Julia Bascom is an autistic writer and activist. She is the deputy executive director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, has served on the New Hampshire DD council, and is the founder of the Loud Hands Project.
"My blog is called Just Stimming for two reasons: because all I'm doing is lining up words, just stimming ... It's hard work. It's important to me. It's significant....
But I also remember being 15 and scared and looking at people saying some very big and terrifying things about me, and then going online and finding other people like me, who were writing for themselves. And I don't think they meant it to, but their writing changed my life. Their writing told me I could have a life.
And if I can let someone else have that, I think that can only be good."
Bascom maintains a blog called Just Stimming... where she posts about autism, disability, the autistic community, and human rights. She covers both the joys and struggles of living as an autistic woman, and writes essays discussing how autistic people are treated in the world.
"When I was a little girl, I was autistic. And when you’re autistic, it’s not abuse. It’s therapy."
Her piece "Quiet Hands" explains the trauma and abuse in the ABA therapy she received as a child. It has received much attention from the community for its beautiful writing and depiction of the abuse that many autistic people underwent or are still undergoing in therapy.
Bascom also writes for The Mighty.
Bascom is the organizer of The Loud Hands Project, an anthology of essays from autistic writers that has expanded into a website. It is meant primarily for the autistic community. "We are preserving, organizing, and showcasing our voices, our resilience, and our heritage," Bascom explains in an interview.
In 2013 Bascom released another anthology, entitled And Straight on Till Morning: Essays on Autism Acceptance. These essays focus on autism awareness and its cost, and working on the shift towards acceptance.
Bascom believes in neurodiversity and is an advocate for autism rights. She is especially interested in bridging the gap between theory and praxis.
She is strongly against normalization therapy, arguing that it is better to grow up looking autistic than to grow up being abused.
The grabbers don’t believe that we can be happy or find meaning unless we are exactly like them—and that’s really the goal, being just like everyone else, and so there is not even a second of hesitation in their eyes when they slap our hands down onto the table with a shriek of “quiet hands”.
Bascom does not believe in an autism cure.
"In the end, there are really two things I want when I say I wish I wasn’t autistic or I want a cure. I want to not feel like a freak, and I want to feel safe. Those are hard, scary things to feel and to admit. And, because I’m being honest, I have to ask something even scarier.
What if being cured didn’t fix those things?
Because ultimately, if I took a cure, I’d be surrendering. Instead of fighting for my right to be treated and valued as a human being regardless of disability, I’d be letting go, giving in, and letting myself be changed into someone easier, someone acceptable, someone convenient."
Bascom enjoys music, linguistics, and multiples of 7. She was quite gifted in math, demonstrating incredible skill in mathematics and music, but lost skills after head trauma and over-medication. She is also a lesbian.
- ASAN: Staff
- Just Stimming: About
- Huffington Post: A Conversation With the Talented Writer, Blogger and All-Around Amazing Julia Bascom
- Just Stimming: Quiet Hands
- The Mighty: Julia Bascom
- The Loud Hands Project
- Amazon.com: And Straight on Till Morning: Essays on Autism Acceptance
- Just Stimming: Grabbers
- Just Stimming: Truth Is
- Thinking Person's Guide to Autism: Julia Bascom and Autism Acceptance Month
- Just Stimming: A Fifth Is Two Sine Curves
- Just Stimming: #DressingWhileDisabled
- Just Stimming: The Talk