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Difforder

Updated: Mar 17

difforder (noun): A different order; something that might have traditionally been considered a disorder by polite society, but which does not inherently lead to suffering when presented in favorable conditions.

Autism is a spectrum difforder.


 

Civil rights leader Howard Thurman once said, “Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.”


This has been the single most scary and compelling advice I’ve ever embraced. It has driven me to create complicated paintings that bona fide strangers pay hundreds of dollars for, dance all night to dubstep music in a desert crowded with thousands of friends, and launch completely new, experimental endeavors like biodieselSMARTER, Free Range Diggers, and The Good Listening Project.


When we listen to ourselves and seek out those conditions that allow us to come alive as individuals, we can open myriad bright opportunities for our magnificent minds to blossom. 


The good news is that the possibilities are VAST. Can’t stand the Indigo Girls albums your family plays in the car? Put in your earbuds and find Burnaboy on Spotify. Struggling with your Mormon upbringing? Take a bus to a Quaker service. Love learning, but not classrooms? Online high schools like the Khan academy are now within reach for anyone with wifi, and you can adjust the volume and lighting however you want.


A “disorder” characterization is a matter of perspective. If anybody has ever told you that you have a disorder, consider whether a small language adjustment might be appropriate. 


Difforder. 


It’s not a bad thing.


The truth is, our neurodiversity is our greatest strength. It should be supported and celebrated wherever possible.


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