Shared themes emerged quickly; I found the travails of the parents who were across the circle from me resonating with my own, sibling perspective. The format allowed me to hold in mind the focal concerns shared between me and those discussants who were explicitly and avowedly on the autism spectrum, when in other circumstances I might have descended into argument about who ‘owns’ the diagnosis and at what level on the continuum a categorical disability begins.
We all were able to agree that the categorical nature of language falsifies the more complex and shaded reality of the autism spectrum.
My sole regret is that others hadn’t the privilege of benefiting from the discussion – at least not directly – because, by design, none of it was noted in writing or otherwise recorded, and there was no audience. I recognise that this private design is meant to facilitate openness, but at the same time I wonder whether elements of the Bohm dialogue format might be adapted to a more public event. I feel that there ought to be room for a public dialogue – ‘public’ both in the sense of being open to the public to listen in, and in the sense of spurring thought within the public realm.
Professor Matthew Belmonte – Autism Dialogue, Sep 2017.