I updated “Bring the backchannel forward. Written communication is the great social equalizer.” with selections from “Valuing differences: Neurodiversity in the classroom – kappanonline.org” and “What CAN be misunderstood WILL be misunderstood | Autistic Collaboration”.
Sometimes it takes another person with your specific disability label, not another neurotypical teacher or peer, to help the world understand your experience. One of the first books I read about autism was Donna Williams’s memoir Nobody Nowhere: The Extraordinary Autobiography of an Autistic (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1998). One of her observations has always struck me as particularly apt: “Communication via objects was safe,” Williams says. For me, computers are objects that can be a bridge to interpersonal connection and growth. Those are things we all want, regardless of our differences.
I have developed a strong preference for written communication, which is a very effective strategy for avoiding the need for linguistic autistic masking.