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  • Writer's pictureAmber

Learning from "The Great Autistic Mind of Bernard Grant, Ph.D."


Bernard Grant, Ph.D. speaks at a microphone
Bernard Grant, Ph.D.

It was such a privilege to spend time with Bernard Grant, Ph.D., an Autistic, multiply neurodivergent writer, editor and advocate (also a life coach) for neurominorities who is also an identical twin. Amber knows Bernard through neurdiversity advocacy circles, and they presented together at last year's CUNY Neurodiversity Conference--you can still view the presentation deck from their talk on supporting neurodivergent creatives in the workplace.


Bernard opened our minds in so many ways throughout the podcast interview. You definitely don't want to miss that episode! But because too often, Autistic people are spoken for or about, we're going to use this post to share some of Bernard's own words, so powerful and true. And you can find more of their work--spanning literature and advocacy--at bernardgrant.com.


From their chapbook, Puzzle Pieces (creative nonfiction):

You and the sun, together you rise and fall, a repeated cycle. Washed and rinsed. You heard somewhere that if the sun moved, we’d either freeze or burn, depending on its direction, on your location, and you wonder where you’re headed, how many more checks you’ll see from this job, how many more mornings you’ll wake to these sherbert walls, lime-green and orange sandwiching a slice of white.

Society talks openly about racism and homophobia. So, I often wonder why so many inclusion discussions, especially mainstream discussions, avoid the reality that the reason Autists struggle to find and maintain stability in school, at work, and even at home and in their communities is due to the negative attitudes people have towards us.

From "Neurokinship" written for the Specialisterne blog:

Confidence comes from meeting people who are like you—your people. In these people, you can see yourself. My unconventional lifestyle made sense to me when I met others who lived similar lifestyles. Engaging with other Autists reminds me that I am a perfectly normal Autistic person. Everyone is normal or no one is normal because normal doesn’t exist, has never existed.

From the interview for their "How Do We Deal?!" episode, on dealing with negative snap judgements:

I've done a lot of work to like myself after spending most of my life not liking myself. So to let someone who doesn't value themselves at all--to let their words mean something to me--their words just go right through me. It doesn't matter to me anymore. During the pandemic I read Donna Williams' memoir... she's an early autistic advocate. She wrote about how she owns herself--how she's finally figuring that out... just learning that she owns herself. I'm aware of that too. I own myself. But for a long time I didn't. And that's a choice we can all make.

Thank you, dear Dealers, for listening to our discussion with Bernard. We encourage you to share it with at least one person who may benefit from his wisdom and perspective!


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