Welcome, and thank you for stopping by! My name is Cassandra Crosman, and I am the creator of “In the Loop About Neurodiversity.” I am a 24 year-old education assistant and future SPED teacher. I graduated in 2021 with a Master of Science in Education from Western Oregon University, and seek to bring autistic representation and perspective to the education field.
I am proudly autistic and was nonspeaking until I was six years old. I aspire to teach others who are neurodivergent like myself, but in a special education course that I took in my sophomore year at my community college, I noticed that it did not provide any current information about neurodiversity or disability studies and promoted “person-first” rather than “identity-first” language that the autistic community overwhelmingly prefers. In response, I decided to create my own blog geared towards keeping neurotypical people “in the loop” about what neurodiversity means and how to better serve the needs of neurodivergent people.
Issues that matter to me in autistic advocacy are improving autistic representation in issues concerning us. Unfortunately, many of the largest autism organizations have minimal, if any autistic representation and involvement, and speak over autistic people. I want to improve the visibility of autistic-led organizations and encourage schools to support organizations led by disabled and neurodivergent people.
As an autistic woman, I want to address the diagnostic gap in autism and other similar forms of neurodiversity such as ADHD. My hope is to improve the recognition and representation of autistic women and other minorities such as autistic people of color and LGBTQIA+ and nonbinary people, so that they may have easier access to services and accommodations, as well as a formal autism diagnosis if they wish to pursue one.
I am pro-autism acceptance, and I am anti-cure, treatment, or pathologizing language about autism. I speak out against eugenics, fake autism “cures,” and autism pseudoscience. The biggest barriers neurodiverse people face are inaccessibility and societal ableism, and I want to help to break some of these barriers and improve acceptance for neurodivergent and disabled people.
I am additionally against strict compliance therapies that harm autistic people, and do not plan to use these as a future educator. Behavior is communication, and I will respect the various ways that neurodiverse and disabled people communicate rather than using too common techniques to suppress such behaviors such as, “quiet hands” and “whole body listening.”
I want to empower neurodivergent and disabled people and help them advocate for their own needs. Advocacy is a skill that has been invaluable for my own life. I learned to speak up for myself through activities such as debate and argumentative writing, and later applied this skill towards issues that affect autistic people. I have given presentations about autism at my university, such as on disclosing an autism diagnosis, and on steps to reform the Autism CARES Act to better serve the needs of the autistic community. I want to help empower neurodivergent people who may not yet feel comfortable speaking about their own neurodiversity, and help neurodivergent people to feel acceptance towards themselves. My goal and mission is to promote acceptance of people who are neurodivergent so that they do not feel that they have to socially mask or hide aspects of their disability as I once felt, but feel free to be their complete, unfiltered selves.
I aspire to be an educator and autistic advocate who focuses on the social model of disability rather than the medical model of disability that only sees deficiencies and disorders. Autism is not something that should be cured, treated, eradicated, or combated, but something that should be accommodated and socially accepted. Autistic people have their own culture, community, and pride, which was what I discovered as a college student. As a future teacher, I want to help neurodiverse and disabled students find their own community and feel that they can embrace their differences and be proud of themselves.
My special interests and hobbies include Star Wars, classic rock music, politics, autistic advocacy, Nintendo games, playing ukulele, writing, and painting with water colored pencils.