Suggested readings in neurodiversity and sounds/music

23 January 2013

A. M. Baggs: In my language

(2007, self published, video)

Headlam, D. (2006): “Learning to Hear Autistically”

in Sounding off: learning to hear autistically. Chapter 8, pages 109–120. Routledge. (Google Books link)

When listening to music, we often have the feeling that our consciousness is altered. Our sense of the passing of time becomes highly experiential, follow­ ing the twists and turns of the tempi and rhythms. We shift between local details of motives and themes to larger groupings of formal sections, or we just revel in the sensory impressions from the colors of orchestration. We can engage in all sorts of behaviors (clapping, dancing, shaking, head-banging, etc.) that would be considered strange in the absence of music. It can be a shock when the”real” world impinges on our altered state; the musical world is a compelling place to be, and it serves many purposes. Musical experience seems to be a global human trait; virtually all societies have some role for music (Nettll983).

Martijn Dekker: “On our own terms: Emerging Autistic Culture”

(2006, self published, archived html version)

[…] This paper is about how many high functioning autistic people are trying to make their own dreams a reality today.

I am an adult with a diagnosis of high-functioning autism. I have now been active in the autism self-advocacy movement for about four years, gradually growing in this world. I sometimes write papers like this one or give lectures, and I am happy to provide my inside experiences and insights for those who find them useful. I also run an Internet-based support group for people like myself, namely those on the autistic spectrum, and it makes me extremely happy to realise that the group helps people and enables to people who help themselves. It is also the best self-help I could have wished for; the contact and friendship I have with my autistic peers is immensely valuable to me. […]

Sarah Schuchardt: “Music and the Autism Culture”

(Article on the Autismforum)

“You would think all these ‘atypical somethings’ would amount to a ‘typical something.’” This theory not only applies to the psychiatric patients studied in the fact-based movie “Awakenings”. It also applies to individuals who do not seem to “fit” into any particular culture. Many people do not consider autistic individuals to belong to any culture. They consider autistic individuals as atypical people. This view implies there are 1.5 million atypical people in the United States alone. One in every five hundred people on earth has autism, and therefore all of those individuals are atypical (ASA). The question arises, “how can 1.5 million Americans with common behaviors, needs, and interests all be atypical?”

The answer is they are not atypical human beings. Many attributes of autistic persons prove autism has the makings of a typical culture of people. Examination of common behaviors, needs, and interests within autistic adults, primarily focusing on their musical culture, demonstrates autistic individuals have a culture all their own. […]

A. M. Baggs: How to boil water the easy way

(self published, video)

Oliver Sacks: Rage for order

(3rd part of “The Mind Traveler”, a four-part PBS series by Rosetta Pictures, 1998)

List of documentaries by Oliver Sacks