I’ve worn many professional hats over the years. Perhaps it may be surprising to some when they learn that I didn’t spring forth from the womb clad in rainbow flags and infinity symbols. My undergraduate degree was actually completely unrelated to autism (in the literal sense); I studied forensic and archaeological science.
As part of my training in both forensic and archaeological practices, I had to learn how to conduct environmental impact assessments. Right now, you’re probably wondering, “Why the hell is David telling us this?” You will be unsurprised to learn that I’m going to relate this to Autistic culture.
You can’t consider an environment and its health without first considering the biodiversity that exists within that environment. Neurodiversity can, from an ecological perspective, be considered a form of biodiversity.
The world can be considered an environment consisting of a multitude of cultures and sub-cultures. In this context, we can consider a sub-culture to be a group within an existing culture that shares similarities with that larger overall culture but contains variations, or perhaps deviations, from the perceived normative standards. I would then like to position Autistic culture in an ecological class of sub-culture.
We share many similarities with the wider cultures within the environment. Thanks to the intersectionality of our community, we exist within multiple larger cultures. We do, however, have specific language and a sociality of our own. So, within the broad context of various human cultures autism exists as its own diverse nook.
Why is this important?
The ecology of an environment is a complex machination. Each seemingly insignificant aspect creates the balance required for each living part of that environment to co-exist with each other. Removal of even the smallest part of an environment can create a cascading effect that leads to the failure of a given ecosystem. With respect to cultures and sub-cultures, they are a necessary part of human ecology.
As a species that evolved to be interdependent, neurological diversity allows for the development of the means of not just co-existence with our fellow humans but also the survival of our species. This, then, is why Autistic people find themselves so concerned with cure culture and eugenics. The ramifications of the erasure of Autistic sub-culture are far-reaching, beyond the scope of our mere elimination from the gene pool. It is possible that our erasure could threaten the ecological balance of the human environment.
Neurodiversity has a farther reach than merely our right to exist as neurodivergent people. It considers our need to exist. Autistic people are not just an aberration. We are not a deviation from objective normality. We are a necessary part of human cognition. Human existence, like the existence of any species, is predicated on its diversity. Reduction of biodiversity can and will ultimately lead to our failure to thrive.
So, with the consideration that we are necessary for the existence of the human race. Perhaps it is time to stop making us “indistinguishable from our peers.” It’s not just Autistic people who are being harmed by attempts to reduce us, it’s humanity itself.
I’m going to start with an admission. The text-based images in this article came to me via a DM. I am yet to find their original source, and as such, I can not confirm whether the people behind Spectrum 10k wrote this. I do, however, feel that as these statements are out there, it’s necessary to address the misleading information contained within.
Below are the screenshots that I have received. I will address this point by point to the best of my ability.
1. “Spectrum 10k are not looking for a prenatal test for autism”
This technically true if you take their publicised aims at face value. I do, however, feel it’s necessary to draw your attention to a study they are conducting into using amniocentesis and hormone levels in utero. They go on to talk in the screenshot about how a prenatal test could not work using genetics alone; perhaps Baron-Cohen would then like to address his involvement in a prenatal study that assesses more than genetics as a tool for prenatal screening.
I have written more about the aforementioned study in this article.
2. “We do not support cures or treatments for autism itself“
This is clever wording. It leaves it open to justify historical, current, or future involvement in cures and interventions for aspects of Autistic experience that technically fall outside of the remit of “autism itself”. This, of course, is conjecture to a certain extent. I do believe that we have to consider this wording in the wider context of the unethical responses to valid concerns by Autistic people.
Unfortunately, there is more to consider. We know that at least one of the leading researchers on the Spectrum 10k team has direct links to eugenics and curist rhetoric. We know that team members have had involvement with organisations that have overtly stated their intent to eliminate Autistic people from the human gene pool.
They claim that the study will not be used to create prenatal testing for autism but fail to address the concerns that these further studies and associations outside of the study raise. To be clear, we have had no reasonable explanation of how Spectrum 10k and the amniocentesis study will not work in tandem to increase the likelihood of a prenatal test. We have also had no meaningful response to our concerns around team members’ involvement with eugenics organisations.
Until such time that the Autism Research Centre can offer an actual alternative position, without subterfuge and misleading statements, I will still be encouraging you to boycott their research and speak out against them.
For more information on Spectrum 10k you can read our original statement here and a vast array of writing about it on this page.
During my time in the Autistic community, I often heard murmurings of eugenics projects, but in all honesty, I was unaware of the reality of just how many sought to eradicate Autistic people. Perhaps then you can understand just how upsetting Spectrum 10k has been; not just for me, but for tens of thousands of Autistic people, for whom eugenics has been a mythical creature. This project has served as a rude awakening to a world in which we are not welcome. Such a world as the ones found in dystopian fiction.
They say that ignorance is bliss, and truthfully, it was. I yearn for a world where experts are only wrong, and do not harbour genocidal ambitions. Unfortunately, the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK, are engaging on projects that each day take us closer to a world where Autistic people no longer exist.
Myself and the rest of the team at the Boycott Spectrum 10K campaign have literally given our wellbeing to this cause. Many, if not all of us, have been in some state of burnout since this started. We have fought hard to make it clear that we won’t stand idley by while things like this are enacted upon our community. So this latest attempt to draw us into consultation over this project has been a slap in the face.
Some may believe we can achieve more by coming to the table, but I want to tell you why that won’t work. There is no version of the current project that is acceptable. As the project stands, any input from Autistic people would be tokenistic. It would still have the same goals, it would still produce the same data with the same ethical issues. In order for this project to be acceptable, it would no longer be the same project. It would require new goals, new data collection, and new ethics approval. They would likely lose their funding as well as the people who provided it had very specific goals in mind.
For our input to mean anything, this entire project would need to be abandoned, and a new one co-produced with the Autistic community.
Unfortunately, this will not happen. The people involved in this project do not care for what research we actually need. Their values do not align with our community. If we came to the table, they would write down our views, and bin them once we left. Involvement with this project will bring nothing good, but it will empower them. If we come to the table, we legitimise their ambitions. We can not allow that to happen.
In the summer of 2021, it was announced that a new study would be seeking the DNA of 10,000 Autistic people and their families. They wanted to do this to look at co-occurring conditions amongst Autistic people and improve our wellbeing.
Upon further scrutiny, it became clear that there were no guarantees on how data would be used beyond the scope of the project. While project leads were quick to deny any eugenics oriented goals, they were going to sell the data on, and even stated that they “couldn’t guarantee” that buyers wouldn’t use the data for eugenics.
The researchers tried to distance themselves from eugenics claims, especially as one of the project leads had ties to an overtly eugenics oriented organisation.
They hired Autistic celebrities as representatives of the project. This was a blatant attempt to manipulate people. One of those celebrities went on to out themselves as a bigot, and all round awful person. Unsurprisingly, those celebrities are quiet these days.
Given the lack of guarantees on how data would be used, not to mention a number of other ethical issues that myself and the rest of the Boycott Spectrum 10K team observed. We started the #BoycottSpectrum10k campaign.
One of the main things to come out of that campaign was our collective joint statement. The statement featured input from Autistic thought leaders, academics, and activists detailing every issue with the project.
This statement was given to the Health Research Authority.
It turned out, we were not the only ones who had contacted them about this. They took our statement and gave a promise to investigate our concerns.
We waited some more…
While we were waiting, Spectrum 10k was placed on pause, pending wider consultation with the Autistic community.
After what felt like an eternity of waiting, the HRA got back to us, claiming that they felt the promise of consulting the Autistic community vefore continuing with the project was sufficient.
For some time, there was little more than murmurings.
Then, recently, as 2022 was ending, and 2023 was starting; an Autistic academic made a post in a Facebook group asking Autistic people to come forward and be consulted.
Again, the use of an Autistic person was tokenistic, and for no other reason than to disarm our community.
And so, the Boycott team resurfaced.
Finally, approximately a week ago. Leaked screenshots of a communication came to our attention.
It was asking people to take part in a focus group about a project to use amniocentesis to investigate hormone levels and how that related to the development of Autistic babies.
So, as of now, it is undeniable that the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge, UK, has eugenics oriented objectives.
I hope that this gives you some idea of where we have been and where we are now. Honestly, many of us on the BS10k team have sacrificed a great deal of our wellbeing trying to put a stop to this.
The truth is, we probably won’t stop it, but we can make it so that others will think twice before trying anything similar.
CW: Termination of pregnancies, amniocentesis, pre-natal testing, eugenics
Edit: This is just a focus group at this point, but it is terrifying none-the-less.
Spectrum 10k is being run by a team from the Autism Research Centre (ARC) attached to the University of Cambridge. The scandalous research project has been a source of contention for a couple of years now, with researchers showing their flagrant disregard for the wishes and wellbeing of Autistic people in overt ways. Despite their claims that this project has no ties to eugenics, a leaked communication from ARC has now confirmed their intentions.
Find images below
The above images detail a project that will use amniocentesis to investigate hormone levels during pregnancy and how that relates to the development of autism in infants. This is troubling for a number of reasons.
You have probably heard of amniocentesis if you have had a child. It’s a test that involves taking a sample of amniotic fluid from the womb. Typically, this is used to test for Down Syndrome. If a pregnancy is found to test positive, the mother is offered the opportunity to terminate the pregnancy. Regardless of the complex reasons why someone might choose this, it is still eugenics.
Amniocentesis represents a huge ethical issue in medicine. Not only does it put the viability of a pregnancy at risk, it also provides parents with the opportunity to abort disabled children. It raises questions about quality of life, and right to life. Many people have this test, it is an everyday occurrence. Unfortunately, most people are not active in disability communities and can not conceive of why such practices are harmful and upsetting to our community.
In fact, doctors and midwives can be very pushy about amniocentesis. I have heard stories of mothers being tricked into consenting to the test. It highlights an issue where disabled people are viewed as less-than human and as a drain on resources and parental wellbeing. We ate told it is a kindness to prevent the birth of disabled people because we have been conditioned into believing that disability is a tragedy.
So why is it significant that the ARC is running this study?
It has one logical conclusion. The development of a pre-natal test for autism, that will allow for the termination of Autistic pregnancies. When you consider this alongside the Spectrum 10k project, it really shows just how desperate this research centre are to end the existence of Autistic people.
This sort of research comes from the twisted “ethics” of people who are so unaware of their own privilege that they are unable to conceive of Autistic people’s humanity. These people do not care for Autistic people. They only care about eradicating us. Neuronormativity in society has reached a terminal point, where we are willing to end the lives of people who are unlikely to conform to cultural norms.
If you threaten the status quo, they threaten your right to life.
Simon Baron-Cohen and his team are eugenicists. There isn’t any question about it. The research that has come from them over the years has been harmful (to say the least), but now the future of the Autistic community is in jeopardy. All Autistic people have a right to life, no matter how inconvenient it is for others.
I ask any of you who are approached to join this project to refuse. Tell them why they are harmful. Tell them why we will not stand for this flagrant disregard for the sanctity of Autistic lives.
We owe it to the Autistic people yet to come to make this kind of research unviable. It needs to have career ending ramifications for anyone who tries to end us.
Spectrum 10k has been part of a world for over a year at this point, and it’s existence has taught us a great deal about our place in wider society; something we may forget if we do not step outside of Autistic circles all that often.
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists runs a blog which houses something known as the dooms day clock. This metaphorical clock counts down to midnight, with midnight being the point in time when society comes to an end. It has been edging closer and closer to that point over the last few year. At the time of writing, the clock is set at 100 seconds to midnight.
The Autistic community, similarly, is facing it’s own collapse, and yet we are not as worried as we should be. For me, Spectrum 10k represents the beginning of the end. This is a study that could be a turning point in both the push to remove Autistic people from the human gene pool, or it could be the moment when people realise that we have a right to exist, and we will fight for that.
Currently, all that stands between us and the turning of the tide is 10,000 samples of DNA. Those 10,000 samples have the power to undermine our existence in a way that we are not yet fully comprehending. I doubt if even the scientists conducting the study are aware of the ramifications of their work; if they were, they might well pick a narrative and stick to it.
Autistic people have struggled to exist in perpetuity. Not because we are Autistic, but because the society we live in is supported by a structure built from oppresive normativity, colonialism, and bigotry. We have to tear down these structures, not just at the surface where projects such as S10k exist, but also at the root, where the coneptualisation of our personhood is misshapen and grotesque. Autistic people are not some sideshow exhibit, we do not exist to shock and astound you. There is beauty in our existence.
So, again we take up our arms, and prepare to fight the rising waters of normativity manifest in eugenics. Again we fight for our right to exist. Again we fight to have a peaceful and fulfilled life.
Those malefactors for whom the eradication of difference is a priority, will come to regret the side of history that they have chosen. We have drawn our line in the sand, we have declared our right to this space. Now we must defend it.
It is perhaps fitting that Spectrum 10k has reappeared during the dark months of the year. Much like the cryptids of antiquity, it inspires fear in our community, and obscures itself from the sight of all who attempt to quantify it’s nature.
There are no “versions” of the truth. Truth is a singular point, constructed from a collective of subjective experiences. So when the collective experience of the Autistic community tells you that S10k is the wolf among the lambs, we beg you to take heed.
There are three points I want you to consider before handing your DNA over to these malefactors:
1. There is no acceptable version of this study in it’s current form.
Regardless of how they dress it up, no matter how much they polish this particular turd, this is still the starting point of a eugenics program. They want to find the genetic root of autism, and by doing so, open the door to pre-natal testing. If you don’t realise what this means, please Google the amniocentesis test for down-syndrome, and how it has decimated the right of this minority to exist.
2. They are exploiting Autistic people to conduct the newly required “consultations”.
The people conducting these consultations want Autistic people to rehash our concerns for them, concerns that were so important to them that they didn’t take the time to listen the first time. Not only do they want us to repeat ourselves, I very much doubt this traumatic experience will come with any recompense. They also want us to do this without shouting them down. Perhaps, if they don’t want to be shouted down by Autistics, they should stop running projects that could lead to our eradication.
3. They are using token Autistics to manipulate us into engaging.
The fact that they are employing Autistic people to lead consultations is not an accident. It is a direct attempt to tug on our heart strings, and present an air of acceptability to the project. It is my belief that they hope we will believe that they’ve changed, and that it’s different this time, and that we will be more willing to engage with them.
The truth is that they are still using the same misdirection and subterfuge that they always have. Just because the nice man offers you candy, doesn’t mean you should get into the windowless van.
We as a community need to boycott not just this project, but all projects by those involved in the future. If we can show people that their careers are in jeopardy, they will be less likely to make this attempt in the future.
You may feel my words are hyperbolic in nature, but the Autistic community is my chosen family, and when someone threatens my family, I will use my words as weapons. Autistic people have a right to exist, and this flagrant example of ableism and disdain for our existence will become a significant part of our history.
It’s up to you to decide which side of that history you want to be on.
Today I decided to learn about monocultures. A monoculture is an environment in which a single crop is cultivated. The problem with monocultures is that a small change can destabilise the entire thing.
This got me thinking about something I call neurocultures. A neuroculture can be considered the culture created by a collection of neurocognitive identities in a shared environment. Current neurocultures tend to lean towards neuronormative standards, and this is what I want to discuss.
Neurodiversity is not just a biological fact, it is a necessity. From an evolutionary perspective, the presence of multiple neurocognitive styles in a given culture increases the likelihood of problem solving and the survival of the species. Unfortunately, over the years, we find ourselves in a neurotypical dominated culture, with other neurocognitive identities being actively oppressed.
Imagine a plane. You can take a screw out, and it will still fly, you can probably take several screws out. However, eventually you will have taken too many screws out, and the plane will crash. This is what is happening to society.
The current neuroculture is becoming homogenous, with attempts at eugenics being normalised thanks to the presence of systemic ableism. Screws are being removed from the plane, and we are heading for catastrophe.
This is why rights movements like the neurodiversity movement are vital. We need to perpetuate the neurodiversity paradigm. We need to stop the medicalisation and pathology model of neurodiversity. Such models justify the extinguishing of neurocognitive styles that do not conform to the homogeneity of the current society that we live in.
Much like a monoculture, we can’t predict the small changes that can cause disaster in a homogenous neuroculture. We need diversity to survive. It doesn’t matter whether you are autistic or neurotypical, if your culture only includes your neurocognitive style, you are at risk of collapse.
This is why it is vital for all neurominorities to share their culture with each other. We must create a neuroculture as diverse as nature intended. Humans evolved to be symbiotic with each other.
Functioning labels have long been hated in the Autistic community. Not only are they wildly inaccurate, but they do not take the dynamic nature of our disability into account. Despite this, many professionals and laypeople continue to use them, or variations on them.
Arguments about the inaccuracy of functioning labels and the assumptions they create are important, but extremely reductive. There is a darker side to the purpose that they serve, and this needs to be discussed.
We live in a world that operates on what can be considered a neuronormative premise. This arises from the privilege awarded to neurotypical neurocognition, and the acceptance of the idea that neurotypicality is the one correct way to exist.
The question is, why is this considered the “correct” way to exist?
Society has been designed to fit the majority, with minority neurocognitive identities being marginalised and oppressed. This oppression has lead to the disability of neurocognitive styles that do not fit into neuronormative standards. We are not awarded the same access to our environment as neurotypical minds.
This lack of access has lead to Autistic people having a lower economic value, and a greater perceived cost to society. When you deny people access to work, they can’t produce profit or pay taxes, but you still have to keep those pesky human rights.
Thus we have the origins of functioning labels.
Whether people care to admit it or not, they measure the economic value of the Autistic person. People deemed “high functioning” are expected to produce more profit, and are denied access to supports that would support their wellbeing, while those deemed “low functioning” are expected to produce little or no profit, while costing the system money.
This in turn is used to dehumanise Autistic people, with the end result being violent ableism and eugenics.
This is also the function that subgroups would play in the landscape of “autism diagnosis”. When certain researchers call for Autistic to be broken down into “types”, what they are actually looking for is a way to invalidate the Autistics standing against their ableism; it then also opens the door to justify the eradication of certain subgroups of Autistic people deemed financial burdens on the system.
It is essentially a divide and conquer tactic, and most certainly another tool of oppression. It allows non-autstic researchers and policy makers to remove undesirable neurocognitive styles from from the gene pool.
When you use functioning labels, this is what you are upholding. This is the harm that you are contributing to. However it is difficult to spot because the harm is buried under centuries of neuronormative thinking and misinformation.
In order for Autistic people to be treated equally, and for eugenics to fail, we must stand against the use of functioning labels and subgroups imposed upon Autistic people by those with no knowledge of the Autistic experience. When we know better, we can do better. #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
Edit to add disclaimer: Despite Simon Baron-Cohen telling us that there will be a police presence, A member of the protest team has since spoken to Cambridge Police and confirmed that no police presence is booked for the protest, although they may now send one or two officers to make sure everything is alright. In our opinion, Baron-Cohen told this lie in a direct attempt to try and stop the protest from happening. Please do still read the article as we believe this lie makes the content even more important.
This article was co-written by members of the Boycott Spectrum 10k team; David Gray-Hammond, Tanya Adkin and Bobbi Elman
Trigger warning: This article contains discussion of violence by law enforcement professionals, and discussion of systemic trauma caused by the criminal justice system.
Anyone who has followed the Boycott Spectrum 10k campaign will be aware that we are holding a peaceful protest outside the Autism Research Centre on the 29th October 2021, in Cambridge. This is the workplace of Simon Baron-Cohen, and the main research centre where the Spectrum 10k study will be housed. For more information on why we are protesting, please see our collective joint statement here, and another article discussing the study here.
Since it has now been confirmed by Simon Baron-Cohen that they have opted for a police presence on the day of the protest, we felt it necessary to have a discussion about why this is problematic, and the recent stories of police brutality against Autistic people. This is not to say that people will be at risk at the protest, this is a peaceful protest, and the whole event will be livestreamed, but police brutality is a very real issue that we feel someone like Simon Baron-Cohen should be, and probably is, aware of.
In fact, he said it himself.
We all know the stories from America. Police brutality is well documented in the States.
Unfortunately, due to the extreme nature of the violence and discrimination against minority groups in the US, and the voyeuristic nature of the UK media, what is happening on our own soil often goes unreported. One might understand this, when you consider that police in the US are literally killing innocent minorities. However, police brutality still exists in the UK, and Autistic and otherwise disabled people have often been on the receiving end.
“At least we’re not being shot”
This is a response often heard from people speaking from a place of privilege. It is also a response from those of us who have been so gaslit and bullied that we are willing to accept a certain level of mistreatment as normal, and be grateful for it. For example, Autistic children in mainstream schools are always “coping”. It’s considered acceptable to be treading water, despite the fact that one day we will run out of stamina and begin to drown.
In fact, our children are often victims of police brutality, in the very schools that claim to keep them safe.
Said police officer threatened to kick the boy, and dragged him along the ground, before turning to another child and saying “you’re next”. This didn’t happen in the US, this happened in Merseyside, UK. And the courts? After convicting the police officer of assault, merely fined him.
“The IOPC said PC Kemp attempted to handcuff the teenager, but when this was unsuccessful, he used CS spray less than a metre from her face. “Within seconds he started using his baton and then struck her several times,” it said.”
The stories above are just three very recent examples of police brutality against DISABLED CHILDREN. These are the ones that are privleged enough to have formal recognition of their neurodivergence. These are the ones who were lucky enough not to be institutionalised. What about the people labelled as “naughty”, “aggressive”, “feral”, “defiant”. What about those mislabelled mentally ill? If we are left unrecognised (read more here) and with these labels for long enough, we can develop mental health conditions. It’s inevitable, you can read more about this here.
What about those at the intersection of multiple marginalisation?
It’s well known that Autistic people are more likely to be gender non-conforming, there is a significant overlap between the Autistic community and the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s also known that very few of us fit the white, male, cis, heterosexual, middle class stereotype that the DSM-V criteria are based on, and what has been perceived as accepted for decades. In fact there are three of us writing this article right now and we can’t think of one Autistic person between us that fits this stereotype. Contrary to popular belief we have very wide reach and pretty busy Autistic social lives.
There are multiply disabled Autistics, non-speaking Autistics, Autistic people practicing a wide range of religions, or no religion at all. Like every human, we are everywhere, just like everyone else, we just have a different neurology to those with the dominant neurotype.
When we consider the different intersections in the Autistic community, there is one very significant intersection that we need to talk about with regard to police brutality. We need to consider how this impacts Autistic people of colour. It is widely publicised, the insidious prejudice ingrained into the world institutions and society itself.
Existing on this intersection places Autistic people of colour firmly near the top of the list when it comes to risk of police brutality.
“The police need to know that a Black person stopped by them for whatever reason, already has it in their head that they may not make it out from this stop alive. So nervousness, lack of eye contact, not reading body language and facial expression and all the other signs of what could be a condition like autism, could simply be a neurotypical person’s terror that they may never see their family again. Now imagine that same scenario in the head of someone who already has communication difficulties? Devastating.”
Of course, police brutality doesn’t always look like physical violence. Sometimes it is the systemic violence that unfairly incarcerates Black Autistic individuals. This was made obvious by the case of Osime Brown, A Black Autistic teenager, unfairly convicted and jailed, for a crime he didn’t commit, under the discriminatory joint enterprise law. Not only was he imprisoned, he was scheduled for deportation. It took a great deal of campaigning and protesting to have Osime freed and his deportation cancelled.
“Black people statistically struggle to gain access to assessments let alone diagnosis. Instead of getting the academic and social support he needed then, Osime, like many of us, was wrongly seen by his teachers as troublesome, stubborn and stand offish. Covering his ears due to sensory overwhelm was seen as rudeness. Meltdowns due to sheer frustration at not being able to communicate his needs was seen as bad behaviour…
…As a society we need to unlearn our biases, and develop better ways to support Black and neurodivergent people.”
Finally, let us consider the research surrounding Autistic people and their experiences with the police.
Research tells us that natural Autistic expressions of self increase the likelihood of a person encountering the criminal justice system at some point in their life (Tint et al; 2017).
Research also tells us that Simon Baron-Cohen has been espousing harmful views regarding Autistic people and criminality since at least the 1980’s, claiming that Autism is a risk factor for violent crime and terrorism (Baron-Cohen, S; 1988). perhaps now it is easy to see why he feels it necessary to intimidate us with systemic aggression. This is a man who has believed that our existence is dangerous for decades.
Simon Baron-Cohen knows exactly what he is doing by inviting the police to a peaceful protest, led by Autistic people (whom he professes to serve the interests of?) trying to defend their right to exist. He is hellbent on perpetuating the myth that we are violent, dysfunctional criminals. This is dehumanising. Autistic people are most likely to be victims (for a wider discussion of this, see Aucademy’s video here), not perpetrators.
Not only is this evidence of Baron-Cohens disdain for Autistic people, but also a prime example of his privilege. He’s so far removed from the daily lived experience of his “research subjects” that he genuinely thinks this is an appropriate response, does he read any research beyond his own self-serving and incredibly biased theories, that Autistic people disprove by merely existing?
This is all-the-more reason to attend this protest, we need to show in voice and number that we will not stand for the discrimination and prejudice that so called “autism researchers” continue to pour upon us, infecting every aspect of our daily lives.
Simon, just because you keep repeating something doesn’t make it true.
Boycott Spectrum 10k Team
For more information on the protest, please see the event listing on Facebook here.
Tanya Adkin (she/her)
As a late identified Autistic/ADHD adult, a parent to two children with multiple neurodivergence, and a professional working within the voluntary sector from a young age, I have unique insight from all perspectives
I have worked within the voluntary sector, starting within the disabled children’s service, progressing on to mental health, healthcare funding, youth services, domestic abuse, and much more.
For the last six years, I have developed a specific interest both personally and professionally in special educational needs and disabilities, particularly around neurodivergence and the challenges faced by families when trying to access support.
I am dedicating to educating in neurodivergent experience in order to help families thrive by providing insight, reframing, and perspective in an accessible and personable way
My work includes specialist consultation and direct work with Autistic CYP and their families that others describe as “complex” and “difficult to engage”, ranging from those experiencing psychosis, addiction to high risk Children Vulnerable to Exploitation, County lines and Sexual exploitation.
I work as a specialist alongside social workers ranging from assessing capacity, neurodivergent parenting, disabled children and child protection.
Bobbi Elman (she/her)
Bobbi is an Autistic mother of two Neurodivergent young adults. Bobbi and her children all have hypermobile EDS with many of the conditions that accompany it, like PoTS. High anxiety (exposure anxiety). Bobbi is a University of Birmingham graduate with a degree in SEN children Autism and has worked specifically with Autistic children/young people for over 19 years and believe in low arousal, child/person-centred approach. Bobbi has over eight years of experience working as a high-level specialised Autism one-to-one TA and experience working on a LA Autism Advisory team, which included key work.
Bobbi does not support ABA/PBS. (Applied Behaviour Analysis and Positive Behaviour Support).Bobbi continues to deliver training to staff and school, and will happily deliver training toanyone who works with or has contact with an Autistic child or adult on the Autistic experience. Bobbi is available for consultancy, advocacy, and training.
Aucademy (2021) Autistic, gender, & sexuality diversity – growing list of resources. aucademy.co.uk
Aucademy (2021) Autistics respond to media reporting of violence & victimisation by neurodivergent people Aug 2021. Aucademy, youtube.com
Baron-Cohen, S. (1988). An assessment of violence in a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 29(3), 351–360.
Boycott Spectrum 10k Team (2021) Collective joint statement from Autistic people on Spectrum 10k. Emergent Divergence, emergentdivergence.com
Dalmayne, E. (2020) Fighting police abuse and racism. workersliberty.org
Dalmayne, E. (2020) Deporting An Autistic Black Man Exposes This Government’s Hypocrisy On Racism. Huffington Post, huffingtonpost.co.uk
Fallon, C. (2021) Call for police to get mandatory neurodiversity training after officer assaulted young autistic boy in school. Channel 4
Gray-Hammond, D. and Adkin, T. (2021) Creating Autistic suffering: Failures in identification. Emergent Divergence, emergentdivergence.com
Gray-Hammond, D. and Adkin, T. (2021) Creating Autistic suffering: In the beginning there was trauma. Emergent Divergence, emergentdivergence.com
Powell, J. (2021) Mum slams school as autistic son, 12, handcuffed by police on first day of term. The Mirror
The Guardian (2021) Met police officer dismissed for hitting vulnerable girl ‘more than 30 times’ with baton
Tint, A., Palucka, A. M., Bradley, E., Weiss, J. A., & Lunsky, Y. (2017). Correlates of police involvement among adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 47(9), 2639-2647.
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