Syracuse University to Host Free Neurodiversity Conference

Neurodiversity is both a concept and a movement that maintains autism to be a variation of human brain wiring rather than something to be eradicated. Proponents seek to improve the quality of life of those with autism and to promote their civil rights as individuals.

Syracuse University is hosting a regional symposium on neurodiversity and autistic self-advocacy on August 5, 2011. The conference seeks to raise public awareness of neurodiversity and dispel myths about what it means to be against curing autism, the most controversial aspect of its platform. To wade into the debate about to cure or not to cure is like the issue of vaccinating vs. not vaccinating, a quagmire of vociferous opinions on both sides. 

Having become more and more aware of the prejudices and at times, persecution that individuals with autism face, I applaud the work of the neurodiversity community in championing autism civil rights and expanding employment opportunities for individuals on the spectrum. I don’t think their attitudes about a cure are black and white and I would like to find out what is said at the symposium on this topic as a battle between the high and low functioning end of the spectrums is futile – we just need to encompass the needs of everyone affected by the disorder, no matter how mild or severe. 

Among seven other topics of the symposium will be self-empowerment through facilitated communication and other non-verbal forms of communicating, expanding neurodiversity beyond autism into other conditions such as ADHD and Tourette’s. Ari Ne’eman, founding president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the Vice Chair of Engagement on the National Council on Disability will be presenting as the keynote speaker. 

Registration is free and space is still available. More info can be found at

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Did You Know?

  • * In 1970, Autism affected 1 out of 10,000 children
  • * Autism now affects 1 out of 88 children
  • * Autism affects 1 in 54 boys
  • * 1.7 million Americans have some form of autism
  • * 4 out of 5 autistic children are boys

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