An Autistic Statement on Intelligence

The following video is truly impacting. It is broken into two parts. The first part, entitled 'In My Language,' shows A M Baggs, an autistic woman, doing things that would make most of us consider her somehow abnormal and maybe even retarded. Then the second part provides something of a translation designed to make the first part more intelligible to us, but more than a translation it is an explanation, and more than an explanation it is a highly eloquent personal statement on what it might mean to communicate, to have cognitive capacities, to think, and to be a person, while simultaneously criticizing the paradigm of so-called normality.

Since I'm teaching a few ethics courses this semester, and it's very fresh in my mind, I couldn't help but associate her statement to Ruth Benedict's classic paper "Anthropology and the Abnormal," which you can download here.

My only problem with this is that just as Baggs criticizes us for presuming to know what's on her mind, she also presumes to know what's on the minds of other autistic people, which seems rather contradictory, but even if she were to limit her remarks to her own case for the sake of consistency, her insights are still truly wonderful.
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