A Key Concept for Neurodiversity: Niche Construction When I suggest that neurodiverse individuals, such as those with autism or ADHD, might have been labeled gifted in other times and in other cultures, the quick retort is: “Well, we don’t live in other times or cultures. People have to adapt to the culture they’re in right now.” So what does the person who is a round peg have to do to fit into a square hole? Answer: Shave off enough of its wood to fit, uncomfortably, usually, into the square hole. That’s one solution. The other solution is to round off some of the square hole so that the round peg can stay a round peg and still fit in. That’s niche construction. In other words, I’m saying that people with neurodiverse brains can create special niches for themselves where they can be their unique selves. An example would be a person with ADHD in a job that requires novelty, thrills, and creativity. Instead of suffering in a 9 to 5 desk job (an example of poor niche construction), they create a career for themselves that allows them to be who they are. Another example: a person on the autistic spectrum who has keen mathematical skill working as a computer programmer in Silicon Valley, instead of wasting away in a group home somewhere. Niche construction is what animals have done for eons: the bird building a nest, the beaver building a dam. They’re modifying the environment to suit their unique needs. We need to make niche construction a key tool in improving the lives of individuals with autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and other neurological conditions. Yes, there will always be the need to adapt to the way the world is, and there are medications, behavior modification programs, and other adaptational programs that can help accomplish this. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that we can also help neurodiverse individuals be who they are and still fit in.
(Via Neurodiversity – The Book)
Temple Grandin spoke brilliantly on that theme at TED. Check this out:
Here is last week’s rehearsal of a, still untitled, tune. We performed this in Saratoga last fall, in Japan in November and in Florida in February. And still no title! On the setlists it was identified as Nu Bm Rumba, but it seems more like a funk-pop thing with just a little bit of rumba… Who knows! I realized last week that I have no idea where this music we are rehearsing and recording came from!
You can download the 320kbps mp3 file here. Please do not distribute in any way. By all means, do share it with your mother or partner or closest friends, but please don’t make it available on the internets…
I just came back from our first recording session. It went well and we laid down several versions of four different songs. We’ll continue tomorrow and Friday and finish up Monday and Tuesday. Normally I would be listening to the music right now, but since my DigiDesign 192 (analog-to-digital converter for Pro Tools) is at Jon’s studio for these sessions, that will have to wait until next Tuesday. Hopefully we will have good takes of each piece by then.
For Victor: today we started out with the M-149 about 13″ away from the soundhole, but moved it further back because I was clipping at the 35db setting – maybe another 4″ back. As you know, the Martech MSS-10 changes mic gain in increments of 5db, so it’s best to move mic a little than to lose 5db. I am usually aware of how hard I strike the strings and can stay within a given dynamic range. It is easier when I record rhythm and melody parts separately than when I record everything at once, as we are doing now, but it’s turning out nice sounding.