Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Roundup of autistic-led resources for support, training, supervision, etc.

This will likely eventually merge with a project I have in progress about the importance of lived experience and intersectional resources, but for now, this is a repository of neurodiversity resources. I am adding to it over time, usually as I remember a resource that I forgot to include.

Resources here are led by autistic or otherwise neurodivergent folks, with a few exceptions in which I will clarify that the individual is someone very much immersed in neurodiversity culture and highly recommended by autistic folks I trust. It should be mentioned that these are resources I personally feel are sufficiently acknowledging of diversity of experiences thus applicable to a good amount of folks. Resources that I have found to be problematic in terms of lacking intersectionality are intentionally omitted (for these types of resources, this usually means the content is based heavily on assumptions of privilege to easily change schools or providers, freely disagree with mandated reporters and freely decline recommended services – or is written with a general sanctimoniousness that all rules and expectations of the broader society are oppressive).

Note: At some point I will create a searchable document so folks can find speakers who satisfy more than one intersection (autistic + adopted person, autistic + trans, autistic + Black + queer + immigrant, etc.) This will take some additional work as many folks do not highlight these identities on their websites and I will want to make sure I have consent to share their various identities. 

Autistic healthcare/education professionals 
and some professionals I see frequently recommended by autistic folks
(Note: Professionals are separated out not because I believe they have more to offer than those without this background, but to assist folks seeking someone who can potentially be hired for CEU trainings, university credit, etc.)

  • Neurodiversity Affirmative Therapists group on Facebook (led by neurodivergent clinicians and open to all clinicians/educators/support staff; I will provide the caveat that the group does permit members to use the group for personal support and troubleshooting, so there tend to be a lot of these type of posts that aren't everyone's cup of tea)

Autistic-led support and advocacy organizations

Autistic online spaces
(less-formal spaces without clear leadership) 

Autistic bloggers, tweeters, social-media-ers
and some non-autistic folks I see frequently recommended by autistic folks

Additionally, check out this amazing roundup of #ActuallyAutistic Instagram accounts from Sonny Jane. I have not vetted these, but I have found Sonny Jane's own content to be intersectional and high quality. They also are the author of a great book on DBT skills for neurodivergent folks that many of my friends and family find very helpful.

If you like books, this list of 100 autism-affirmative books by mostly autistic authors from Not an Autism Mom is wonderful as well.

Also! Folks looking to better understand autistic culture will want to: 

1) Follow trans/nonbinary/queer/LGBTQ social media topics as well, as there is a massive overlap between gender-diverse folks and neurodiverse folks. A queer resource roundup is in the works as well.

2) Learn about geek culture and observe these social media spaces. Obviously not all autistic folks share these interests (and we need to be mindful of stereotyping in this way and especially to avoid the diagnostic pitfall of viewing "normative" social interests as incompatible with autism), but many autistic and otherwise neurodivergent folks socialize around "geek" hobbies like Dungeons & Dragons and other roleplay, anime/manga, fandoms, fanfic/fanart, programming/coding, digital art, Minecraft, Roblox, Star Wars, Magic the Gathering/Yu-Gi-Oh/Pokémon, fursuits and furry fandoms, video games of all sorts, Harry Potter (though be aware many fans have dropped this fandom due to the author's transphobia), She-Ra, Steven Universe, Hello Kitty, My Little Pony, Dr. Who, Monty Python. It is not uncommon to encounter autistic youth communities socializing around '60s and '70s fads, while at the same time finding autistic adult communities socializing around current or vintage media typically aimed toward children. A common mantra in geek culture and autistic spaces is "let people like things," as unusual or anachronistic hobbies are not harming anyone and are a means of making connections and accessing joy.  

3) Listen to autistic folks. Really listen. Learn that the autistic community prefers identity-first language. Learn that the community at large opposes ABA. Learn that the community in general doesn't appreciate functioning labels or "disorder" labels. 

For those in a workplace setting that requires information in the format of either a book or a training rather than a catalog of social media links, my favorite recommendations are:

Being an Inclusive and Supportive Parent, Provider, and Teacher for Neurodivergent Children / Understanding Autism and ADHD Under the Neurodiversity Paradigm by Haley S. Wens, available for purchase here. This book is a great "cheat sheet" summarizing the main points made by the neurodiversity community -- what language is preferred by most of the community, what services are and aren't appreciated by most of the community, and so forth.

Neurodiversity Affirming Practice live CEU by Neurodiverse Counseling Services, offered on June 25 2022, at this link. In the future or if that date doesn't work, you can find them here.

Various Trainings with Joel Schwartz, who doesn't have anything autism-related up right now, but you can find him here.

LearnPlayThrive, Rachel Dorsey, and Kelly Mahler (all linked above) also frequently have formal CEU trainings.