to heal.”
Frontiers | Academic, Activist, or Advocate? Angry, Entangled, and Emerging: A Critical Reflection on Autism Knowledge Production | Psychology — “In my title, I ask “academic, activist, or advocate?”—and my answer is that I am all three. You cannot belong to a community that suffers from violence, marginalization, and suicide and not be. In my introduction I tell readers all the different types of autistic people I have been in the eyes of the clinicians and professionals who deemed my future limited or limitless because whenever an autistic person tells you anything about what it means to be autistic that is not just a list of impairments or limitations, we are told that we must have the “easy” autism.”
OSF Preprints | Helping autistic children — “Over the last twenty years we have seen a surge in autism intervention research. Interventions have become increasingly diverse, with a shift towards combined developmental-behavioural approaches and emphasis on earlier diagnosis and implementation. However, the evidence base is weak and poorly reported. As a result, there is no clear evidence for the efficacy of any intervention currently in use. Even where particular interventions produce change in aspects of social and cognitive development, it is not clear that such shifts are necessarily sustained, nor in an autistic child’s best interests. An alternative approach is to consider what supports, rather than interventions, an autistic child needs to thrive on their own terms.”
“Disability and Reproductive Justice” by Samuel Bagenstos — “This Article argues that any full assessment of the intersection between disability and reproductive rights must also address the issues raised by then-Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion. Disabled people are frequently denied their own rights to conceive, bear, and parent children. Indeed, the practices that continue to prevent people with disabilities from having and raising children are in many ways the disability analogues of the race-based eugenic practices that Justice Thomas himself decried. Consideration of insights drawn from the disability rights movement and the reproductive justice movement suggests that both Justice Thomas and then-Judge Kavanaugh gave the wrong answers on the questions before them.”
Camouflaging in autism: A systematic review – ScienceDirect — “While significant variation was noted across individual study findings, much of the existing literature supported three preliminary findings about the nature of autistic camouflaging: (1) adults with more self-reported autistic traits report greater engagement in camouflaging; (2) sex and gender differences exist in camouflaging; and (3) higher self-reported camouflaging is associated with worse mental health outcomes.”
Disrupting Dis/abilization: A Critical Exploration of Research Methods to Combat White Supremacy and Ableism in Education — “Throughout history, scientific research has been defined in ways which further the agenda of ableist, white supremacist power systems. At the same time, traditional notions of what constitutes scientific research has been reified by policymakers and scholars in education, who equate “science” with clinical methods and hard-numbers data. Using the framework of DisCrit, we provided a brief critical analysis of the use of science by dominant groups to label minorities as “others” throughout U.S. history. This scientific research is strongly linked to education policy, which inexorably functions to separate white, non-dis/abled students from students who are constructed as deficient and/or dis/abled because of the articulation of their linguistic, cultural, and racial identities. The pervasive acceptance of the dis/abling scientific studies was (and is) largely due to what counts as scientific research, and what does not. The authors identified some of the current notions of what is considered “evidence” in research and education policy; despite progressive trends in modern medical research, traditional clinical and/or quantitative studies continue to serve as the “gold star” in education research and testing. Although scholars claim quantitative research is more objective and reliable, there are many opportunities for human error and subjectivity at the design and procedural level of research, which trouble these assertions of a fixed truth. In quantifying and parsing elements of the human experience, this type of research results in a loss of multidimensionality. In reality, this kind of research only serves to uphold the values of white supremacy and ableism.”
The Rhetoric of Ableism | Cherney | Disability Studies Quarterly — “Ableism is that most insidious form of rhetoric that has become reified and so widely accepted as common sense that it denies its own rhetoricity—it “goes without saying.” To fully address it we must name its presence, for cultural assumptions accepted uncritically adopt the mantle of “simple truth” and become extremely difficult to rebut. As the neologism “ableism” itself testifies, we need new words to reveal the places it resides and new language to describe how it feeds. Without doing so, ableist ways of thinking and interpreting will operate as the context for making sense of any acts challenging discrimination, which undermines their impact, reduces their symbolic potential, and can even transform them into superficial measures that give the appearance of change yet elide a recalcitrant ableist system. Ableism dominates the thinking of our society as a whole and it clearly operates as a discourse of power and domination.”
The wrong kind of noise: understanding and valuing the communication of autistic children in schools: Educational Review: Vol 72, No 1 — “As a result of the association of autism with speech and language difficulties, autistic school children can be subject to interventions ostensibly intended to remedy these problems. However, my study, based in five mainstream primary schools in England, which incorporated the views and experiences of school staff (n = 36), autistic children (n = 10), their parents (n = 10) and a sample of autistic adults (n = 10), suggests that these inputs do not always provide the children with the help they require. Indeed, notwithstanding some examples of effective assistance, the more evident communication of the autistic children, in its various manifestations, might be ignored and their wishes denied, if deemed not to correspond with the expectations or intentions of the supporting adult. Furthermore, their communication was also found to intersect with the issue of noise in schools, a complex phenomenon which can be an exclusionary factor for autistic children. Indeed, if some forms of noise were tolerated in school, the sounds emanating from autistic children might be disdained, while the communicative value of their silence was not evidently recognised either. Therefore, whether speaking, making noises or remaining silent, autistic children can be deemed to be making the wrong kind of noise.”
Forming strong cultural identities in an intersecting space of indigeneity and autism in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand – Heather A Simpson, 2021 — “Through its hegemonic ideologies, colonialism and its constituent underpinnings of religious and racial superiority, necessitates the erasure of the cultural identity of people outside the dominant Euro-Western culture and as non-normative groups, Indigenous Peoples and autistic people disabled per colonized paradigms, experience oppression, and subjugation harmful to self-identity and mental health. This article discusses culturally responsive interventions aimed at supporting strong cultural identity formation and safeguard Indigenous and autistic people from stigmatization, misrepresentation, and erasure of identity. Promising research uses Indigenous knowledges in education and arts programming to disrupt patterns of social injustice, exclusion, and cultural genocide while promote positive identity formation, pride, and resilience for Indigenous autistics.”
A Good Night’s Sleep: Learning About Sleep From Autistic Adolescents’ Personal Accounts — “This is the first time that a study uses a novel methodological approach based on personal accounts elicited by photos rooted in a Lifeworld framework to describe personal sleep-related practices before bedtime and during the day to identify a “good night of sleep” in autistic adolescents. The outcomes from the current study showed that sleep facilitating factors are in a direct contrast to the sleep hygiene recommendations. Therefore, it is thus important for the sleep practitioners and healthcare providers to move beyond providing standardized sleep hygiene interventions. A Lifeworld led care model that pays attention to personal experiences, promotes sense of agency, evaluates both autism-specific strengths and struggles could and should complement biomedical approaches.”
‘The Battery’s Dead’: Burnout Looks Different in Autistic Adults – The New York Times — “One of the best ways for anyone to recover from burnout is rest, particularly sleep, according to Amelia Nagoski, the co-author of the best-selling 2019 book “Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Response Cycle.” But autistic people have a harder time sleeping because of their neurological differences, according to a 2019 study. Autistic people are more likely to sleep for shorter periods of time and experience lower-quality sleep, and they’re more likely to be night owls, the study found. Research on non-autistic adults shows that insomnia is a strong predictor of burnout, suggesting a similar link among autistic people with sleep disorders. Ms. Nagoski, 44, addressed autistic people’s sleep woes in a recent YouTube video. “This essential thing that is fundamental to wellness is harder for autistic people,” she said.”
Let’s Talk About Autistic Autism Researchers | Autism in Adulthood — “The growing body of published autism research undertaken by autistic researchers is rapidly expanding our understanding of autism and how to better support autistic people. In addition to the articles already cited, recent examples of this research include: Autistic burnout, Autism-specific anxiety, Autism and employment, Community knowledge and autistic people’s experiences.”
Ann’s Autism Blog: Autistic people and phone calls — “Lots of autistic people can only sometimes use phones. It’s a major barrier to healthcare, to job success, to getting basic services and basic human rights. It’s great when companies and organisations know the law, want to work with us, and create different ways to interact. Text. Email. Webchat. Timed called with a known person. Anything that works for us as individuals.”
The Problem with Rigor | Avidly — “The rhetoric of rigor turns pedagogy into pathology. The world of rigor is not a world of correct or incorrect, it is a world of right or wrong: it is rigor’s moralizing that should concern us. Let me suggest two ways of thinking more genuinely about rigor. Rigor is a pose when our pedagogy is not yet born.Rigor is what happens when something inside us dies.
Will remote work become more of a long-term option for workers with disabilities? – WHYY — ‘“‘That would harm our office culture by treating you differently’ is more or less what I was told,” she said. “This is just a micro-example of the way that we treat accommodations in general, because it’s the idea that … it’s a special accommodation that somebody needs to be taken care of, instead of recognizing that everybody works differently.” In interviews with several people with disabilities, all of them echoed that kind of experience — almost no flexibility for working-from-home accommodations.’
I Was Part of the “Good ABA” » NeuroClastic — “The longer I worked there, the more I started seeing the red flags that weren’t visible when I initially wore those rose-colored glasses. It started with one of my favorite students, a nonspeaking child who was incredibly intelligent and very funny. I could tell that he was bored with his programming. 90% of it was maintenance. He already knew how to perform the desired behaviors. The reason they were still there was that the BCBA and others couldn’t reliably get him to produce the behaviors. We were encouraged to run DTT-style trials with him, where he would get frustrated very easily to the point of self-harming. He was doing this with every tech three times a day, 40 hrs a week.”
No more white saviours, thanks: how to be a true anti-racist ally | Race | The Guardian — “I don’t know how else to say this so I’ll just say it: Black people don’t need white people to rescue us. We don’t. We have been rescuing ourselves and revolting against the oppressor throughout history. Contrary to the popular belief that only great white men rescued us from slavery, it was the Haitian Revolution from 1791 to 1804, the only successful slave revolt in history, that instigated the global abolishment of slavery. We’ve been revolting, rescuing ourselves and rising up, in spite of systemic oppression, for centuries. We’ve had no choice but to, for our own self-preservation and survival. What we really need white people to do is consciously, consistently and intentionally unlearn racism. It’s no secret that shame and guilt go hand in hand with unlearning racism – but you can’t do this work in any meaningful, or truthful way without experiencing these feelings at some point and you will consistently feel uncomfortable. Trying to do anti-racism work while remaining comfortable, to actively avoid confronting feelings, is just not possible. Performative allyship has very little to do with reducing harm to Black folk and ending systems of oppression. It happens when you want to skip to the end bit. Performative allyship is leaping from half-listening, straight into action.”
No, Eugenics Doesn’t Work – by The Negro Subversive – The Negro Subversive — “ Eugenics is the name of a 20th century political movement which sought to selectively breed mankind as a whole. To throw out the name of a heinous political movement while claiming to merely be describing genetic principles, is such a cartoonishly inept thing for a writer and public intellectual to do, that one might be forgiven for wondering if it isn’t a trial balloon to see if mainstream society still finds the idea of eugenics revolting. Dawkins would have us set aside the moral considerations, but as I established above, eugenics begins and ends in politics, and politics without a sense of right and wrong is a monstrosity. So I’ll end by saying, that it is in the dignity of the most vulnerable that the dignity of all mankind is upheld. If the person least able to defend their right to exist is tyrannized by the law of might, we’re all tyrannized by it. Once you may cast aside any given human being simply because you have the power to do so, any human being may be cast aside. So no, eugenics does not work.”
Guest post: The Negro Subversive on Critical Race Theory – by Noah Smith – Noahpinion — “Critical Race Theory’s founders sought to understand how a society that had officially disowned racism managed to continue being racist. Academically, Critical Race Theorists departed from Critical Legal Studies (CLS), which arose from legal thinkers realizing that law and the courts existed in the same sociological, economic, historical and political reality as the rest of society. Therefore, to understand how law impacts society, we must understand how law exists in society, which means applying insights from the fields that study society: the social sciences. One key insight of CLS is that law is not just an outcome of statutory authority, nor is it a system of deductive reasoning leading objectively to one “right,” outcome; but that the way it is applied, enforced and interpreted is an outcome of social power. This insight made Critical Legal Studies a logical jumping off point, within legal academia, for those seeking to understand law’s application as an outcome of racial power. Derrick Bell, the acknowledged progenitor of Critical Race Theory, who started his legal career with the NAACP’s legal department working under Thurgood Marshall, pioneered the study of law as an instrument of racial power. Law student, now professor, Kimberele Crenshaw and her comrades built on Bell’s insights to create an activist-intellectual movement. This is Critical Race Theory’s dual genealogy: Social science perspectives informing the study of law meets the quest for racial justice as a framework for studying the law.”
What Your Disabled Friends Want You To Know About ‘Going Back To Normal’ Post-Vaccine | HuffPost Life — ‘“The idea of normal that we seem to hold in our minds really doesn’t include disabled people,” said Emily Ladau, an author and disability rights activist, who is a wheelchair user. “We have an understanding of normal as something that works for people who are non-disabled, who don’t have to take health precautions and access needs into consideration on a day-to-day basis. Are we talking about returning to a world that takes into consideration the lessons we’ve learned from the pandemic or going right back to excluding disabled people?”’
The Why Axis – Alfie Kohn — “Some years ago, therefore, I hatched the idea of supporting such educators by convening a brain trust of leading theorists, researchers, and practitioners to create — and then disseminate — concise defenses of various features of progressive education. I imagined a set of handouts, each consisting of a single (double-sided) sheet that responded to a common question. The idea was to lay out the case briskly, making liberal use of bullet points and offering a short bibliography at the end for anyone who wanted more information. One of these “Why Sheets,” for example, might explain a teacher’s decision to create a curriculum based on kids’ questions. Or for setting aside time each day for a class meeting. It might defend helping students to understand mathematical principles rather than just memorizing facts and algorithms. Or it might lay out the case for avoiding worksheets, or tests, or homework, or traditional bribe-and-threat classroom management strategies.”
March: Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience — “Csikszentmihalyi’s blind spot is a critical one, and it’s one that social science has only bolstered in the decades since: that attention as a scarce psychic resource is impacted by material conditions and not necessarily the other way around; that poverty and hardship is a cause of inattention and a lack of cognitive resources, not an effect.”
From Invisibility to Radical Empathy | Incluu — “Living with an invisible disability is part of what brought me to this work. I can’t expect others to see my pain, but that pain has given me a new kind of vision. My disability makes me see a trash can sitting directly below our office elevator call buttons, making them inaccessible to anyone in a wheelchair. It makes me ask for more doors to be automated so more people can use them with independence and dignity. I don’t get treated like someone who has a perceivable difference in ability, but through my experience with the healthcare system I sympathize with others, and I can’t help but be honed-in to how others are treated.”
The Divisive Fallacy of Objective Truth | Incluu — “I understand Pluckrose’s argument as being against CSJ because she and other Liberal Humanists believe in a singular, exclusive Truth; one that can be discovered through objective critical thinking skills, one which everyone is able to accomplish, equally. I cannot agree with this perspective. My entire life experience is a contradiction of this claim, and I would venture further to say that it is not a singular experience, but the reality of the lived experiences of many people of color in Pluckrose’s Western society. Promoting a “colorblind” society in which we ignore our differences rather than one where we embrace the full identity of others is problematic.”
Black Excellence and the Low Expectations of White Supremacy | Incluu — “Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush originally coined the phrase. It refers to the fact that the left’s approach to dealing with minorities — especially in the Black community — is based on the notion that they cannot achieve success in American society. This approach is predicated on the widely held racist beliefs of White people, that Black people-to varying degrees based on skin tone-will inevitably underperform, thus lowering the bar. While the impact of such belief systems is pervasive, contributing to the vicious and expansive cycle of oppression: underestimation, underrepresentation, under-compensation, etc., when BIPOC meet and/or exceed this “bar” time and time again, they are seen as an anomaly, an individual exception to the rule: The Token. Meritocracy is a myth for BIPOC, and the consequence for believing otherwise is neither “soft” nor a departure from other types of systemic racism. As BIPOC, we must constantly toggle between being seen and acknowledged for our competency, appreciated and respected by our peers, but not too much lest we become a threat. We mustn’t be lazy, or complacent, but also, not too demanding at the risk of being perceived as “angry”. We are expected to reaffirm White mediocrity as the standard at all costs: to free whiteness from the guilt and shame of not achieving more than those they persistently deem capable of so much less.”
What if Everyone Actually Agrees About Safe Spaces? | Just Visiting — “Every time one of these arguments flares, I cannot help but see the irony in a professor engaging in some special pleading over the necessity to discomfort students who fails to grapple with the fact that professors too must be prepared to be discomforted. hey aren’t. When they communicate that they do not feel welcome or respected, it is with good reason. I suppose we can dismiss those feelings, but when they are reflective of a genuine underlying material condition, we are betraying our shared values of respect, civility and justice. Where people like me differ from organizations like Heterodox Academy is that I believe there’s a category of students for whom feeling that there is no ground underneath you is not a feeling, but is instead reality. That Frey cannot conceive that some students may not have that sense that there is a solid foundation under them is a failure of imagination, of empathy, of respect and civility, too.”
We’re still getting the accounting for the foundation and the philanthropic LLC situated. We’re not ready for the big giving we want to do, but we sent about 10k to people and organizations in September.
What that money did:
Bought mobility devices
Paid medical bills
Paid folks who educate and advocate
Supported organizations aligned with our mission
Our Blogging Queue
Someday, we’ll finish these.
We Long to Belong: In Search of Psychological Safety
Being Legible: Legibility as Social Status, Situational Privilege, and Belonging
Online Classes Are an Equity Requirement: If Opening Schools Is About Equity, Why Aren’t We Listening to Those Most Impacted?
Vestibular Issues with Parallax Scrolling and Transition Animations
Psychological Safety in Families
It’s Not Rocket Science: Considering and Meeting the Sensory Needs of Autistic Children and Young People
Craft, Flow, and Cognitive Styles
Equity Versus Equality
It’s About Equity
Accessible, Equity Literate Care
Disability Dongles and Cultural Engagement
Wheelchair Flow Patrol
The Bipartisanship of Behaviorism
Practicing Pluralism: Minority Stress, Harm Reduction, and Triage
Accommodations and Emotional Bids in Neurodiverse Relationships
Taking Control of the Mask: Unmasking as a Spoiled Identity
Almost all of my blogging for August was on Stimpunks. That’s where my DEI, neurodiversity, and disability blogging will happen for now. boren.blog will be for SpIns, for personal news, and for toxic Christianity and Texas politics through my particular set of lenses.