Tuesday 8 September 2020

Explaining Neurodiversity

I am generally credited with being the originator of the term Neurodiversity while writing a sociology honours thesis,"Odd People In: a personal exploration of a new social movement based on neurological diversity" (UTS Sydney 1998). 

I did not define the term, thinking its meaning self-evident. Since then there have been a proliferation of definitions, and as I expected, most people intuitively "get it". But inevitably, some definitions seem to me to miss the point, especially when they take neurodiversity to be a synonym for "neurological disability". 

While I understand that language evolves and changes, I am determined to defend my intuitive understanding of the term vigourously, and have thus unpacked the complex meaning furled within it. 

To read my definition, click on the "What is Neurodiversity" tab above, or here


  1. What Neurodiversity is
  2. What Neurodiversity is not
  3. What the Neurodiversity Movement is
  4. Fundamental Principles
  5. Neurodiversity and Conservation
  6. The Dark Side of Neurodiversity
  7. Neurodiversity and Eugenics
  8. Neurodiversity and "Difference vs Disability"
  9. The Future of Neurodiversity
If you are interested in going to the primary source, see my republished thesis 

Carry On Regardless!

Am I the only one who can spend more time agonizing about what kind of “regards” to send in a business letter than on writing the whole damn letter?

I’ve had enough, I just can’t take it anymore,


Life is too short!

One of my autistic traits is that I am ALWAYS sincere. (Well, almost always, unless I have been taught to fake it for the sake of self-preservation in a dog-eat-dog world business world, where duplicity is the norm, and actual sincerity is viewed with suspicion).

In this world, I understand the Regards Hierarchy thus:

  1. Kind regards
    Opening gambit: we haven’t met yet, so let’s be civilized, and let me assure you that I don’t intend to rip you off, while keeping you at a polite distance

  2. Warm regards
    The next round: We still haven't met, but let’s pretend we are practically bosom buddies

  3. Just plain unqualified Regards

  4. [Regards omitted]
    We have engaged the services of a Debt Collection Agency

I CAN’T DO THIS! I do not know you! It is literally painful for me to protest emotions that I do not, cannot, have. All I want is a job/a gig/a refund/more time to pay! Why else would I be writing? I don’t know which adjective to use! This is taking me forever! Can we please just get on with it?

Although, I must admit, when someone sends me their “Highest Regards”, I’m like “Wow, reeeeeeeeeeaally? Well OK, if you insist!”.

To avoid drowning in this quagmire,  I have composed the following sign off:

Disclaimer: the absence of “Regards” and other salutations and protestations of sincerity in this letter do not signal hostility or unfriendliness on my part.They are merely a recognition that this is a business transaction between people who do not know each other. Sincerity is assumed, unless the matter needs to be taken to the courts.

Related Issue: Kisses

How many x’es in a sign off between friends?

I usually sign letters to female friends as “Jxx”, which seems to me to be just right.

One “x“ would seem too perfunctory, too cold, almost a matter of form,  while xxx seems unnecesarily effusive. After all, we should know each other well enough by now to know that of course we have a warm friendship, while not denying that nobody is perfect, and frankly, sometimes we do piss each other off.

This works for me, until someone ruins it and escalates with an extra “x”.

What to do? Should I respond in kind, or will this signal the beginning of an arms race of x’es?

And what if someone then trumps everything with a capital X????


And let’s not even talk about the delicate situation with male friends. So many worrying factors to consider. If I use an “x”, will they feel their manhood threatened? Will they worry that I consider them effeminate? What will their wives think? Will they think I’m offering them a sexual liason? 

Best not to even go there.


Yes, folks, my mind really does work this way. I’m serious!