✌️ We Believe

Dehumanizing practices do not belong in schools.

The Need
woman with purple flower on ear

Human-Centered

Dehumanizing practices do not belong in schools.

Trauma-Informed

Attend to the practices, policies, and aspects of institutional culture that traumatize children at school.

Self-Determined

Flow states are the pinnacle of intrinsic motivation, where somebody wants to do something for themselves, for the sake of doing it and doing it well.

Equity Literate

The path to equity requires direct confrontations with inequity.

black background with text overlay screengrab

Open Technology

No student will have mechanical limitations in access to either information or communication.

Our Foundation

Stimpunks Space is funded and operated by Stimpunks Foundation.

🫀 Human-Centered

Twenty Systems, Summarized Within 4 Values Statements, That Must Be Changed for a Human-Centric, Equitable System

Learning is rooted in purpose finding and community relevance.

  1. Map a Path to Purpose
  2. Learn Experientially
  3. Connect to the Community
  4. Promote Literacy
  5. Create Cross-Disciplinary Classrooms

Social justice is the cornerstone to educational success.

  1. Support a Reflective Space
  2. Demand Inclusive Spaces
  3. Authenticate Student Voice
  4. Adopt Critical Pedagogy
  5. Utilize Restorative Justice

Dehumanizing practices do not belong in schools.

  1. Radically Reduce Homework
  2. Build Strong Relationships
  3. Eliminate Grading
  4. Redefine Assessment and End Testing
  5. Reform Food Systems

Learners are respectful toward each other’s innate human worth.

  1. Self-Direct Learning
  2. Support and Elevate Teachers
  3. Stay Buzzword Free
  4. Cooperate, Don’t Force Competition
  5. Support Multi-Age Classrooms

Source: The Need

child listening to music from tablet

Create a neurodiverse inclusive environment.

  • Adapt the Environment
    1. The sensory environment
    2. The timely environment
    3. The explicit environment
    4. The predictable environment
    5. The social environment
  • Support the Individual
    1. Disclosing diagnosis
    2. Project management
    3. Communication styles
    4. Well-being and work-life balance
    5. Trouble-shooting

Source: “IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE”

students doing their classwork together

Seven Pathways to Ensuring Life Long Learning Competencies

  • Choice and Comfort
  • Instructional Tolerance
  • Universal Design for Learning/Individualization of Learning
  • Maker-Infused Curriculum
  • Project/Problem/Passion-Based Learning
  • Interactive Technologies
  • Connectivity

Source: Seven Pathways to Ensuring Life Long Learning Competencies

The Eight GAP Principles

The Eight Principles of Good Autism Practice are embedded in four themes: ‘Understanding the Individual’, ‘Positive and Effective Relationships’, ‘Enabling Environments’, and ‘Learning and Development’.

Understanding the Individual

Principle One: Understanding the strengths, interests, and needs of each autistic child.
Principle Two: Enabling the autistic child to contribute to
and influence decisions.

Positive and Effective Relationships

Enabling Environments

Principle Five: Leadership and management that promotes and embeds good autism practice.
Principle Six: An ethos and environment that fosters social inclusion for autistic children.

Learning and Development

Principle Seven: Targeted support and measuring the progress of autistic children.
Principle Eight: Adapting the curriculum, teaching, and learning to promote wellbeing and success for autistic children.

Source: Schools Competency Framework  | Autism Education Trust

Strong, Trusting Relationships

Autists conceptualise the world in terms of trusted relationships with unique people…

The beauty of collaboration at human scale

…many autistic children reported flourishing at home both educationally and personally. For these children and families, we identified three key ingredients essential to this flourishing, including: (i) the importance of connected, trusting relationships (‘people’); (ii) the sensory and social safety of home (‘place’); and (iii) the flexibility to pace and structure learning to suit the individual child (‘time’).

“It just fits my needs better”: Autistic students and parents’ experiences of learning from home during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic

They need strong, trusting relationships with their teachers and peers; a learning environment that suits their needs; and some flexibility and control over their time and rhythm of their learning

Liz Pellicano on Twitter

🩸 Trauma-Informed

Attend to the practices, policies, and aspects of institutional culture that traumatize children at school.

  • Commitment 1: Attend to the practices, policies, and aspects of institutional culture that traumatize children at school.
  • Commitment 2: We must infuse trauma-informed education with a robust understanding of, and responsiveness to, the traumas of systemic oppression.
  • Commitment 3: Dislodge hyper-punitive cultures and ideologies.

Being trauma-informed means consciously cultivating space in our mental models so that, even if we know nothing about a particular set of circumstances, we avoid the temptation to mindlessly apply rules.

Source: How Trauma-Informed Are We, Really? – ASCD

Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education

Principle 1: Antiracist, anti-oppression—Trauma-informed education is antiracist and against all forms of oppression.

Principle 2: Asset based—Trauma-informed education is asset based and doesn’t attempt to fix kids, because kids are not broken. Instead, it addresses the conditions, systems, and structures that harm kids.

Principle 3: Systems oriented—Trauma-informed education is a full ecosystem, not a list of strategies.

Source: Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education

Principle 4: Human centered—Trauma-informed education means centering our shared humanity.

Principle 5: Universal and proactive—Trauma-informed education is a universal approach, implemented proactively.

Principle 6: Social justice focused—Trauma-informed education aims to create a trauma-free world.

Source: Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education

  1. ​Shift from a reactive stance, in which we identify who has been traumatized and support them, to a proactive approach. Trauma-informed practices are universal and benefit everyone.
  2. ​Shift from a savior mentality, in which we see ourselves as rescuing broken kids, to unconditional positive regard, a mindset that focuses on the inherent skills, capacities, and value of every student. Educators shouldn’t aim to heal, fix, or save but to be connection makers and just one of many caring adults in a child’s life.
  3. ​Shift from seeing trauma-informed practices as the responsibility of individual teachers to embedding them in the way that we do school, from policies to practice. Trauma-informed teachers need trauma-informed leaders.
  4. ​Shift from focusing only on how trauma affects our classroom to seeing how what happens in our classroom can change the world. We can partner with our students as change makers for a more just society.

Source: Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education

💆‍♀️ Self-Determined

Intrinsic Motivation: Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose

How do we build learning environments that embrace intrinsic motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose?

The Gift: LD/ADHD Reframed

What we know about successful human beings is they take an interest and they make it a passion and they take the passion and they make it a sense of purpose and they take the sense of purpose and they build a pathway.

Lab School Lecture Series

Self-Determination and Executive Processes

  1. Engage autistic adolescents and young adults in research on how to leverage strengths and areas of needs related to assessing executive processes to advance self-determined goal-directed actions and use knowledge gained to advance decision-making about sup- ports for assessment and intervention.
  2. Integrate objective measures of executive processes with subjective measures of self-determination to understand how objective indicators and subjective perceptions change, or do not change, together with interventions and supports.
  3. Enhance self-determination interventions, including facilitator training protocols such as those associated with the SDLMI, to explicitly target a range of executive processes, particularly cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control, guided by the values and needs of the autistic community.
  4. Recognize the unique issues encountered by all adolescents, including autistic adolescents, and consider how the increased risk taking and impulsivity that may manifest during the transition to adulthood period can be reframed as opportunities to learn and build more lifelong supports for self-determination that will generalize to early adulthood environments, consistent with Causal Agency Theory.
  5. Increase understanding of systemic factors (e.g., access to personalized supports, interventions, opportunities) that can be changed to maximize outcomes for autistic adolescents and young adults, with a focus on a strength-based perspective.
  6. Recognize and honor neurodiversity in all assessment and intervention design and implementation, as well as in all research activities.

Source: Advancing the Personalization of Assessment and Intervention in Autistic Adolescents and Young Adults by Targeting Self-Determination and Executive Processes | Autism in Adulthood

It is reasonable to ask, particularly given the range of terminology used to define the executive processes that impact outcomes of young people with disabilities, including autism: Why focus on self-determination? Why is innovation in theory related to self-determination important to guide assessment and intervention to promote positive outcomes across the life course, particularly during the transition from adolescence to adulthood? First, as noted previously, the terminology adopted in self-determination research and practice emerged largely from the voices and advocacy of people with disabilities. Advocates across disability popula- tions have consistently used the term self-determination to describe their right to self-direct their own lives. The impact of this advocacy has been significant, particularly in policy. 

Self-determination is a key value and outcome targeted in disability policies and human right treaties enacted over the past 30 years. The right to self-determination also continues to be a rallying cry in the self-advocate community.4 For example, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) states, ‘‘disability is a natural part of human diversity. Autism is something we are born with, and that shouldn’t be changed. Autistic children should get the support they need to grow up into happy, self-determined autistic adults.’’10 

Second, interventions to promote self-determination have been developed that can support people with disabilities to take steps toward self-directed lives. Such interventions can be personalized based on strengths, interests, and supports. There is the inherent diversity in the autistic community (e.g., ‘‘There is no one way to be autistic’’).11 Understanding each autistic person’s strengths and support needs, from their perspective, must be a focus of self-determination interventions particularly during the transition to adulthood when there are new and changing demands. 

Advancing the Personalization of Assessment and Intervention in Autistic Adolescents and Young Adults by Targeting Self-Determination and Executive Processes | Autism in Adulthood

Self-Determination Theory: unapologetically antithetical to behaviorism

The locus of pathology exists not in the autistic person, but in the interaction between a hostile environment and the subjugated autistic. It is essential for parents, practitioners, educators, and autistic people themselves to ask the crucial question— Is the autistic a machine, or an organism? Are we active agents in our own embodied experience, or are we a locus of behavior? It is not with defiance, but autonomy, that I declare as an autistic person— I am not a manifestation of stimuli and response. I am agential. I am Autonomously Autistic.

Despite the field of Disability Studies’ rhetorical progress toward new models of disability, Autistic subjectivity is still locked within medical pathologies and assumptions of deficit. Self-Determination Theory provides an intriguing contrast to other psychological frameworks, making it possible to reconceptualize and re-localize deficit. We can then disrupt our assumptions and form new principles that empower autistic people to develop in autonomous, competent, connected, and self-directed ways.

Self-Determination Theory positions itself as directly and unapologetically antithetical to behaviorism, a fact that manifests in the literature repeatedly in behaviorist commentary…

Autonomously Autistic | Canadian Journal of Disability Studies

Everyone should have the right to make choices. Some people make choices differently than others. Some people get help from a few friends or family members to make choices. Some people show other people what they have chosen through gestures or actions rather than words. But all people, no matter what disability they have or what support needs they have, can make choices. 

Supported decision-making is an idea about the right to make choices. Everyone needs help to make decisions sometimes. Disabled people might need more help. We might need a lot more help. But, needing help isn’t a good reason to take away someone’s choices. Supported decision making means that even if someone needs a lot of help, they still have the right to make their own choices.

We also have the right to communicate and tell people about the choices we make. We have the right to communicate in whatever way works best for us. Everybody communicates – whether using language, behavior, gestures, facial expressions, sounds, or other means. We have the right to use augmented and alternative communication (AAC) methods, like sign language, communication boards, and iPads. Effective communication is a key part of self-determination!

Self-Determination – Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Flow States Are the Pinnacle of Intrinsic Motivation

People need to feel appreciated and safe, to give themselves to an activity; and they need to feel like they are making progress to keep giving themselves to it. To get into The Zone, you need to know you’re getting somewhere, that you’re in the process of mastering a skill – you need ongoing feedback, whether from another person or another source. There is also something uniquely satisfying about working with other people effectively, towards a shared goal; in my experience there is no substitute when it comes to building a community.

Flow states are the pinnacle of intrinsic motivation, where somebody wants to do something for themselves, for the sake of doing it and doing it well.

Flow allows us to recharge, to feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction, and a kind of respite from the often-baffling demands of the school social environment.

Craft, Flow and Cognitive Styles

⚖️ Equity Literate

With this in mind, my purpose is to argue that when it comes to issues surrounding poverty and economic justice the preparation of teachers must be first and foremost an ideological endeavour, focused on adjusting fundamental understandings not only about educational outcome disparities but also about poverty itself. I will argue that it is only through the cultivation of what I call a structural ideology of poverty and economic justice that teachers become equity literate (Gorski 2013), capable of imagining the sorts of solutions that pose a genuine threat to the existence of class inequity in their classrooms and schools.

Source: Poverty and the ideological imperative: a call to unhook from deficit and grit ideology and to strive for structural ideology in teacher education

The Direct Confrontation Principle

The Direct Confrontation Principle: The path to equity requires direct confrontations with inequity—with interpersonal, institutional, cultural and structural racism and other forms of oppression. “Equity” approaches that fail to directly identify and confront inequity play a significant role in sustaining inequity.

Basic Principles for Equity Literacy

The Prioritization Principle

The Prioritization Principle: In order to achieve equity we must prioritize the interests of the students and families whose interests historically have not been prioritized. Every policy, practice, and program decision should be considered through the question, “What impact is this going to have on the most marginalized students and families? How are we prioritizing their interests?”

Basic Principles for Equity Literacy

The “Fix Injustice, Not Kids” Principle

The “Fix Injustice, Not Kids” Principle: Educational outcome disparities are not the result of deficiencies in marginalized communities’ cultures, mindsets, or grittiness, but rather of inequities. Equity initiatives focus, not on “fixing” students and families who are marginalized, but on transforming the conditions that marginalize students and families.

Basic Principles for Equity Literacy

Avoid These Equity Pitfalls

Equity Pitfalls

Avoid These Equity Pitfalls

  1. Universal Validation – Not all ideas and perspectives are equitable. We don’t want to validate someone’s racist perspective. Equity is not about universal validation.
  2. Equity Detours: Addressing Equity Problems with Cultural Solutions – There is no path toward equity that does not involve a direct confrontation with inequity.
  3. Lack of Leadership – The people with the most equity literacy have to be the people with the most power.
  4. Going at the Pace of the Most Resistant – We are prioritizing the comfort of the people who are most resistant instead of prioritizing the discomfort the most marginalized people in the institution experience.
  5. Doing What’s Popular Instead of Doing What’s Effective
  6. Embracing a Deficit Ideology Instead of a Structural Ideology – If your equity initiatives are about fixing marginalized people rather than about addressing the conditions that marginalize people, there’s no way to get to equity.

🔧 Open Technology

The Basics of Open Technology

No student will have mechanical limitations in access to either information or communication — whether through disability, inability at this moment, or even just discomfort. Learning is our goal, and we make it accessible.

  • Student Control
  • An Abundance of Tools
  • Accessibility
  • Access Everywhere
  • BYOD and an Open Network
  • Talk to Parents
  • Worry About Behavior, Not Technology
  • Spend Wisely
  • Trust in Children and Childhood

Source: The Basics of Open Technology

Toolbelt Theory

We want our children to discover how to choose effectively for their own needs. To do that, they need choices, and so we believe in Toolbelt Theory.

The Basics of Open Technology
black leather backpack on persons lap

Tools matter though. They are the most basic thing about being human.

They matter most for those who lack the highest capabilities.

And everyone needs a properly equipped Toolbelt to get through life.

Toolbelt Theory for Everyone

Toolbelt Theory is based in the concept that students must learn to assemble their own readily available collection of life solutions. They must learn to choose and use these solutions appropriately, based in the task to be performed, the environment in which they find themselves, their skills and capabilities at that time, and the ever-changing universe of high and low-tech solutions and supports.

So, the Toolbelt is designed to:

  • Break the dependence cycle
  • Develop lifespan technology skills
  • Limit limitations
  • Empower student decision making
  • Prepare students for life beyond school

Source: A Toolbelt for a Lifetime

The Open Schoolhouse

We believe this act of human collaboration across an open platform is essential to individual growth and our collective future.

The flat-world technology revolution asks us to rethink our notion of what it means to be educated and literate in the 21st Century. However, one traditional skill remains unchanged: the ability to artfully and effectively self-express through writing. Blogs, reports, essays, and Tweets; writing across multiple modalities is learning made visual–and a full keyboard is still the most efficient tool to hone this skill.

The Open Schoolhouse – Building a Technology Program to Transform Learning and Empower Students

🏩 Our Foundation

Stimpunks Space is funded and operated by Stimpunks Foundation.

Mutual Aid and Human-Centered Learning for Neurodivergent and Disabled Creators
Mutual Aid and Human-Centered Learning for Neurodivergent and Disabled Creators

Stimpunks Foundation sponsors and employs neurodivergent and disabled creators and amplifies their work to our clients and throughout society. We exist for the direct support and mutual aid of neurodivergent and disabled people.

We complement mutual aid to creators with learning spaces for creators. Stimpunks Foundation serves neurodivergent and disabled people unserved by public and private schools. Via equity, access, empathy, and inclusivity, we build community learning space respectful of all types of bodyminds.

Read more about the philosophy of Stimpunks Space over at the Foundation website.

it is reckless to suppose that biodiversity can be diminished indefinitely without threatening humanity itself. Field studies show that as biodiversity is reduced, so is the quality of the services provided by ecosystems. Records of stressed ecosystems also demonstrate that the descent can be unpredictably abrupt. 

E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation » The Diversity of Life

‘Rebellion’ is not enough. We need to build new systems from the ground up, right now.

And it means grounding this effort in completely new frame of orientation, one in which human beings are inherently interconnected, and inter-embedded within the earth; where we are not atomistically separated from the reality in which we find ourselves as technocratic overlords, but are co-creators of that reality as individuated parts of a continuum of being.

Escaping extinction through paradigm shift
rainbow over river

The spaces where we belong do not exist. We build them with radical love and revolutionary liberation.

GAYATRI SETHI, UNBELONGING

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