Learning about neurodiversity at school has potential to support a positive autistic identity. The deficit perspective Maia and Ninja had can lead to negative effects on well-being. Ernie’s autistic identity was more positive and informed by other autistic people. Curricular materials developed from the perspectives of autistic people on how to teach autistic students about neurodiversity and autistic culture need to be available to educators.

Source: INSAR 2020 Virtual Meeting – 419.060 – “They’re like the People That Aren’t Exactly, like, Normal Brained.”: Neurodiversity from the Perspectives of Three Autistic Adolescent Young Women. 

Via:

Neurotypicality is a grounding narrative of exclusion. The neurotypical is the category to which our education systems aspire. It is the category to which our ideas of the nuclear family aspire. And, it is the category on which the concept of the citizen (and by extension participation in the nation-state and the wider global economy) is based.

In the context of education, which is the one I am most knowledgeable about, the mechanisms for upholding the neurotypical standard are everywhere in force. Every classroom that penalizes students for distributed modes of attention organizes learning according to a neurotypical norm. Every classroom that sees the moving body as the distracted body is organized according to a neurotypical norm. Every classroom that teaches predominantly for one mode of perception is organizing its learning according to a norm. Every classroom that knows in advance what knowledge looks and sounds like is working to a norm.

Intelligence, understood as the performance of a certain kind of knowledge acquisition and presentation, is built on the scaffold of neurotypicality as the unspoken norm. To speak of the normative tendencies of education is not new. My concern is with what remains largely unspoken in that conversation. Having “special needs” classrooms upholds neurotypicality, for instance, as the dominant model of existence. Drugging our children because of their attention deficit is upholding a neurotypical norm. Sending our black and indigenous children to juvenile detention centers in disproportionate numbers is upholding a neurotypical norm which takes, as neurotypicality always does, whiteness as the standard.

Source: Histories of Violence: Neurodiversity and the Policing of the Norm – Los Angeles Review of Books

That’s how the power of philanthropy works. It sets the agenda. Personalized learning. The Common Core. Charter schools. Measures of Effective Teaching. It didn’t push for these ideas because that’s what people wanted. It helped convince politicians that these were the ideas that education needed. That is to say, education policy has not been shaped by democratic forces as much as it has been by philanthropic ones — by the billionaires who wield immense political power through their “charity.”

Rather than reject this plutocracy — a plutocracy that has corrupted so many of our democratic institutions long before President Trump ever came into office — Michael Bloomberg is asking Democrats to embrace it.

Source: HEWN, No. 343 – HEWN (Hack Education Weekly Newsletter)

It’s been a thoroughly demoralizing few weeks on the advocacy front with a progressive Democrat endorsing ABA in education and the vile flood of ableism from the left directed at disabled self-advocates for sharing tales of ableism in the gig economy.

I cling to the bright spot that is Alfie Kohn’s powerful piece of advocacy against behaviorism in ed.

Autism and Behaviorism

See also his previous piece on behaviorism.

It’s Not About Behavior