We are a collective of neurodivergents cataloguing the experience, insights, knowledge, talents, and creative pursuits of autistics. We hope to build a repository of information about the lived exploits, inner lives, Work, soul, interests, and culture of the neurodiverse spirit.
A note about the word Asperger’s and the site name:
This site is called The Aspergian, but we are unilaterally and vehemently opposed to function labels, supremacy, ranking, or any other type of exclusion. This site is for all autistic voices and expression.
We use the words “Asperger’s” and “aspie” on this site interchangeably with “autism” and “autistic” and refuse to accept distinctions which require people to qualify or quantify ability levels. It is up to our individual writers to choose how they self-identify, and we respect the autonomy of each contributor.
Asperger’s has been removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM and will soon be removed from the World Health Organization’s ICD with the roll-out of the eleventh edition later this year. For this reason, we are purposing to keep the term in non-clinical language as a reflection of autistic identity that exists outside the medical model. It is now a term that associated with a social identity, for us.
A Note about Hans Asperger and Human Rights Violations
Interpretations about Hans Asperger’s decisions during the era of the Third Reich vary. Some maintain that he was a progressive and benevolent resister. Others feel his actions reflect that he was complicit with the agenda of the Nazis. After the fall of the Nazis at the culmination of WWII, Asperger wrote vehemently against the evils of eugenics, and it is impossible to know exactly his motives given the information we have.
We at the Aspergian do not take a collective position on Hans Asperger’s involvement; however, he is a substantial figure in the history of recognizing and defining autism. Beyond the fall of the Third Reich, forced sterilization, eugenics laws, torture, and institutionalization was legal and widespread until the late 1970s in the US and continues to be elsewhere, all practices which disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities and the poor.
In fact, as recently as 2018, forced sterilization of women in prisons has been practiced illegally in America. Electroshock as a disciplinary practice has continued into current legal practice. Commonplace and often-compulsory use of therapies for unconsenting autistic children dominate the mainstream despite the prevalence of research which proves those assimilation-based, aggressive therapies cause PTSD.
While the community may not have arrived at consensus on the intentions of Asperger during the humanitarian crisis of the Nazi’s euthanasia program, we acknowledge that past and present practices regarding autistics and other marginalized populations have neglected to respect our value, autonomy, and humanity. To strip from our language all nomenclature associated with controversy and oppression would be to leave us with almost no language to define ourselves.
Currently, the words “Asperger’s” and “aspie” are used without reverence or reference to the man, Hans Asperger. We as a community have outgrown the legacy of all of the early pioneers. We define our neurotype now through the only perspective which can authentically speak to the autistic condition– our own. Those words belong to us now, and we have given them meaning far beyond what Hans Asperger thought he saw in us.
Today, these words are our words, alive and meaningful to the autistic community for what they have come to mean and for the sense of identity and camaraderie they afford those who use them. We keep them in rotation because they are positively-associated terms many autistic people use today to define themselves.
Those who publish with the Aspergian have found their way to this Lighthouse through various channels. We find each other.
We have published authors, researchers, educators, advocates, entrepreneurs, parents, activists, artists, inventors, thinkers, editors, performers, and dreamers among our Tribe. Every voice here is an important contribution to the whole. We represent the diversity of the autism spectrum in all of its vibrant intersections. We are not only inclusive, but we enthusiastically welcome and recruit contributors from all educational, professional, identity, racial, ability, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds.
This site is owned in equal parts by all of its contributors.
Our Vision for the Future of The Aspergian
If you are autistic, your vision is our vision. We want to fold your ideas, dreams, special interests, talents, and insights into our trajectory. We have goals of using this platform to support autistic business owners, scientists, authors, performers, and artists in the pursuit of contributing something meaningful to the Greater Good.
We hope to build upon and accelerate the momentum that activists and visionaries for human rights have been fueling for all of human history. We are the embodiment of that Movement in the spirit of self-advocacy. We seek to empower neurodivergents to better know themselves, to connect with others, to network, to be validated, to lend their voices, and to contribute to the empowerment of other marginalized populations.
We are planning to put out tangible resources to help those seeking diagnosis, advocating or a child’s rights in education, seeking equal opportunity in employment settings, finding a path to a sustainable and rewarding life, obtaining therapeutic supports, and managing the struggles unique to the autistic neurotype.
What We Believe
We believe that neurodiversity is a naturally-occuring divergence from typical neurology, and that it is not a “diseased” or “broken” way of existing. We also acknowledge that co-morbid conditions and social or environmental conditions can be challenging or disabling.
We believe in telling truths and exposing myths.
We believe that advocating for ourselves empowers others to do the same. By others, we mean all others, regardless of neurology.
We believe that neurotypical allies are indispensable and enthusiastically welcome their comments, suggestions, support, and readership. Please know that we love and embrace our neurotypical allies and acknowledge that their support is necessary and vital to our access to progress. For more information on being an ally, click here.
We believe that the academic, medical, and behavioral science communities need to consult with autistics before designing research, treatment, therapeutic supports, and educational materials related to autism.
We believe that ABA and other therapeutic interventions which seek to force autistic children and adults to conform to neurotypical standards are abusive and should be rejected.
We believe that adjusting curricula and professional obligations to suit the autistic neurotype will allow autistics to meet their full potential and bring valuable contributions to the human condition and the environment. We believe this is a basic human right which should be honored and doing so benefits all mankind by adding diversity of thought and perspective to innovation and operations.
We believe that prejudices and biases prevent adults, women, racial minorities, and the poor from obtaining an accurate diagnosis of autism and from obtaining equal access to needed supports.
We believe that all autistics have value which cannot and should not be measured by neurotypical standards of ability. This includes acknowledging strengths outside of neurotypicals norms and respecting the limitations of invisible conditions.
We believe that racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, and all other forms of bigotry and supremacy are inexcusable.