1. You can, if you wish, arrange to be in the company of people who share your own “neuro-typical status” most of the time.
2. If you should need to move, you can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area, that you can afford and in which you would want to live.
3. You can be pretty sure that your neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant toward you.
4. You can go shopping alone most of the time, and be pretty well assured that you will not be followed or harassed.
5. You can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of your own “neuro- typical status” widely represented (in positive ways).
6. When you were told about your national heritage or about “civilization,” you were shown that people of your ilk made it what it is.
7. You can be sure that your children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their “neuro-typical validity”.
8. You can arrange to protect your children most of the time from people who might not like them.
9. Whether you use checks, credit cards or cash, you can count on your “neuro-typical behaviour” not to work against the appearance of your financial reliability.
10. You can go into a supermarket or into a hairdresser’s without risking “being over whelmed by sensory stimulation”.
11. You can swear, or dress in second-hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to bad morals, or the inadequacies of “having a non-neuro- typical status”.
12. You can speak in public to a powerful group without putting your “neurological status” on trial.
13. You can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to your “neuro-typical” class.
14. You will never be asked to speak on behalf of all the people in your “neuro- typical” group, everywhere.
15. You can remain oblivious of the “sensory needs and issues of non-neuro-typical persons” without feeling any cultural penalty for doing so.
16. You can criticize your government and talk about how much you fear its policies and behavior without being seen as an outsider.
17. You can be pretty sure that if you ask to talk to “the person in charge,” you will be facing a person of your own “neuro-typical status”
18. You can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children’s magazines featuring people of your own “neuro-typical status”.
19. You can go home from most meetings of organizations you belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared.
20. You can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having co-workers on the job suspect that you got it because of your “neurological status”.
21. You can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of your “neurological status” will be mistreated in the place you have chosen.
22. You can be sure that if you need legal or medical help your “neurological status” will not work against you.
23. If your day, week or year is going badly, you need not ask of each negative episode or situation you’ve encountered, whether it holds “discriminatory” overtones.
These are just a few examples of the common everyday things that those of us who experience Autism, Developmental delays, Brain Injuries, Chromosomal additions or deletions, or who are neurologically different, in any way, can never take for granted in our daily lives.
So the next time you see someone struggling to do that which for you has now become so easy that it’s taken for granted, take a few seconds before you cast judgement and ask what you can do to help, rather than hinder, that person’s situation.
A little bit of kindness goes a long, long way but a little bit of understanding goes even further.
List originally compiled using the resources of the classic article “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” By Peggy McIntosh, and adapted by me to include and consider the ramifications of the taken for granted actions of those who do not experience any degree of neurological difference.
- Adapting Peggy McIntosh’s paper on “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of privilege” to accommodate and reveal how Neuro-Typicality constructs its own unspoken system of privilege in our society. (seventhvoice.wordpress.com)