we are now in a speech environment where power is so concentrated that the whims of a half-dozen tech execs determine – for all intents and purposes – who may speak and what they may say. If you think that power will only be wielded against Alex Jones, there’s a bunch of trans activists, indigenous activists, anti-pipeline activists, #BlackLivesMatter activists, and others who’d like to have a word with you.

What’s more, this situation is a form of government regulation of speech – even if it doesn’t violate the First Amendment. When the government declines to enforce antitrust laws so the market for speech forums is cornered by a handful of companies, when it creates compliance rules that only these companies can afford, when it fails to build publicly owned alternatives bound by the First Amendment, it is making speech policy. Failing to use your legal powers to prevent Big Tech from gaining a monopoly on speech is a form of action. It’s a policy. It’s a regulation of speech.

Source: Cory Doctorow: Inaction is a Form of Action – Locus Online

The myth of an empathy deficit in autism is now so well ingrained, that for an autistic volunteer to report they do not lack empathy is either to question the views of the large majority of medical and scientific professionals, or even to deny their diagnosis. As such, they may report empathy deficits even when they frequently experience empathic feelings. The questions in such measures are also often vague and imprecise: it is unclear to whom, or to what group, you should compare yourself; and how to know whether you are quick to notice things. In addition, several questions rely on another’s perception of your competence. When these others are neurotypical individuals who often fail to recognise the emotional and mental states of autistic individuals (Edey et al., 2016; Sheppard, Pillai, Wong, Ropar, & Mitchell, 2016), it is clear to see how such measures may provide information which is of limited value.

there are also many theories about autism, including the notion that autistics lack empathy . . . When you have sensory dysfunction, you are overly tuned to the environment, which includes all the emotions of the people you are interacting with – even the unspoken emotions on their part. The result can be an emotional roller-coaster ride for me as I try to deal with all this bombardment of information in addition to their words. Neurotypical people may assume that we autistics are incapable of empathy, when in fact, we just happen to express it differently. Reactions by way of our facial expressions and body language may not match what society is used to and expects.

These accounts point to a potentially fruitful seam of research, investigating how the sensory profile of autistic people mediates their experience of their own and others’ emotions.

Source: Autism and empathy: What are the real links? – Sue Fletcher-Watson, Geoffrey Bird, 2020

As indicated by the title, the first essential term for this book is bodymind. Bodymind is a materialist feminist disability studies concept from Margaret Price that refers to the enmeshment of the mind and body, which are typically understood as interacting and connected, yet distinct entities due to the Cartesian dualism of Western philosophy (“The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain” 270). The term bodymind insists on the inextricability of mind and body and highlights how processes within our being impact one another in such a way that the notion of a physical versus mental process is difficult, if not impossible to clearly discern in most cases (269). Price argues that bodymind cannot be simply a rhetorical stand-in for the phrase “mind and body”; rather, it must do theoretical work as a disability studies term. Bodymind is an essential concept in chapter 3 in my discussion of hyperempathy, a nonrealist disability that is both mental and physical in origin and manifestation. Bodymind generally, however, is an important and theoretically useful term to use in analyzing speculative fiction as the nonrealist possibilities of human and nonhuman subjects, such as the werewolves discussed in chapter 4, often highlight the imbrication of mind and body, sometimes in extreme or explicitly apparent ways that do not exist in our reality.

In addition to the utility of the term bodymind in discussions of speculative fiction, I also use this term because of its theoretical utility in discussions of race and (dis)ability. For example, bodymind is particularly useful in discussing the toll racism takes on people of color. As more research reveals the ways experiences and histories of oppression impact us mentally, physically, and even on a cellular level, the term bodymind can help highlight the relationship of nonphysical experiences of oppression—psychic stress—and overall well-being. While this research is emergent, people of color and women have long challenged their association with pure embodiment and the degradation of the body as unable to produce knowledge through a rejection of the mind/body divide. Bodymind provides, therefore, a politically and theoretically useful term in discussing (dis)ability in black women’s speculative fiction and more.

Source: Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction – Dr. Sami Schalk

My goal as an autism advocate is to transform our view of autism to a stress adaptation rather than seeing it as a disorder. Viewing autism as a stress adaptation has the potential to clear up many controversies. It would also explain my amplified experiences and the pervasive nature of how this early, or pre-life, stress re-wired my brain. Seeing autism as a stress adaptation changed the approach I took to balancing my behaviors. Instead of seeing them as character flaws to be admonished, I found ways to balance my stress, learn cues I had been missing, nurture my sensory needs, and build my stress resilience. Furthermore, this new view of autism as a “stress model” will likely lend scientists and researchers insight into what seems to be a vast amount of impossibly confusing evidence.

Source: Consumer Story – Lori Hogenkamp – Advocating for Communities to Enable Adults with Autism to Thrive, Autism Research Program, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs

Crip time is time travel. Disability and illness have the power to extract us from linear, progressive time with its normative life stages and cast us into a wormhole of backward and forward acceleration, jerky stops and starts, tedious intervals and abrupt endings. Some of us contend with the impairments of old age while still young; some of us are treated like children no matter how old we get. The medical language of illness tries to reimpose the linear, speaking in terms of the chronic, the progressive, and the terminal, of relapses and stages. But we who occupy the bodies of crip time know that we are never linear, and we rage silently—or not so silently—at the calm straightforwardness of those who live in the sheltered space of normative time.

Source: Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time | Samuels | Disability Studies Quarterly