I started 2023 with pretty bad fatigue, having had covid in December 2022, following on from a different virus in December which had already given me weeks of post-viral fatigue. This improved slowly over the course of the year, only for the same thing to happen at the end of 2023 – this time, I first tested positive for covid on Christmas Day. I missed a significant amount of work as a result of all this, although I was ultimately happy with the progress that all of my students made – including the many who also missed a lot of school…
I started at a new school after the summer, and left both of the schools I’d been teaching at for a few years before that. It’s smaller and more outdoorsy, and Maria Montessori’s educational philosophy is far closer to mine than Rudolf Steiner’s!
Outside of school, it’s been a busy year. It was the third Weird Pride Day on the 4th of March; I had a fun online discussion on the day, but only got round to making a dedicated Weird Pride Day site just afterwards. I made a page on it about Weird Pride for Schools, one on the history of the idea, and pages about what Weird Pride is and its relationship with queer/LGBT identities.
Over on the Monotropism site that I made last year, I’ve expanded the Explanations page, wrote a piece about ADHD and Monotropism, a page for Mike Lesser, and ‘I’m monotropic… now what?‘ to help anyone who’s just realised this about themselves. I wrote a roundup of recent writing about monotropism – there’s been a lot! I also wrote a piece on the Monotropism Questionnaire after our paper on it went online as a preprint and proved unexpectedly popular. Finally, I added the text of my keynote talk for the Scottish Autism Research Group (SARG) 2023 conference, Monotropism and Wellbeing.
Elsewhere, I adapted an extract from my piece on Musk from late 2022 (Elon Musk’s Autistic Anti-Patterns) for Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, as We Need to Talk About Aspie Supremacists. In October, I contributed to Resisting Transphobia in Edinburgh’s ‘Trans Facts’ resource. In November I shared a meditation on the relationships between anger and power on my Medium. In December, I reported for Bylines Scotland on the Scottish Greens voting for a ban on ‘behaviour modification’ practices for disabled people (which is in the Bylines Gazette for December).
I made a few videos this year: for AMASE, I posted an update on autistic access to mental health with my partner Sonny Hallett doing most of the talking; and interviews with Elle McNicoll and Pete Wharmby. I also had a panel discussion with Pete and Elliott Spaeth at the ITAKOM (It Takes All Kinds of Minds) conference. On my own YouTube channel, I made a video of my piece On Smallness and Power, and my talk on LEANS and neurodiversity at school for a Korean conference, plus a short timelapse film of a sunrise with nacreous clouds. I also made a TikTok account, and posted some videos about Weird Pride and the Monotropism Questionnaire, plus a short rant about how nothing happens for a reason.
I was sole author of a perspective piece on autism & scientism this year, and a co-author on a paper that passed peer-review, about the LEANS project: Evaluation of wider community support for a neurodiversity teaching programme designed using participatory methods. Two more papers are currently going through peer review, with another to follow soon; I also hope to have two or three book chapters published in the new year.
For a year marked by chronic fatigue, I guess I got quite a bit done! I also took some photos and put them on Instagram, made some posts on my waffle blog, and even made a few sculptures – including this fairly silly Christmas present I made for Sonny, which I figure fits in with the rear-facing nature of this retrospective…