In 2014, I took part in a study conducted by a PhD researcher who claimed to specialise in aspects of physiological and psychological empathic and social motivation in autism. I was told in advance that the study would be about emotional vs. cognitive empathy. I remember thinking that I had read a few similar studies on this same subject, but couldn’t recall the exact titles of those papers. “Replication enforces truth,” I recall the words ‘auto-writing’ on my mental blackboard, for no apparent conscious reason. The laboratory was situated in a building tucked away behind another more prominent block. Continue reading →
I’ll be speaking in the panel at the Joint IHL SEN (Institute of Higher Learning, Special Education Needs) Forum on 14 September 2018 at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic. The extended title of my panel speech is: “Autism, Neurodiversity and a Neurocosmopolitan Future.” My workshop (taking place after lunch) will be about “Embracing Neurocosmopolitanism: different ways of empathy and communication.”
It’s been sitting there in the bowels of my external storage drive since 2016. I am very proud of this work – not merely because I won the top award to be won among postgraduates, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Research 2016, but much more because of the way I survived the odds with Lucy’s help and that of my loyal friends, and my one and only amazing sister (and her wonderful hubby). It is a team effort of grit, will, faith and a lot of sand in the mouth. It is a testament to me of the beauty of love and friendship.
As the final chapter will tell, the work has been the best thing to happen to me. I waited and longer for this all my life, and it is a dream come true. (The PhD journey – not the Dean’s Award, I never dreamt of that, never in my wildest dream would I think I would win it – actually, I didn’t even know it existed until I was informed that I was in the running!)
Thank you, dear friends who have helped prop me up and given me all that amazing strength to persist.
Here are the speakers notes for my presentation yesterday (11 Aug 2018) at our disability-led forum on Disability-Led Practice, a groundbreaking first in Singapore. I’ve also added more detailed links to videos in this post.
This is the complete unedited script of my TEDx speech, delivered today amidst a flurry of technical failures and farcical-comedic twists. (Read about it here.)
4 August 2018
TEDx Pickering Street
I cannot walk,
It is too strange.
I must count:
One, two, three!
Autistic people are given many different labels by the non-autistic world. One of them is ‘clumsy,’ and by that measure, I suppose I am – it is a conscious effort for me to walk in a straight line, navigate bumpy surfaces, and stroll and chat at the same time. Yet, how does ‘clumsiness’ explain the ability to dance? When there is music, my body becomes freed from the tyranny of the walk, and the ground doesn’t seem so daunting anymore. Continue reading →
Lucy and I shall be at TEDx Pickering Street this Saturday 4 August 2018. Come join us and hear my ideas on how autistic and non-autistic people may grow and thrive, not despite autism but because of the unique features of autism, and what society can learn from autistic persons.
[Autistic Thriving – Dr. Dawn-Joy Leong]
There is a great deal of ‘awareness’ these days about Autism – mainly from non-autistic observations. However, where are the Actually Autistic voices in this cacophony of opinions and interpretations? What is it like to be autistic? Discover how Dawn learns to thrive within her autistic ecology, not despite but because of her autism.
Grab your tickets here: https://tedxpsthrive.peatix.com/