Perhaps it’s too early to be saying this, since I haven’t gotten confirmation of when the first post will be ready, but I have a guest blogger coming. I hope to put her first post up on Monday.
I haven’t done much with guest bloggers in the past, but I strongly believe that a key ingredient to productive dialogue is to get two or more people with different points of view to discuss their similarities and differences in a respectful manner. The objective is not to change people’s minds, but to expand them: to fill in gaps of knowledge we may not even know we have, to correct misinformation we think is true, to share different points of view, and to find—if possible—middle ground we can walk together, and, when that’s not possible, to agree to disagree on those things we disagree on and to agree to cooperate on those things we agree on.
Granted, this is not always possible. I remember all too well some of the recent debacles in exchanging points of view in the greater autism community. But I believe I’ve found a stimulating guest who is genuinely interested in sharing her knowledge and learning from those who respond—both “ingredients” are necessary, I think.
She’s a researcher. She’s “for” curing autism, though what she means by that may not be what I (we?) assume she means by that. She’s also “for” neurodiversity, though, again, what she means by that may not be what I (we?) mean by that. Really, she’s for improving the lives of those with autism, and she wants to learn—from parents and people with autism—what that means and what it doesn’t mean. And that, if nothing else, is something we have in common. How we view the issues of autism may be different, and I already know that some of them are, but our hope (though, not necessarily our goals) is similar. That’s something we can build upon.
How this will work, then, is for me to post (unedited) her point of view. Moderated discussion will ensue (I hope): no disrespectful, mean, derogatory, or troll-like comments allowed. You can disagree. You can disagree adamantly. But do so respectfully, on topic—and definitely not “on person.” Then, I’ll respond in a post of my own. This exchange will go back and forth—we’re not sure how long. We’ll see how it goes. Again, comments will be moderated. Be respectful and civil and you’ll get through. Be a spammer or a troll, and you won’t. I hope you enjoy this new endeavor!