The Commodification of Neurodiversity: Inclusivity and Open Dialogue Needed

Addressing the ethical implications and collaborative opportunities in neurodiverse advocacy

Seth Underwood
2 min readJun 8, 2024
Image- By OpturaDesign Sourced and Licensed by Author through Adobe Stock

Thanks to Medium’s AI policy, I can’t profit any more from my autistic writings. But I’ve come to terms with that.

Originally, I was upset because I have both autism and dyslexia. I needed technologies like ProWritingAid to “level up” my writing. Sorry I never graduated with a Master of Arts in English. I only have an accounting degree.

Logically I should dump my membership, but ironically it gives me access to members-only pieces.

That’s when I noticed something… lots of other autistic people tend to write members-only pieces.

That’s fine, and they may do so, but then I noticed how some appear to be profiting from their autism.

By this I mean not just preaching about some neurodiverse click-bait aspect, but also their own personal stories and books. I have no issue about sharing individual autistic experiences, but it’s not helpful to tell the neurotypicals to shut up (dude I’m married to one and I already do that — she hates it and turns around saying the same and I hate it).

Ethically this becomes the commodification of a disability and begs questions about equity and access since not everyone has a paid membership, and it’s not even available on the wider internet.

Worse, is because these people are about building an audience for their opinions and POVs, opposing views must be shut down. This stifles collaborative efforts for change and advocacy.

I think we all forget the “diversity” part of neurodiversity. It’s not about one POV, or one theory, or one idea. It’s a collection of many experiences to help to come to a better understanding using everything society and individuals offer us.

ADDENDUM

Normally I would ask for you to send a little something my way via Ko-Fi. But I will not go there anymore for anything about autism. I’m trying to be true to the mission of awareness, and not beg for support.

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Seth Underwood

54+ autistic, undiagnosed dyslexic, sufferer of chronic migraines, writer of dark science fiction, player of video games and Mike Pondsmith Fan. Race- Human.