Aut Collab (the Autistic Collaboration Trust) is a community that welcomes all individuals and groups who fully appreciate the value of neurodiversity. If you are looking for an index of collaborative autistic people and neurodivergent ventures, you have come to the right place.
Aut Collab acts as a global hub for mutual support, and encourages neurodivergent individuals and ventures to connect and establish long-term collaborations.
a) To advance education by the development and delivery of training courses related to the goal of liberation from the pathology paradigm and the goal of acceptance of autistic cognition, motivations, and patterns of behaviour as natural variations within the human species.
b) To be beneficial to the community by supporting the creation of social networks, events, and organisations that allow autistic people and otherwise neurodivergent people to collaborate, contribute to society, and socialise on their own terms.
c) To be beneficial to the autistic community by supporting and coordinating concrete projects that are run by autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people.
The trustees are formally committed to never charge autistic individuals and their families for any services delivered. The board of trustees consists exclusively of people who openly identify as autistic:
- Anne MacAulay, Social Worker, Aotearoa New Zealand
- Jorn Bettin, S23M, Aotearoa New Zealand
- Sarah Bettin, S23M, Aotearoa New Zealand
- Alice Richardson, Love My Brain, Aotearoa New Zealand
- Jack Sussmilch, Flipit Innovations, Australia
- Terra Vance, Neuroclastic, USA
- Quinn Dexter, Autistamatic, UK
One of the persistent negative stereotypes is that we are poor at collaboration. I am on a mission to demonstrate the opposite. Collaboration can take many forms, and different people have different needs and preferences. Autistic people learn and play differently, and only have a limited (if any!) interest in competitive social games. We communicate and enjoy ourselves by sharing information and knowledge, and not by negotiating social status.
– Jorn Bettin
Discrimination against autistic people is comparable to the level of discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people 50 years ago. Within such a highly discriminatory cultural environment, many services from the autism industry must be considered unethical, and obtaining a “diagnosis” can be an invitation for potential abuse and exploitation. The pathologisation of autism has led to what some critical researchers refer to as the autism industrial complex.
The following video clip is not about autism, but it offers a visual metaphor for the experiences of autistic people within the box of cultural expectations that society imposes, and for the journey of finding a home within the autistic community.
Over the last two decades it has become increasingly clear that autistic cognitive lenses are apparently an essential element in all human societies, especially in the context of innovation and in terms of reducing spurious complexity in human culture.
It is time to liberate autism from the pathology paradigm. This can only be achieved if autistic people take ownership of the definition of autism, provide mutual support to each other, and share their experience of human cultures through an autistic lens from a first hand perspective.
Autistic people are often noted for their their honesty, their naivety, and their inability to be exploitative. The lack of self-promotional ability is typically at odds with cultural expectations.
Aut Collab aims to offer practical assistance and guidance – from neurodivergent individuals and ventures to others who are struggling or suffering in a hyper-competitive neurotypical world that systematically pathologises autistic people.
“This is fantastic. Thank you so much. It’s great to see a description of autism from an autistic person’s point of view – our preferences, our experiences etc. I hope this is used as a basis for research on how to improve mental health for the autistic community.”
– Feedback on the Communal Definition of Autism
“My greatest joy is that nature has gifted me with others like me and that I am not alone. Now I am part of something far more safe and comfortable than the herd could ever have offered. I am here as part of a mosaic of explorers and teachers, of artists and builders.”
– Regular attendee of our CIIC Open Space workshops
“Thank you! These articles and this collaborative empowering movement has been life saving for me and my family. We were confused outsiders before this community connection. And more than that it has enhanced my own understanding of humanity.”
– Healthcare professional in New Zealand
“The article ‘What CAN be misunderstood WILL be misunderstood’ helped me so much to find clarity and organise and make sense of what threatens to overwhelm me. Jorn’s writings are a gift for my ADHD brain.”
– Terra Vance, founder of Neuroclastic
“Your insight and opportunity to explore such an important topic seems to have left the students with a desire to facilitate change. For many, they believe the insight has changed their lives and for others who e-mailed me they said the learning has helped them on a personal level. It comes as no surprise that many people can relate to ‘mask wearing’.”
– Liz Gordon, Professional Practice Fellow, University of Otago
The Aut Collab website is now used as a key learning resource as part of the MBA course module on neurodiversity at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
If you find yourself in a work environment where you frequently have to mask or tend to be penalised for taking risks, making mistakes, raising problems, asking questions, or disagreeing with your colleagues, you are in an unsafe environment.
You can use the Bullying Alert System on this website to report the context of your situation in anonymised form.