In this episode of the TiLT Parenting Podcast, my guest is Steve Silberman, an award-winning science writer who authored the 2015 book NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, a brilliant book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently. Steve’s articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the MIT Technology Review, and more.
In our conversation, Steve and I talk about neurodifference, acceptance, tolerance, changing cultures, systemic change, and so much more. As a science writer who researched the history of autism in writing his book for more than five years, Steve brings an incredible breadth of knowledge, as well as passion for the neurodiversity movement, to the show. By the end of this interview I was inspired and motivated for the changes to come, and grateful there are thought leaders like Steve doing this important work in the world. I hope you enjoy our conversation!
About Steve: Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the MIT Technology Review, Nature, Salon, and many other publications. He is the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (Avery 2015), which Oliver Sacks called a “sweeping and penetrating history…presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity.” The book became a widely-praised bestseller in the United States and the United Kingdom, and won the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction, a California Book Award, and a Books for a Better Life award. It was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2015 by The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Boston Globe, The Independent, and many other publications, and is being translated into 13 languages.
In April 2016, Silberman gave the keynote speech at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day. He has given talks on the history of autism at Yale, Harvard, MIT, Oxford, the National Academy of Sciences, Queen Mary University, Apple, Microsoft, Google, the 92nd Street Y, Imperial College London, the MIND Institute at UC Davis, and many other major institutions. His TED talk, “The Forgotten History of Autism,” has been viewed more than a million times and translated into 25 languages.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- The impetus for Steve’s book NeuroTribes
- How and why the anti-vaccine movement has negatively affected the autistic community
- The real impact of language like “epidemic” in relation to neurodifferences like autism
- How Steve’s book NeuroTribes has been received by members of the autistic community
- Steve’s thoughts on how parents raising neurodiverse kids can best support the neurodiversity movement
- The importance of autistic peer mentoring
- NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman
- The Geek Syndrome (Steve’s article in Wired Magazine, 12/01/01)
- Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism by Barry Prizant
Read through the whole episode!
DOWNLOAD THE COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT
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