I had an amazing conversation with Fergus Murray, a Scottish science educator, writer, autistic advocate and author of the Monotropism.org website.
We talked about the concept of monotropism, which was co-founded by Murray’s late mother, Dr. Dinah Murray, as well as Fergus’s experiences growing up in a neurodivergent household and the joys of Autscape! We also discussed the problems of the Spectrum 10k project and aspie supremacy, the future of neurodiversity and the importance of being weird.
Listen to the podcast by playing the audio file below, or on streaming sites like Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Bio Fergus Murrayis an autistic science teacher, writer and community organiser–a co-founder, and the current chair, of AMASE (Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh). Fergus’s mom, Dinah Murray, was a pioneering autistic researcher and activist as well as co-creator of the theory of Monotropism. Fergus has authored the websitemonotropism.organd is the founder ofweirdpride.day.They also createslow-motion videos of water, andgiant puppets.
I had a fascinating conversation with AutCollab co-founder Jorn Bettin about new approaches to autism; namely, thinking outside the box of the pathologizing approach of the DSM and moving towards a collaborative, de-colonizing, grassroots approach to autistic liberation—one that also helps to heal our broken world. (Just some light, chatty conversation amongst autists!)
Listen to the podcast on the audio link below. Also available on Spotify, Stitcher or iTunes.
Jorn Bettin is an Autistic anthropologist by birth and a knowledge archaeologist by autodidactic training. He has a background in mathematics, and enjoys working closely with domain experts in transdisciplinary contexts. His current work focuses on the co-design of new community-oriented and patient centric models of care. Jorn has co-authored several books on creative collaboration and model driven product line engineering. He is a trustee of the Autistic Collaboration Trust – a global mutual support hub for neurodivergent individuals and ventures. He is also part of the Design Justice Network, regularly working with those who are most adversely affected by design decisions — about healthcare service delivery, new technologies, and the planning of communities.
. Transcribed by Julie Ann Lee: Transcript_Noncompliant_Burrow
. Bio Derek Burrow is an Ottawa-based librarian and freelance writer who is also deeply passionate about tabletop roleplaying games, with 25 years in the hobby. Derek uses augmentative communication, also known as AAC (specificallyProloquo4TextandProloquo2Go) to communicate, and is exploring how augmentative communication can be normalized within society and also incorporated into tabletop gaming. Derek wrote the latest support documentation for Proloquo2Go and Proloquo4Text. He is also involved in Autistics for Autistics, the Canadian autistic self-advocacy organization and as a consultant on accessible materials and services in Ontario.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any tool, system or strategy for communicating rather than verbal speech. AAC can include pictures; gestures; sign language; visual aids; speech-output devices like phones or iPads; and more. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is an essential aspect of life for non-verbal and semi-verbal autistic people and communication access is a right. Unfortunately, many are still denied access to AAC, a topic we discuss in the podcast.
The episode This interview is so informative, broad-reaching and thought-provoking. Derek and I talked about various aspects of AAC and his experiences before and after getting access to AAC, as well as AAC in tabletop roleplaying (RPGs).
We also talked about the social applications of the RPG model. As Derek said: “Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and in any group of people, someone is going to have a skill that no one else possesses. In gaming, we design characters around their strengths and the world is set forth in such a way as to let them succeed through them. That’s a far better model than real life where we are often put in places that attack our weaknesses and are expected to excel.” The best aspects of the RPG community are a model for our broader culture in creatively cultivating co-operation, valuing diversity and ensuring accessibility.
Because this was one of my first interviews, I was a bit nervous on the mic! But it was a great way to start off the podcast. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.