Different ≠ Disordered
Warm applause welcomed John Elder Robison to the Greenhoe Theater stage the evening of Monday, April 9. His first public appearance as visiting lecturer and advisor to LC’s new Center for Neurodiversity had been eagerly anticipated for weeks, and drew a crowd of well over 200 people from both inside and outside the College community.
The talk, entitled “Different ≠ Disordered: The Case for Embracing Neurodiversity,” begins as a personal journey and ends as a rallying cry. The autobiographical elements are essential because Robison grew up in a time when autism was even less understood than it is today. Ultimately, the diagnosis put Robison on the path toward not only devising coping strategies, but also appreciating and celebrating what autism has helped him accomplish.
“Imagine, what did humans do, for thousands and thousands of years, before schools existed? Who could you turn to, to figure out how to make a bridge?” Robison asked the audience at one point in order to illustrate the innovative abilities of the neurodivergent mind. In a room full of students, parents, and educators who know all too well the limitations of current educational methods, the answer to that question was well-known.
Note: the following video contains language that may be unsuitable for some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. Landmark College would like to thank Brattleboro Community Television for recording and production of this program.