The New Star Wars Heroes Grow Up

The con­tro­ver­sial, new Star Wars movie is some­thing dif­fer­ent for the beloved fran­chise. New­com­ers and fans who saw the orig­i­nal trilo­gies in the­aters alike may strug­gle with whether to approve of the shift or not. The film is a mix of strong and weak points, and, far more than The Force Awak­ens, rep­re­sents the torch being hand­ed off to the next gen­er­a­tion of char­ac­ters. This is not anoth­er movie where new pro­tag­o­nists drove the plot along­side char­ac­ters from the orig­i­nal tril­o­gy.

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The End of Net Neutrality

It is dif­fi­cult to keep up with even major devel­op­ments in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and pol­i­cy today. It can be easy to lose sight of appar­ent­ly small changes. One essen­tial thing to keep up with in the com­ing days and weeks is the like­ly demise of net neu­tral­i­ty. This is a grave threat to the kind of Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty most of us con­sid­er worth hav­ing. The pos­si­ble short-term impact on the best sites cater­ing to us could be extreme­ly dam­ag­ing. The long-term impli­ca­tions, while more insid­i­ous and hard­er to pre­dict, may be far worse. If you val­ue a diverse, vibrant Autis­tic com­mu­ni­ty in the Unit­ed States, it is in your inter­est to spend some time this week pro­tect­ing net neu­tral­i­ty.

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Reaching People

lighthouse in the fog

Are Neurodiversity’s Most Crit­i­cal Ideas Easy Enough to Find?


This may be remem­bered as a par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing moment in Autis­tic cul­ture. Unlike four or five years ago, we are not locked in a sin­gle, all-con­sum­ing strug­gle. With less to tie us all togeth­er, things are more cliquish, but the prob­lems, solu­tions, projects, and endeav­ors on which peo­ple spend their time are more diverse. Peo­ple are mak­ing promis­ing for­ays into art and lit­er­a­ture. Inno­v­a­tive plat­forms like NOS Mag­a­zine and Psych Ward Reviews are meet­ing needs by fill­ing impor­tant infor­ma­tion­al gaps. There is growth and devel­op­ment. New ideas are cir­cu­lat­ing, and grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple are will­ing to take the risk of writ­ing a nov­el or launch­ing a web­site.

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Disability and Disaster

Rippling waters rise as raindrops fall.

The Urgency of Dis­as­ter Plan­ning

The Caribbean suf­fered ter­ri­bly, but Flori­da escaped the worst of Hur­ri­cane Irma. Still, vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple there weren’t safe. Nine nurs­ing home res­i­dents in Hol­ly­wood Hills, Flori­da suc­cumbed to the heat when their facil­i­ty lost pow­er. These extreme­ly vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties lost what­ev­er time was left to them, what­ev­er liv­ing there might have been. It seems like­ly that there will be pun­ish­ment or com­pen­sa­tion, but it’s impos­si­ble to return what was lost. The most trag­ic part of the whole sit­u­a­tion may be that the dead weren’t killed by the storm through flood­ing, wind, or the col­lapse of a build­ing. They didn’t die of the con­di­tions that caused them to need the help that was regret­tably unavail­able to them out­side of an insti­tu­tion. They died, most­ly, of slip­ping through the cracks in the plans of every­one around them. They died because no one could be both­ered to pre­vent it.

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Telling Personal Stories

Some of the most painful sit­u­a­tions new activists get into revolve around sto­ries. What seems like the chance to do good can end in embar­rass­ment  Even if the por­tray­al, the con­tent or media that comes out of shar­ing a sto­ry, is ulti­mate­ly respect­ful, third par­ties may still project their own prej­u­dices on it. Per­son­al sto­ries told in dig­ni­fied ways can be used in undig­ni­fied ways. There is also the sto­ry­telling trap: it can feel more use­ful than it actu­al­ly is. This isn’t to say that per­son­al sto­ries should nev­er be told, but it’s impor­tant to be aware of the pit­falls of per­son­al sto­ry­telling and how to avoid them.

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