Go to todaysautisticmoment.com to find the transcript. You can click on the episode on the website and read the transcript there, or you may click on the link provided and be taken to that transcript in a document that you can download and print to follow the show.
David Gray-Hammond reworked his essays from his blog on emergentdivergence.com and put them into an anthology entitled: The New Normal: Autistic Musings on the Threat of a Broken Society. Throughout the book, David writes that the suffering that many Autistics experience is because of a society that is broken. David talks about the word Neuroqueer, and how Autistics are Neuroqueering language. David wrote his book as a love letter to the Autistic community that helped him through drug and alcohol addiction and is still helping him to this day.
--- Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/2daysautistic/support
To read or print the transcript from a document, tap or click on
To read the transcript from this website scroll down further.
The New Normal
April 16th, 2023
Welcome everyone to Today’s Autistic Moment: A Podcast for Autistic Adults by an Autistic Adult. My name is Philip King-Lowe. I am the owner, producer, and host; and I am an Autistic Adult. Thank you so much for listening.
Today’s Autistic Moment is a member of The National Podcast Association and The Autistic Podcasters Network.
Today’s Autistic Moment is a free podcast that gives Autistic Adults access to important information, helps us learn about our barriers to discover the strengths and tools we already have to use for the work of self-advocacy.
This first segment of Today’s Autistic Moment is sponsored by The Autism Society of Minnesota: Minnesota’s First Autism Resource. For over 50 years The Autism Society of Minnesota has been honored to support Minnesota’s Autism Community. Visit them online at ausm.org.
Thank you for joining me on this episode: The New Normal. My guest is David Gray-Hammond.
Please visit todaysautisticmoment.com where you can listen to the podcast, get transcripts, program updates, and read the guest bios pages. Please visit the Future Shows Page with the titles, guests, and descriptions of all the shows coming up through the end of June. The transcripts are sponsored by Minnesota Independence College & Community. The transcript can be read and followed from the website, or you can click on the link provided to be taken to a written document to print and read it there. While visiting the website, please consider supporting the work of Today’s Autistic Moment with a financial donation or purchase an item from the Logo Shop.
Please follow Today’s Autistic Moment on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Want to chat with me and other listeners? Join Today’s Autistic Moment Community Group on Facebook. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel @todaysautisticmoment to watch the most recent episodes of Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions.
You are invited to apply to be a panelist on Autistic Voices Roundtable Discussions: How Autistics Define Success on Wednesday, May 24th at 2:00pm Central Standard Time. I am seeking four to six panelists who are Autistic. Success is defined by a culture of ableism, sexism, racism, and the neurotypical majority. Success is measured and determined by capitalism in how much money one earns and/or by the property we own. As Autistics, each one of us decides what success means through our Autistic identity and talents. Success for Autistics can include how we handled a moment when our sensory processing was disturbed, and what we did to better regulate ourselves. Success for Autistics can be completing a project that is part of our special interests. The panelists will come together and talk about how they define success for themselves. If you want to be a panelist on May 24th, go to todaysautisticmoment.com/autistic-voices and scroll to the bottom and click to fill out the application. Applications must be completed and submitted by April 28th.
I am so excited to have David Gray-Hammond back on Today’s Autistic Moment. In November and December 2021, David was my guest for two excellent shows. Autistic Adults: Substance Abuse Addiction and Autistic Adults: Substance Abuse Recovery. To this very day, his story continues to move me. If you have not heard those shows, go back to November and December 2021, and listen to David’s remarkable account of his journey of being late identified and how addiction and recovery affected his life and how the Autistic community was his best support to work towards sobriety.
Last year, David gathered some of his blog writings and compiled them in an anthology that is entitled: The New Normal: Autistic Musings on the Threat of a Broken Society.
In case you are asking me the question of why did I choose to have David talk about his book during Autism Acceptance Month? I want you to listen to this quote from the Prologue of his book.
“The Autistic community especially, has been going above and beyond to support each other. From emotional support to financial aid, many of us have done our part. If anyone asked me what Autistic culture is to me, I would point them towards the culture of support and uplifting that I have witnessed and benefitted from personally. We are a demographic that simply won’t stand for injustice.
I am proud of this community for knowing its own importance. When so many of us are alienated from society, tens of thousands of us have come together to demand equal rights and equitable treatment for all Autistics.
I am certain that without the Autistic community, I would not be here. This is a community that welcomes all and fiercely defends each of its members. So many of us owe our lives to this community.
This has made me realize my responsibility to future generations. This community, this bastion of acceptance and justice for the downtrodden, needs to be preserved.” (Pages 9 and 10).
David’s eloquent words are a perfect example of what Autism Month should be about. It should be celebrating our rich diversity, and recognizing the resilience of Autistic people who have gone through the tumultuous journey of self-acceptance to be part of a larger movement that is reaching for our life’s potential as opposed to being limited to the social stigmas of a medical diagnosis. David’s reply to the question of what Autism month is about is found in the title of this book: The New Normal. Whether we call it Autism Awareness Month, Autism Acceptance Month or Autism Month, it will not be a true celebration of diversity until the conversations about Autistics become normalized.
Stay tuned after this first commercial break, when you will hear David Gray-Hammond and I talk about his incredible book, The New Normal.
Commercial Break I
Welcome back everyone. Please join me in welcoming David Gray-Hammond.
David Gray-Hammond, welcome back to Today's Autistic Moment. I am so grateful that you've come back to talk to us.
Thank you for having me back. It's fantastic to be here.
Thank you. Thank you. I'm glad you're here. Well, you've been busy this past year with your new book called The New Normal. And from what I've understood, it's an anthology that you put together?
It's an anthology of essays that I took from my blog, emergentdivergence.com. And I sort of reworked them and rewrote them using the new knowledge and the new things that I've learned over the years since writing them. And it's an anthology of these reworked essays.
Okay. All right. Well, this show, we're still in the middle of Autism Month during April. And I think this is a great way to talk about Autism Acceptance, and, you know, Autism during the month of April. So, this book is a great way to emphasize the importance of recognizing Autism this month. So, what important information do you feel that Autistic Adults and our caregivers need to hear? About this fantastic book you've written and maybe especially how it can impact so many of us, Autistics, as we're working through this month of which, you know, it's about it's supposed to be about Autistics, but it's really big, it really is a month of Autism debates and money being spent. And as, as my previous guests have said, you know, this is a month where they sell merchandise left and right taking they're doing us a lot of a lot of services, but it really winds up being you know, a month of a month of that can be very difficult for a lot of us because of how people are still not really listening to us or taking us seriously when, when we when we talk about how being Autistic affects our lives in one way or another. So, talk a little bit more about the book and how you feel it is helpful to us Autistics.
It's kind of perfect. That is April, as you said, you know, its Autism Awareness Acceptance month, you know, whatever name you want to give it, it's Autism month. And the problem with Autism month is that the focus is naturally on Autistic people. It's a month where for Autistic people, we are looking around at a society that pays lip service to us and takes advantage of our identities for financial gain. And my book, The New Normal: Autistic Musings on the Threat of a Broken Society is about this stuff. The essays in it talk through the various issues that are in society for Autistic people. We talk about things like how we're portrayed in the media. The fact that you know, in our capitalist system, we are judged according to our ability to produce profit and contribute to the economic climate. And what I really wanted to do with this book was to highlight the fact that when we talk about Autistic people and the things they suffer from, it's not Autism. We don't suffer from Autism. The things that make us suffer are in the environment around us is its society that causes Autistic suffering. And I wanted to highlight the fact that, you know, society is broken by design. And I felt it necessary to talk about that. And to consider what a world that better accommodates Autistic people might look like. What some of the barriers to such a world would be, and how we might work through them. But also getting some stuff around neuroqueer theory and you know, and de-pathologizing mental health, and embracing your identity as a work of art effectively. You know that we can, we can use identities, like costumes, we can take them on and put them off. We can experiment, we can be who we want to be, and that society is the only barrier to being who you want to be. And I fundamentally want people to understand that, you know, in a world where you could be anything, the most powerful thing you can be is yourself.
Yeah. Yeah. Um, what inspired you to put this book together? I mean, I mean, tell us about why you why you put this together. And maybe you've already answered this, and I'm just talking in circles. But I mean, um, what was it that inspired you to, to put this anthology together?
Well, this book is a love letter to the Autistic community, as I spoke about in previous episodes I've done with you, the Autistic community saved my life. If I hadn't have discovered the Autistic community, I would not have survived addiction, I would not have survived psychosis. I wouldn't be here today. This book is my love letter to a community that has saved my life on more than one occasion. And a lot of my work historically has centered around Autistic experiences of drug and alcohol addiction and psychosis. But I realized quite quickly that if I wanted to help people experiencing addiction, or mental health issues, especially Autistic people, it's not enough to just talk about those issues, you've got to consider the bigger picture. And the wider picture is a society that oppresses us and holds us down and tries to normalize us and force us into its own idea of what we should be. And I wanted to break away from that and say to Autistic people and those who love them, that it's okay for us to be who we are.
I'm very interested in your take on the word neuroqueer. You know, I being a gay man, and that word queer. From my, my past, of course, that word queer has was not a good word to be used at all. You know, but nowadays, we're hearing it more. And one of the things I think that it's really impossible to miss is that the relationship between the Autistic community and the LGBTQ queer communities is it's pretty much inseparable because of how many of us are. But tell me talk a little bit about the word neuroqueer. And is that something you came up with? Or is that something you found?
Neuroqueer theory, the word Neuroqueer and Neuroqueering, was conceptualized by Nick Walker and her colleagues. And the basic level you can say that queerness being LGBT+ comes into it. Because what you have in neuroqueer theory is this understanding that we have neuro normative standards or more specifically, neuro normative standards. So, this idea that we should all think feel act to embody ourselves in a particular way, and this is where the concept of normal comes from. But what neuroqueer theory teaches us is that we can subvert those expectations of normality. We can intentionally go against normative or neuro normative standards. And one of the ways we can do this is through our queer identity. You know, I identify as a queer man. But, you know, if you are not cisgendered, straight, that is in itself subverting an expectation, because there is an expectation in our society, that one should be heterosexual and, you know, associate yourself with the gender you were assigned at birth. So, one way of neuroqueering is to not be that. But there are other ways as well. Neuro queering is a verb, right? Neuroqueer is a verb, primarily not so much a noun. It is an act. It is the act of taking the expectation of normal and going against it. So, you can nueroqueer your way to neurodivergence. Nick Walker in her book Neuroqueer Heresies talks about the fact there are monks who practice such intense forms of meditation, that it fundamentally alters the way their brain works. So even if they were able to perform neurotypicality, and neurotypicality is a performance, they can no longer do that, because of the changes that meditation has made to their mind. Some people are neuroqueer by using psychedelic drugs and altering their brain functionality that way. Some people are fundamentally more neurologically queer is how Remi Yergeau put it. So Autistic people already struggle to meet neuro normative standards. We cannot perform Neurotypicality. So, we are subverting an expectation in that way. Neuroqueer theory, at the basis of it asks you to question just how much of what we hold to be true is a social construct? How much of what is accepted as normal is accepted as normal, because of our, you know, post-colonial society that still trying to get over the effects of regimes that have existed in the world and do still exist in the world that enforce a particular way of being?
After this next commercial break, David will talk about the social construct of language, neuroqueering the language about Autistics, and why going against the grain is an important element in advocacy. Please stay tuned.
Commercial Break II
Are you fed up with companies that only include Autistics on a surface level? Would you like to own something from a business that is owned by an Autistic person and working for the Autistic Community? Please visit the Logo Shop on todaysautisticmoment.com. There are spinner fidgets, 16oz drinking cups and lapel pins with the logo of Today’s Autistic Moment on them. You can order any one of them for the purchase price listed, or one of each together and receive a 15% discount. When you buy from the logo shop you are helping me continue to get the best guests for the best conversations that are relevant to Neurodiversity.
Thank you for supporting Today’s Autistic Moment.
Today’s Autistic Moment Commentary
This is a special Today’s Autistic Moment Commentary. Over the past few month’s bills have been passed and signed into law in various states prohibiting gender affirming care that include gender reassignment surgery. The legislation passed in Georgia added a statement about gender dysphoria being common for “people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” In other news, the shooter in Tennessee was identified as transgender and Autistic. These events have confirmed what I have feared for a long time. Those who continue believing that diverse sexual orientations and diverse gender identities are disorders, and that Autism is a disorder are connecting them to give themselves the justification for indoctrinating and passing laws that threaten the lives of those communities. LGBTQIA+ people and Autistic people are several times more likely to be victims of horrendous violence, and not the perpetrators. The decisions and efforts by certain political parties to equip people with more guns is a shoddy excuse for not using the powers of their offices to help foster a better society where LGBTQIA+ people, Autistic people, and individuals with any number of mental health conditions are safer from the brutality in their homes and in society as a whole. The number of LGBTQIA+ people, people of color, Autistic people, and others with developmental disabilities who live in poverty, are homeless, without adequate employment and the quality health care they deserve is the real violence that fuels more rampage that ultimately endangers everyone. Not only do we need better laws that limit fire arms, but we also need actions to enrich the lives of the marginalized groups that are being victimized. All of the laws passed will do very little, if we do not change the cultural mindset that justifies an atmosphere of violence, racism, LGBTQIA+ discrimination and ableism.
To all of you politicians who are spending millions of dollars on wars and suing each other, it is past time for you to actually give a damn about actual people and stop the bullying and making excuses. Enough is enough.
Thank you for listening to this special commentary by Today’s Autistic Moment.
As we venture into my second question, what are the barriers for Autistic Adults, as we talk about being Autistic as the new normal? There is a quote of yours that I've used, that I, I really liked, and I'd love for you to maybe talk a little bit more about this. You were the one that wrote "the word disorder is a social construct." I read that from some of your works. And, you know, in the beginning of 2022, I began with a show about the medical and the social models of Autism. You know, the medical diagnosis and the social model being the movement for Neurodiversity, is how I use it. But you know, a lot of what we experience that, that is so difficult, that keeps us from keeps society from recognizing us as neuro normal, is because of those, those social constructs.
So, the word disorder itself is like all language, its meaning is socially constructed. And what we have constructed it to mean is, something is not working properly. Something is not doing what it's supposed to do. And when we apply that to neurodivergent people, and I don't just mean autistic and ADHD people, I mean, all neurodivergent people, what we are saying is, there is something wrong with you. There is something that needs fixing, you need to catch up with us. And this is wrong. It's the fundamental basis of the entire oppression of neurodivergent people. The idea that we are broken or in need of fixing or curing, the idea that we have less rhetoricity that we our words mean less or less trustworthy, because we have a disorder is one of the biggest barriers that exists. Because what we need is a world that will listen to our experiences, and help us to have our boundaries honored, and our needs met. But when you tell us we've got a disorder, you can also then tell us, well, those needs shouldn't be what you need. Those boundaries shouldn't be what you want. Because you're saying there's something wrong fundamentally with the way my brain works. And as my brain defines all of my communication by saying my brain is disordered, you are invalidating every aspect of my communication.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think there's some great truth in that. I mean, the word disorder disability kind of says them all. I mean, as soon as you put the word dis in there, basically what it comes down to is, is a set of standards that are not like everybody else's, basically. I mean, and I would say from that people get to define for us what those standards ought to be. You know, um, you know, I've been saying for a while now that, you know, being Autistic, or Neurodivergent, it’s just me, you know, that word means different, a different brain, a brain that functions uniquely. And, you know, over the past two years, since I've been hosting Today's Autistic Moment, one of the messages I've been trying to, to get out there is that, you know, just because we're different, that doesn't mean there's necessarily, again, anything wrong, it's just, it's different. And what the Movement for Neurodiversity is wanting to achieve is just to say, we may be Neurodivergent. Carole Jean Whittington used the word in an episode I recorded with her, that's, that uses the word "neuro distinct." Just to kind of emphasize there is a distinction here. Okay. But, um, I mean, part of the barriers that we have, is that, again, you know, the power of words. You know, when someone says, disorder, or disability, it's almost it really is. It winds up being a "disconnect" from everybody else, and how everybody else thinks we should be. You know, so as we're trying to say that, you know, being Autistic or neurodivergent is, is a new normal. I mean, among the things we're trying to do is normalize the conversations around Autism, being Autistic, Neurodivergent.
Absolutely. And I think it's important to note that, you know, one of the things about language and the fact that it is a socially constructed tool of communication, is that we can actually queer language. You can neuro queer language. You can reclaim words you can, you can play around with their meanings. You can assign them new meanings. One of the ways we can subvert normality is to take a word and reinvent it. For example, the Neurodivergent community, especially the Autistic community, has done a big job of reinventing the word disabled. You know, we have taken on the social model of disability, and through that we are redefining disability to primarily be a form of oppression rather than a problem with the person. You know, we are able to view disability as something that is done to us rather than something that comes from within us. And this is one of the ways that neuroqueering works is you are taking that expected reality, and you are creating one that is more accepting that fits you better. And, you know, I think that's, that's really important, because we have to, we have to live in a world that's accessible to us. And the normative standards that exist of language of communication of self-embodiment, they are not accessible to the vast majority of people. You know, everyone has normative standards that they can't get behind. Even people who can perform neurotypicality. And I think, you know, bringing it back to neuroqueering, you know, this is why neuroqueer theory is at its fundamental basis, the theory of liberation, because it teaches us that we can escape from the clutches of a society that requires us to be who they want us to be.
Yeah. My final question, of course, is what steps do Autistic Adults in our supporters need to take to advocate for our needs? And as part of this question, I want us to take this title, this New Normal, this neuro queerness that we're talking about. Because during this season, I am focusing on the strengths and achievements of Autistic Adults. Because of the fact that there tends to be so much of a focus on our deficits, on the things we are not able to do. I have been trying to say that, you know, a lot of us Autistics the challenges we have, when we use them to build up our tenacity, we can achieve incredible things. And so, as part of this third part about self-advocacy, maybe we can talk about, you know, the strengths that so many of us have, that is part of making, making discussions about Autistic people as the new normal.
I think, in this month of April, the most powerful thing we can do is to go against the grain. Don't, don't go out there and be the Autistic person that society expects. Go out there and be the Autistic person, that is right to you. Because as Autistic people, even when we embrace our Autistic selves, there is still an expectation on what that should look like. Because the world expects being Autistic to look a particular way. And it doesn't have a particular look. It doesn't have a particular way. Each and every single one of us is different. And each and every single one of us is valid. And we need to explore that diversity, we need to celebrate the diversity of our identity. Because when we say I am Autistic, we're not saying I am part of a homogenous group. We are saying I am a neuro distinct person who identifies with the word Autistic. And I am my own person. I am not what you expect.
Right. Yeah, that's, oh, that's, that's so eloquent of you to say that. Yeah. You know, I've always advocated on this show to say that part of doing this is to, I've got a phrase to be the expert about your own brand, make, and model of Autism. I've learned that over the years, because, you know, there have been explanations such as, you know, you know, Autism versus neurotypical is very similar to things like Windows versus iOS. You know, they're just two different languages, but they're in there, they may be of the same may use computers, but they just talk different languages. I have come to agree with those who say that there is an Autistic culture. I happen to think there's also an Autistic language, and only few, very few people understand how to speak that language, or, you know, that sort of thing. There are those who would debate that too. But, you know, I do think that there is something to you know, that the new normal is for Autistics to discover each other, and learn how to network with each other, and learn how to support each other in, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
Absolutely. And it's interesting, you bring up culture and language because there is emerging research that actually says, you know, that Autistic people have their own language, essentially. It's been done by a researcher called Rachel Cullen. They, they are, they call it the Autistic language hypothesis. And it talks about how we fundamentally interpret and use language differently. And having our own use of language is an important part of the development of Autistic culture, which I am absolutely certain does exist and I do talk about it in my book, The New Normal.
Yeah, yeah. I mean, a few years ago, we had our Autistic Minnesota Autism Conference and there was a presenter who talked about the Autistic culture. And it's basically just, you know, understanding, you know, that there will be, you know, food texture issues, there will be clothing texture issues there will be, you know, our communication styles and everything. This is part of the Autistic culture. But it's really, you know, all these, this third season and since I've been hosting Today's Autistic Moment, the Autistic culture is each Autistic person that is one unique from the other. We may have when we have our similarities and differences, but the Autistic community, the Autistic culture, is receptive to that diversity. It struggles with that diversity. I don't think we can rule that one out. I mean, every community that tends to be marginalized, or minoritized has our own struggles with accepting the diversity within us, within our groups of people. But um, when we talk about the new normal, Autistic culture, is to I think one of those things is to realize that the Autistic culture is a new normal.
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think if people take anything away from this, it's that, you know, being Autistic, it's so much more than a diagnosis. It really is a culture, a language, it is, it is a shared experience. It certainly is not a disorder.
No, well, I do want to kind of, you know, the need for diagnoses, we do still need them. Because without them, we don't, we don't discover who we are. The medical community, though they are way behind, we won't go into that. They're way behind and that sort of thing. You know, and, you know, all the diagnostic manuals and everything. You know, the point is, is that there is a need for them. But the point is, is that, you know, when that diagnosis is given, there is this huge disconnect between the pathology versus the social reality of it.
Absolutely. I think it's important to note, you know, that, you know, whilst diagnosis is kind of an enforced need in our current world. We can look to the future, you know, when we think back in the 40s, and 50s, when homosexuality was a diagnosis in the DSM, and now it's not. And perhaps one day, we can live in a world where being Autistic can be the same where we don't have to be medicalized because of being Autistic.
Yeah. Yeah. As we think about that, though, I guess my one concern would be that if we do wind up, you know, doing that, that we don't shift into a different form of ableism that says that we cannot get the personal supports we may need, because it's no longer a disorder, if you will. Well, you know, there's still a lot of us who are having a lot of difficulties getting the supports we need, you know, for things like our executive dysfunctioning, and, you know, any of the other needs, we have. We're still having a lot of difficulty getting those services. And even if we do move into the, into the direction of it's no longer a disorder, I just would want us to be able to get those supports. Um, you know, and that, you know, I, you know, the other thing I can't help but think about too, is that, you know, that needing supports to help us with things like that, that's also one of those things that is so marginalizing. You know, we're still, it's amazing to me that we're in it. We're in a society right now where, you know, using services, government funded services, it's just, it's a financial burden on society. There are those who still feel that way. But like I say, I just I just would want us to, you know, when we do say that it's not necessarily a disorder that that wouldn't stop us from helping one another out with the needs we have.
Absolutely. I do agree with you. And actually, I talk about it in The New Normal that part of working towards a world where Autism is no longer seen as a disorder where we are Autistic people, and we do not have Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Part of making that world a reality is to create a world where people have access to what they need to get by without the moral judgments that are placed on it. Without the barriers to access that are placed on it. Without the gatekeeping. And I talk about this in one or two chapters of the book. The fact that to create such a world where we are no longer medicalized requires the world to actually accommodate everyone and not just a particular subgroup that we call neurotypical.
Following this final commercial break, David will talk about how many years he has been in sobriety and why he believes the Autistic community is so successful with accepting diversity. Right after that, Today’s Autistic Community Bulletin Board.
Commercial Break III
Join my guest Rose Carriero on May 7th for Autistic Mothers Celebrate Mother’s Day Too. Rose is an Autistic Mother in Canada who was diagnosed after her son. Rose will talk about what communication, self-identification, as an Autistic with an Autistic son can be like. What happens when an Autistic Mother is experiencing sensory overload or meltdown, with a son who is having the same kind of day? Rose will share what she has learned from her Autistic son, and what Mother’s Day means for her.
On May 21st, Eric Garcia returns to Today’s Autistic Moment to talk about Unmasking Your Authentic Autistic Self. Eric is the author of We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation. Eric will discuss the risks of unmasking for Autistics and why unmasking is so challenging. Eric will also talk about what is happening with all the anti-trans bills being passed around the country and the consequences they are making for Autistics to unmask.
Dr. Devon Price will join me for our Pride Month special episode on June 4th: What Successfully Autistic & Queer Really Means. When most people hear the words successfully Autistic & Queer, they digress to what those words mean from a neurotypical, ableist and straight point of view of what success is. Dr. Devon Price who is the author of the books Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity and Laziness Does Not Exist will talk about what being successful as Autistics and Queer really means for us.
On June 18th, I will be joined by Daren Howard who is the Deputy Director at The Autism Society of Minnesota for the episode Autistic Fathers Celebrate Father’s Day Too. In a society where neurotypicals are “normal” and ableism is accepted on a conscious and sub-conscious level, a father is the masculine bread winner in the family who is a model of self-discipline and ingenuity. Daren will talk about what being an Autistic father means for him.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment.
As we start to close this up, I did see a post from you on your Facebook page recently, that you are now celebrating a certain number of years in sobriety.
Yes, yes. As of April 7th, I am seven years sober from drug and alcohol addiction.
Oh, that's just amazing. Yeah. Do you feel like your advocacy through the work that you do I know that I feel this way that often it's that work that we do that is actually empowering for us to work through things like that? Do you? Do you find that for yourself, too?
Yes, I find that the act of doing something to help others gives me the strength I need to maintain my sobriety that this is one of the ways the Autistic community has helped me, you know? First of all, it gave me a place to go home, then it gave me purpose, it gave me a reason to keep going. Because all the time this community needs me, I will be there for them.
Yeah, that's how I feel. And that's one of the reasons I do this podcast. You know, it's funny, we, it's funny in a way that we encounter so many groups of people, before we're actually diagnosed. And then, you know, we feel like we're just lost and trying to find a group of people that can be supportive and appreciative. And, you know, one of the things that one of the great rewards I've gotten personal rewards I've gotten from, from hosting Today's Autistic Moment, is to learn that my podcast has become a safe space for Autistic Adults, to share their experiences without their voices being silenced or spoken over, They feel like it's a safe space for them to finally talk, and no one's ruling us out. And, you know, I do find that for all the searching I've done for, to be helping and working with a group of people that I identify with so much, the Autistic community. As diverse as we are, we seem to appreciate one another. Because we understand one another. There is still a problem with the acceptance of Autistic people within even the LGBTQ communities. But yet, what I often find so very fascinating, such the Autistic community, when you give them something that they can find that they can relate to, we can relate to, that we can understand one another about. It's interesting how. And I'm gonna say in many ways, your Autistic community embraces diversity far better than just about any community I've ever seen.
I think that that's definitely true to an extent, because I've spent a lot of time in a lot of different communities. And I have found there is a huge issue with gatekeeping and bigotry in a lot of communities. That's not to say that the Autistic community is free of these issues. We know we do have issues with people who do not appreciate our intersectionality. People who don't support everyone, but you are going to find that in every large group of people. I will say the Autistic community, in my experience, at least, has been a far more accepting place than anywhere else.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I agree with that. I mean, about a year or so ago, one of the things, one of the places that I have come to is that all of the communities that are that experience marginalization of some kind, has its points where they struggle with the diversity within its own group of people. You know, because you're right, I mean, we do have our own systematic racism within the neurodivergent community. We have our own, you know, versions of even gender discrimination, or gender acceptance and so many different things. And I feel that one of the most important things that does need to be is that the community of neurodiversity does need to go through its struggle to accept the diversity within itself. What I mean by that is that we can't resist that struggle, we have to sort of go through that struggle to get to a place where we better accept one another. But, you know, as I meditate and think on the strengths and achievements of Autistic Adults, I also feel very strongly that if there's one community that has the ability to build up its tenacity, to work through those things. I think the Autistic community has the greatest potential to probably do that.
I think that that is the fundamental thing about the Autistic community is, this may be a difficult conversation, talking about, you know, accepting diversity, it may be difficult for some people, but Autistic people, in my experience, are not afraid to have the difficult conversations.
Yes, yep. Yep. I agree. David, it's always a pleasure to have you on the show, I cannot tell you. Through the videos, I've seen the view on Tik Tok in other places, you do have an ability to talk very eloquently when you speak. And I always, you know, find that so, so powerful. And, you know, I do see, you know, your own tenacity is an example, is a part of what makes the Autistic community so powerful as you work through your years of sobriety and what you're doing now. So, thank you so much for being here. And I promise that we will see you again in the future.
Fantastic. Thank you for having me.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Today’s Autistic Community Bulletins Board
All of these events with their links can be found on todaysautisticmoment.com/bulletinboard
Join The Autism Society of Minnesota for their Adult Coffee Club. The next Coffee Clubs will be on Tuesday nights from 5pm to 7pm at Dogwood Coffee in St. Paul on April 18th, May 2nd, and May 16th. Coffee Clubs will also be available at the Milkweed Café in Minneapolis on Monday May 8th from 5 to 7 pm. Please RSVP at ausm.org.
Understanding Autism virtual classes will be offered by The Autism Society of Minnesota. These classes are perfect for Autistic individuals, caregivers, those who want to understand the basics of Autism and support Autistic people. Classes will be held on April 17th from 6-8pm. May 15th from 10am to 12 noon. Classes are free of charge, but you must register to attend.
On May 9, 2023, beginning at 7pm to 9pm Dayna Nelson will present a virtual skillshop at The Autism Society of Minnesota entitled: Communication Differences and Conflict Resolution. Communication differences for Autistic people can be very challenging to navigate when there are social nuances, lack of directness, confusing body language, and difficulty understanding receptive and/or expressive communication. During this skill shop we will discuss differences in communication and the nuances behind them. You will learn proactive strategies for communicating effectively and resolving conflict when there is a disconnect.
Be sure to register to attend the 28th Annual Minnesota Autism Conference that will be held at the Marriott Minneapolis Airport Hotel, April 26-28th. You can register for the full conference that includes the Foundational Workshops and the virtual content together, or the Foundational Workshops only or the Virtual Content Only. Go to ausm.org and click on the menu option Events to register.
Go to ausm.org for more information about these and other events such as the Steps for Autism on May 21st, at The Autism Society of Minnesota.
Matthew the #ActuallyAutistic Coach has room in his Finding Your Autistic Self Group Coaching Groups. In the groups, participants learn about unmasking strategies, coping tools, burnout & post-burnout support and much more. Go to autisticcoach.com and click on Autism Groups for more information.
Today’s Autistic Moment is sponsored in part by Looking Forward Life Coaching. Looking Forward turns stumbling blocks into stepping stones towards success. Go to lookingforwardlc.org for more information.
Today’s Autistic Moment is here because of the generosity of the sponsors and supporters. Please join the supporters by clicking on Support Today’s Autistic Moment on todaysautisticmoment.com. If you work for a company and/or organization that supports Autistic Adults and the movement for Neurodiversity, I would love to have you sponsor ads on the show.
If you would like to sponsor an ad or have questions about Today’s Autistic Moment, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for listening to Today’s Autistic Moment: A Podcast for Autistic Adults by An Autistic Adult.
May you have an Autistically Amazing day.