Darkest Before Dawn: Autism, Ableism, and the Rise of the Neurodiversity Movement18 min read

The strug­gles of var­ious groups to achieve equal rights were a hall­mark of life in the 20th cen­tury. Indeed, from the Winnipeg General Strike[i], through the strug­gles for gender[ii] and LGBT equality[iii], the 1900s marked a cen­tury of change for many souls who– for var­ious rea­sons– existed out­side the traditionally-defined power struc­ture of Western civ­i­liza­tion.

Now, the begin­ning of the 21st cen­tury plays host to another such battle for equal recog­ni­tion: the dis­ability rights struggle in gen­eral and, specif­i­cally, the autistic-led Neurodiversity Movement. These related fronts are often for­gotten due to the ableist priv­i­lege expe­ri­enced by most people in society, but they must not be over­looked.

The Cure and Crisis Narrative

Autism is, after all, widely por­trayed as a health crisis of epi­demic pro­por­tions by the main­stream media and this inter­pre­ta­tion leaves little room for com­peting views.While the inten­tions of most people are good, how­ever, the cure-and-crisis nar­ra­tive serves pri­marily to embolden those who already pos­sess priv­i­lege and, in fact, does more harm than good to autis­tics them­selves.

It’s obvious how this could be the case; any human alive who is made to feel worth­less or broken by insti­tu­tional forces is bound to suffer adverse psy­cho­log­ical effects.Throughout this piece, I will be exploring just how the cure and crisis nar­ra­tive adversely impacts neu­ro­di­ver­gent indi­vid­uals, and how the Neurodiversity Movement has pro­vided such people a voice with which to fight back.

Moreover, it will be made clear exactly how impor­tant the Neurodiversity Movement is for the well-being of autis­tics, those with ADHD, and indeed anyone else who falls out­side of what is con­sid­ered the neu­rode­vel­op­mental “norm.”

Key Concepts for Understanding Social Justice Movements


As with any other social jus­tice topic, it is essen­tial to first under­stand some key con­cepts in order to truly be able to engage with the mate­rial– chief among these being priv­i­lege. As defined by Merriam-Webster, priv­i­lege is “a right or immu­nity granted as a pecu­liar ben­efit, advan­tage, or favor.”[iv]

This is, how­ever, a rather lim­ited def­i­n­i­tion in des­perate need of elab­o­ra­tion. In Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America, author Stephanie Wildman illus­trates the con­cept of priv­i­lege far more effec­tively, explaining how it con­sists of sev­eral related ele­ments.

“First,” she argues, “the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the priv­i­leged group define the social norm, often ben­e­fiting those in the priv­i­leged group. Second, priv­i­leged group mem­bers can rely on their priv­i­lege and avoid objecting to oppres­sion.”[v]  

When one con­siders the state of mental health in our society, the merit of this def­i­n­i­tion becomes readily apparent. Indeed, the reason most people are not aware of the chal­lenges facing those who are dis­abled– or assume dis­ability auto­mat­i­cally equates with tragedy– is that such chal­lenges are not part of the lived expe­ri­ence of a vast majority of people for whom accli­ma­tion to the world did not carry with it any serious dif­fi­cul­ties.

Such people can avoid inter­acting with the dis­course sur­rounding dis­ability and also pos­sess lim­ited, stereo­typ­ical ideas of dis­ability because in a very real way it does not exist in their world. In this way, the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the non-disabled masses have come to define what is con­sid­ered normal by society and allows them to avoid having the con­ver­sa­tion nec­es­sary to improve things, leaving those with autism at a dis­ad­van­tage as theirs is a con­di­tion that is not imme­di­ately vis­ible.

Privilege becomes more ingrained and nor­malcy more assumed when faced with those who at first glance appear to look, behave, and think just like everyone else.

Author Christine Overall elab­o­rates on the con­cept of dis­ability iden­tity in her article, “Old Age and Ageism, Impairment, and Ableism: Exploring the Conceptual and Material Connections.” In it, she illus­trates how while most social the­o­rists are more-than-willing to acknowl­edge that iden­tity is socially con­structed to a point (in the words of Simone de Beauvoir, one is not born, let alone con­ceived, a woman, an Aboriginal, a dis­abled person, or an elderly person but rather becomes those things), the line such aca­d­e­mics draw in the sand is typ­i­cally with regards to per­ceived core bio­log­ical real­i­ties such as aging and dis­ability. People may adopt a dis­ability iden­tity, but it is as the result of a bio­log­ical truth, according to most soci­ol­o­gists. Overall, how­ever, rejects this notion, arguing instead that such a per­cep­tion serves to excuse and per­pet­uate oppres­sion against dis­abled and elderly indi­vid­uals.[vi]

This makes per­fect sense – after all, if society had been left to its under­standing that the female sex pre­sented an inherent bio­log­ical dis­ad­van­tage, women would never have pro­gressed as far as they have (though more progress is, of course, still needed). Feminism rose to chal­lenge this per­cep­tion, and while bio­log­ical dif­fer­ences will always be under­stood, they are grad­u­ally falling away as bar­riers to suc­cess. Overall presents ageism and ableism as being com­pa­rable con­structs. Recognition of the socially-constructed nature of both iden­tity and dis­ability is there­fore essen­tial, as without this aspect, phys­ical and mental health con­di­tions are merely part of the life cir­cum­stances of many. Social per­cep­tion gives them worth in the best cases and takes it away in the worst. This is espe­cially true in the case of mental health con­di­tions, as they are often con­structed based on obser­va­tion of behav­iours in patients that fall out­side the arbitrarily-decided social norm. Normal is, after all, sub­jec­tive. In the words of the immortal Morticia Adams, “What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.”[vii] This leads per­fectly into the next term in need of def­i­n­i­tion.


Neurodiversity, according to promi­nent autistic advo­cate John Elder Robinson, is the idea that con­di­tions such as autism and ADHD are the result of nat­ural brain vari­a­tion rather than flaws to be cor­rected.[viii] When com­bined, it becomes evi­dent how priv­i­lege and neu­ro­di­ver­sity relate to each other in the con­text of dis­ability rights, espe­cially due to the preva­lence of the cure-based nar­ra­tive in pop cul­ture and most aca­d­emic lit­er­a­ture.

The main­stream pop­u­la­tion, of course, is priv­i­leged in that their expe­ri­ences of the world are shared by a majority of humans. Those with mental health con­di­tions, on the other hand, are rou­tinely expected by society to con­form to the diag­noses they have been given, along with all of the social per­cep­tions that go with them.

In his article “Cultural Conceptions, Mental Disorders, and Social Roles: A Comparison of Germany and America,” author J. Marshall Townsend refers to this effect as a self-fulfilling prophecy; diag­nosing an indi­vidual with autism, for example, will result both in the public per­ceiving him/her in a spe­cific way, as well as in the indi­vidual them­selves rising to meet the expec­ta­tions placed upon them.[ix]

This pre­con­ceived bias deprives dis­abled people and others of their agency. As anyone familiar with fem­i­nism will know, such strictly-defined social roles and expec­ta­tions are among the many ways that priv­i­lege is rein­forced in society; and as has been pre­vi­ously estab­lished, things are no dif­ferent in the con­text of mental health.

In this way, dis­abled indi­vid­uals are not unlike others living out­side the bounds of what is socially accepted, such as LGBTQ, people of colour and women since each group has at one time or another been the victim of power pol­i­tics designed to give other groups priv­i­lege at their expense.

The History of Neurodiversity

To say that the his­tory of those with neu­rode­vel­op­mental con­di­tions has been a dark one would be putting it mildly. During the 1930s and 40s in Nazi Germany, for example, the gov­ern­ment launched what was called the T4 ini­tia­tive; a focused effort to use eugenics and selec­tive breeding to elim­i­nate cer­tain traits deemed ‘unde­sir­able’ from the human gene pool.

In prac­tice, how­ever, the T4 pro­gram rou­tinely per­formed euthanasia against chil­dren and adults deemed ‘feeble-minded,’ ‘men­tally retarded,’ and of course those on the autism spec­trum. The Nazis hoped to use the Aktion T‑4 project (as it was offi­cially known), to elim­i­nate anyone with incur­able chronic ill­nesses, and it was the asser­tion of author Steve Silberman that this pro­gram served as a tem­plate with which Hitler honed his final goal.

The Nazi party even devel­oped a san­i­tized, clin­ical lan­guage for refer­ring to the atroc­i­ties com­mitted against dis­abled people, with the fatal act itself known as ‘final med­ical assis­tance.’[x] Conditions had not improved when Leo Kanner first pub­lished on the sub­ject of the ‘unique’ dis­order he referred to as autism.

Kanner described autism as being caused by cold, cruel par­enting and found it almost incon­ceiv­able that those patients he saw whom he deemed to be autistic were as inter­ested in their fix­a­tions as they seemed.[xi] As a result of this, early autistic treat­ments advo­cated for years of psy­cho­analysis and intern­ment at a psy­chi­atric insti­tu­tion for life[xii]; truly a tragic fate for those nat­u­rally born dif­fer­ently. 

The rise of par­ents’ groups and their hopes for a cure– while under­stand­able and all-too-human– also did more harm than good for autis­tics. The cause of this lay with a behav­iourist by the name of Olé Ivar Lovaas. Lovaas studied con­di­tioning and applied it to the treat­ment of autistic indi­vid­uals, a process he referred to as Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).[xiii]

On the sur­face, this inter­ven­tion sounded promising, and it cer­tainly encour­aged parental groups at the time who found them­selves clam­oring for ways to apply Lovaas’ method to their chil­dren. The prac­tice becomes morally objec­tion­able, how­ever, when one con­siders the doctor’s own phi­los­ophy regarding people with autism. The fol­lowing is what he had to say in a 1974 Psychology Today inter­view:

You see, you start pretty much from scratch when you work with an autistic child. You have a person in the phys­ical sense– they have hair, a nose, a mouth– but they are not people in the psy­cho­log­ical sense. One way to look at the job of helping autistic kids is to see it as a matter of con­structing a person. You have the raw mate­rials, but you have to build the person.[xiv]

Lovaas’ descrip­tion of autis­tics is only the first indi­cator of the dark path his research took. In the same inter­view, the doctor also described using elec­troshock and full body restraints on chil­dren he was treating if they con­tinued to man­i­fest autistic behav­iour. Beyond that, he was quite proud of him­self and fur­ther jus­ti­fied the pain he caused his sub­jects in the name of giving par­ents a col­lab­o­ra­tive hope for their children’s futures.[xv]

If Lovaas’ views sound at all rep­re­hen­sible in light of the cur­rent focus on under­standing and com­pas­sion, then it has already become apparent to modern readers how harmful treat­ments for autis­tics have his­tor­i­cally been. According to philoso­pher Michel Foucault, how­ever, indi­vid­uals do not create power dynamics through their agency alone; indeed such intri­cate pat­terns of insti­tu­tion­al­ized power typ­i­cally emerge from the inter­play between var­ious social groups and forces.[xvi]

Such nuanced power inequities also empow­ered Lovaas’ ABA treat­ment and the par­ents’ groups who embraced it. After all, ever since Leo Kanner first co-discovered Autism with Hans Asperger, it has widely been seen as a ter­rible dis­ease that has mys­ti­fied researchers.[xvii] Given this neg­a­tive rep­u­ta­tion, it is not hard to believe that par­ents of autistic indi­vid­uals were willing to give even a man as eccen­tric as Lovaas a chance to help their chil­dren.

Thus, ABA and Lovaas became insti­tu­tion­al­ized pil­lars of the fight against autism that endures to this day. The problem, how­ever, is that Lovaas’ method under­mined the agency of autistic indi­vid­uals on a fun­da­mental level, since he con­sid­ered them less-than-human in a psy­cho­log­ical sense. In order to commit egre­gious acts against other people, dehu­man­izing said people in some respect has always made abuse easier to jus­tify, and this was exactly the posi­tion that autistic indi­vid­uals found them­selves in during the late part of the 20th cen­tury.

Autism is, of course, a spec­trum, with many man­i­fes­ta­tions of the same or sim­ilar con­di­tions. Communications and social deficits typ­i­cally char­ac­terize it, but how these appear varies based on the indi­vidual.[xviii] Therefore, no two cases are alike and it is ridicu­lous to assume, as Lovaas sug­gested, that autis­tics are incom­plete humans. The variety present on the Autism spec­trum intro­duces another problem for those autis­tics who can pass as ‘normal’ and get by in main­stream society.

Indeed, many people are impacted by con­di­tions such as autism and ADHD but are not vis­ibly dif­ferent from the majority. According to the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion of roughly 7 bil­lion humans has been diag­nosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or its var­ious sub­types (Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, etc.), which trans­lates into 1 in 68 American births.[xix]

In addi­tion to the number of kids on the Autism Spectrum shown above, 11% of chil­dren aged 4–17 also pos­sessed a diag­nosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as of 2011.[xx] Most of those who form part of either of these groups (Autistics and those with ADHD) can sur­vive in the everyday world with varying degrees of effi­cacy, and so are not typ­i­cally thought of as ‘dis­abled’ for the pur­poses of addi­tional assis­tance and accom­mo­da­tions.

This ability to “pass” results in them expe­ri­encing a dif­ferent form of harm — that of not being taken seri­ously by main­stream society as such indi­vid­uals appear to be ‘normal.’ If people in this group do wish to receive assis­tance, they must ‘out’ them­selves and self-advocate; a process which often results in insti­tu­tion­al­ized dis­crim­i­na­tion being directed at them in the guise of “pro­viding help for those in need.”

In extreme cases, this has even led to lim­i­ta­tion of job prospects and loss of employ­ment for the indi­vid­uals in ques­tion.[xxi] Caught between a rock and a hard place, many such people most likely suffer in silence, unwilling to pay the high social cost required to both over­come their chal­lenges and embrace their unique gifts.

It is into this com­pli­cated mael­strom of com­peting inter­ests and focuses that Neurodiversity was born, and it is arguably one of the greatest moments for dis­abled people in modern his­tory. Neurodiverity orig­i­nated in 1999 with author Judy Singer.

For me, the key sig­nif­i­cance of the ‘Autistic Spectrum’ lies in its call for and antic­i­pa­tion of a pol­i­tics of neu­ro­log­ical diver­sity, or what I want to call ‘Neurodiversity.’ The Neurologically Different rep­re­sent a new addi­tion to the familiar polit­ical cat­e­gories of class/gender/race and will aug­ment the insights of the social model of dis­ability.”[xxii]-Judy Singer

What Singer could not have known in those early days, how­ever, was how wide­spread and pow­erful the idea of Neurodiversity would become. Since her first humble asser­tion of the con­cept, autis­tics and those with ADHD, among many others, have orga­nized with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the internet into coherent com­mu­ni­ties with stated goals and internal sub­cul­tures. 

The largest such group – the Autistic Self Advocacy Network – in fact pio­neered the mes­sage of self-representation through their motto “nothing about us, without us.” They rose as a direct response to both his­toric abuses against autistic indi­vid­uals and the empow­ering con­cept of Neurodiversity.[xxiii]Likewise, the online forum Wrong Planet has long served as a dig­ital safe space for those with Autism, Aspergers, ADHD and var­ious other con­di­tions, allowing them to find com­fort, com­pan­ion­ship, and friends with sim­ilar life expe­ri­ences.[xxiv] 

Pushback Against Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity as a con­cept has gal­va­nized and inspired neu­ro­di­ver­gent indi­vid­uals world­wide to take back their exis­tences from the parent’s groups and clin­ical researchers who have long sought to label, down­play, and oth­er­wise limit their poten­tials. Whereas orga­ni­za­tions such as Autism Speaks have his­tor­i­cally poured most of their oper­ating bud­gets into cure-based autism research[xxv], autis­tics them­selves had begun demanding recog­ni­tion of their fun­da­mental rights.

The stage had thus been set for a struggle between these two sides; one who advo­cated curing and erad­i­ca­tion of those not deemed normal, and the other who pro­moted accep­tance of the broad range of human expe­ri­ence.

This clash did emerge in December 2007, and it would mark a his­toric turning point for the rela­tion­ship between neu­ro­di­ver­gent indi­vid­uals and the public per­cep­tions stacked against them. During the hol­iday season that year, ads were placed by the New York University Child Study Center around the city designed to pro­mote dis­cus­sion of child­hood mental ill­ness.

The ads tar­geted Autism, Asperger’s, OCD, ADHD, and many other con­di­tions, and undoubt­edly stemmed from a place of gen­uine con­cern; the problem, how­ever, was with how they were worded. “We have your son,” they began. “We will make sure he will no longer be able to care for him­self or interact socially as long as he lives. This is only the begin­ning. — Autism.”[xxvi]

The other diag­nostic con­di­tions’ ads were all worded slightly dif­fer­ently to reflect the fac­tors affecting those with each, but the mes­sage was clear; having any one of these con­di­tions made someone broken, and there­fore in need of fixing.

Naturally, dis­ability advo­cacy groups like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network were not thrilled. According to Steve Silberman, “Autistics were chal­lenging a con­ver­sa­tion about autism in main­stream media without the help of a parent-run orga­ni­za­tion that claimed to speak for them.”[xxvii]

This public self-advocacy was rev­o­lu­tionary, since it was coming from a group per­ceived for so long to be unable to care and advo­cate for itself. According to Ari Né’eman, co-founder of ASAN, “These ads reflect some very old and dam­aging stereo­types about people with dis­abil­i­ties by sug­gesting that we are not entirely present and not fully within our own bodies.”[xxviii]

Indeed, he wasn’t wrong to make such an asser­tion, as these ads did in many ways per­pet­uate the stereo­types to which he referred.

Historically, those with dis­abil­i­ties had been por­trayed as dam­aged ‘others’ in the public dis­course, and so while the head of the Child Study Center at NYU did have in mind the hon­ourable inten­tion of com­bat­ting the stigma sur­rounding mental health, the ‘hostage ads,’ accom­plished the oppo­site far more effi­ciently.

In light of this, the ads were even­tu­ally taken down[xxix], resulting in a sig­nif­i­cant vic­tory for advo­cates of neu­ro­di­ver­sity and dis­ability rights.

After exam­ining the brief and albeit-incomplete his­tory of Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, and the Neurodiversity move­ment pre­sented here, it becomes clear that the move­ment towards accep­tance and self-advocacy on the parts of indi­vid­uals with neu­ro­di­ver­gent brains is cru­cial.

Moreso, it is rooted in the deep-seated oppres­sion such people have long expe­ri­enced at the hands of an ableist society. Throughout the his­tory of psy­chi­atry – from the Nazis through to the modern day – those with psy­chi­atric con­di­tions have suf­fered at the hands of policy makers, clin­i­cians, and parent/caregiver groups, each of which has had dis­tinct ideas regarding what is in the best inter­ests of those in their care and at their mercy.

In light of this, the Neurodiversity Movement is essen­tial as it rep­re­sents the dawn of a dis­course sur­rounding mental and behav­ioral health led by those who are affected rather than by those tra­di­tion­ally seen as their cus­to­dians.

Given how little agency such people have his­tor­i­cally had, the Neurodiversity Movement is all the more remark­able as it pro­vides a very needed voice to those who have long been the vic­tims of policy rather than the shapers.

When one con­siders rev­o­lu­tionary his­tory, it is even easier to be dis­mayed by the his­tory of mental health. After all, while “no tax­a­tion without rep­re­sen­ta­tion” is a phrase implic­itly under­stood to mean that the gov­erned should be con­sulted in a polit­ical con­text[xxx], this same cour­tesy has not yet been fully extended to those with mental health con­di­tions such as Autism and ADHD.

Perhaps if it had, his­tory would have been kinder to these indi­vid­uals. As it cur­rently stands, how­ever, the voice pro­vided by the Neurodiversity move­ment is one in des­perate need of being heard.


[i] Canadian Public Health Association, “Fighting the Good Fight: Winnipeg General Strike of 1919,” http://www.cpha.ca/en/programs/history/achievements/10-sw/winnipeg.aspx.

[ii]  The Canadian Encyclopedia, “Women’s Movements in Canada,” http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/womens-movement/.

[iii]  American Psychological Association, “History of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Social Movements,” http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/history.aspx.

[iv]  Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, “Privilege,” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/privilege.

[v]  Stephanie Wildman, Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 24–26.

[vi] Christine Overall, “Old Age and Ageism, Impairment and Ableism: Exploring the Conceptual and Material Connections,” NWSA Journal vol. 18 no. 1 (Spring 2006): 126.

[vii] Goodreads, “Charles Addams — Quotes,” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/707032-normal-is-an-illusion-what-is-normal-for-the-spider.

[viii]  Psychology Today, “What is Neurodiversity?” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/my-life-aspergers/201310/what-is-neurodiversity.

[ix] J. Marshall Townsend, “Cultural Conceptions, Mental Disorders and Social Roles: A Comparison of Germany and America,” American Sociological Review 40, No. 6 (Dec. 1975): 739.

[x]  Steve Silberman, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (New York: Penguin, 2015), 80–81.

[xi]  Silberman, 114.

[xii] Silberman, 121.

[xiii] Silberman, 171.

[xiv] Neurodiversity.com – Library of the History of Autism Research, Behaviourism and Psychiatry, “ ‘After you hit a child, you can’t just get up and leave him; you are hooked to that kid’ O. Ivar Lovaas Interview with Paul Chance,” http://neurodiversity.com/library_chance_1974.html.

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Licia Carleson, “Cognitive Ableism and Disability Studies: Feminist Reflections on the History of Mental Retardation,” Hypatia vol. 16, no. 4 (2001): 125.

[xvii] Sliberman, 98–99.

[xviii] “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” in The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (Washington: American Psychiatric Association, 2013): 50.

[xix] Autism Society, “Facts and Statistics,” last updated August 26 2015, http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/.

[xx] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), “Data and Statistics,” last updated Feb 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html.

[xxi] Kim Hall, “Feminism, Disability, and Empowerment,” NWSA Journal vol. 14 no. 3 (Autumn 2002): xi.

[xxii] Thomas Armstrong, The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain (Philadelphia: Da Capo Press, 2010): 13–14.

[xxiii] Autistic Self Advocacy Network, “About ASAN,” http://autisticadvocacy.org/home/about-asan/.

[xxiv] Wrong Planet, “About Wrong Planet,” http://wrongplanet.net/about-wrong-planet/.

[xxv] Autism Speaks Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2010, Form 990 OMB 1545–0047.

[xxvi] Robin Shulman, “Child Study Center Cancels Autism Ads,” Washington Post, December 20, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902230.html.

[xxvii] Silberman, 275–76.

[xxviii]  Robim Shulman, “Child Study Center Cancels Autism Ads,” Washington Post, December 20, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902230.html.

[xxix]  Ibid.

[xxx]   United States History, “No Taxation Without Representation,” http://www.u‑s-history.com/pages/h640.html.

Works Cited

Primary Sources

American Psychiatric Association. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition. Arlington: American Psychiatric Press, 2013.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network. “About ASAN.” http://autisticadvocacy.org/home/about-asan/.

Autism Speaks Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, 2010, Form 990 OMB 1545–0047.

Autism Society. “Facts and Statistics.” last updated August 26 2015. http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), “Data and Statistics,” last updated Feb 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html.

Goodreads. “Charles Addams – Quotes.” https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/707032-normal-is-an-illusion-what-is-normal-for-the-spider.

Neurodiversity.com – Library of the History of Autism Research, Behaviourism and Psychiatry.

“‘After you hit a child, you can’t just get up and leave him; you are hooked to that kid’ O. Ivar Lovaas Interview with Paul Chance.” http://neurodiversity.com/library_chance_1974.html.

Shulman, Robin. “Child Study Center Cancels Autism Ads.” Washington Post. December 20, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902230.html.

Wrong Planet. “About Wrong Planet.” http://wrongplanet.net/about-wrong-planet/.

Secondary Sources

American Psychological Association. “History of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Social Movements.” http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/history.aspx.

Armstrong, Thomas. The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain. Philedelphia: Da Capo Press, 2010.

Canadian Public Health Association. “Fighting the Good Fight: Winnipeg General Strike of 1919.” http://www.cpha.ca/en/programs/history/achievements/10-sw/winnipeg.aspx.

The Canadian Encyclopedia. “Women’s Movements in Canada.” http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/womens-movement/.

Carleson, Licia. “Cognitive Ableism and Disability Studies: Feminist Reflections on the History of Mental Retardation.” Hypatia vol. 16, no. 4 (2001): 124–146.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. “Privilege.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/privilege.

Overall, Christine. “Old Age and Ageism, Impairment and Ableism: Exploring the Conceptual and Material Connections.” NWSA Journal vol. 18 no. 1 (Spring 2006): 126–137.

Psychology Today. “What is Neurodiversity?” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/my-life-aspergers/201310/what-is-neurodiversity.

Hall, Kim. “Feminism, Disability, and Empowerment.” NWSA Journal vol. 14 no. 3 (Autumn 2002): vii-xiii.

Silberman, Steve. Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity. New York: Penguin, 2015.

Townsend, J. Marshall. “Cultural Conceptions, Mental Disorders and Social Roles: A Comparison of Germany and America.” American Sociological Review 40, No. 6 (Dec 1975): 739–752.

United States History. “No Taxation Without Representation.” http://www.u‑s-history.com/pages/h640.html.

Wildman, Stephanie. Privilege Revealed: How Invisible Preference Undermines America. New York: New York University Press, 1996.

Talk to us... what are you thinking?