I am grateful for the range of responses and thank each author for the careful and insightful engagement. Three key themes emerge from the discussion: the need for pragmatism; the relation to movements in the Global South; and the fraught politics of recognition and representation.

First, both Steven Kapp and Ari Ne’eman defend ASAN against my characterization of it as taking a liberal approach. Both stress that the organization is deeply pragmatic, implying that my call for Neurodivergent Power is comparatively impractical.

To clarify, I am not against most of the strategies of the liberal approach: indeed, I take such efforts to be vital. I also think many key ideals of liberalism—personal freedom, individual rights, and the like—are valuable, properly understood. As Adorno teaches, the issue is that there has not yet been a world where these can be widely attained. So while I emphasize the limitation of liberal politics, we nonetheless share important underlying commitments.

Given these shared commitments, I think we would agree on the need for a wider set of strategies. After all, neither Kapp nor Ne’eman gives convincing reason to think that a liberal approach does not have the limitations I have noted. The need to augment it thus remains. To deny the utility of adding further strategies to those we already have would be a failure in the pragmatism to which both authors aspire.

We need a wider set of strategies.

Second, Kapp as well as Liat Ben-Moshe raise important concerns about the relevance of disability and neurodiversity frameworks across the Global South. I agree that not every community will find the language of neurodivergence or disability useful and, certainly, that no framework should be enforced.

But it would be misleading to frame the neurodiversity movement only as a product of the Global North. Neither North nor South is homogeneous, and neurodiversity frameworks have been developed unevenly across both. While the movement has flourished in Canada, it has not achieved anything like the same impact in Germany, where even the term “neurodiversity” is hard to translate without sounding highly technical and clunky. At the same time, Chile has arguably led the way in neurodiversity activism for some years, to the point that neurodivergent people’s liberation was included in Chileans’ 2022 proposal for a new constitution. There are now neurodiversity activists using disability frameworks on every continent, as the brilliant talks in the “Autism and the Majority World” seminar I co-organized last year illustrate.

In her insightful presentation in that seminar, neurodivergent activist Yulin Chen describes how non-autistic people in positions of power have dismissed her neurodiversity activism in Hong Kong as irrelevant outside the West, using this as an excuse to maintain the hegemony of the medical model (which is, ironically, in significant part itself imported from the West). While I agree that we should be wary of imposing frameworks, with this case in mind, I want to equally caution against undermining the efforts of growing numbers of neurodiversity activists in the majority world. If we frame neurodiversity as a movement invented by and only for the Global North (or the West), their efforts may face even more of an uphill battle.

Third, several respondents consider recognition and representation in the neurodiversity movement. Some focus on the inclusion of autistic people with significant intellectual and cognitive disabilities. Kristin Bumiller raises the important issue of how liberal neurodiversity proponents can sometimes reify autism as an essentialist form of “genetic identity” in ways that are not just conceptually and scientifically untenable, but also erase the complexity of autistic ways of being. I agree, and I have written on the issue of essentialism in conceptions of both autism and impairment more generally. My hope is that a Marxian approach, attentive to political economy, will help us see not just autism but also impairment and disability writ large from a historicized perspective, allowing us to acknowledge both their social reality and their historical construction I also hope that a historically contingent understanding of such classifications may help us reconfigure them to serve the most marginalized, as Bumiller and Ne’eman rightly enjoin.

Similarly, Catherine Tan draws attention to those with “severely limited communication skills and intellectual or cognitive disability,” emphasizing how some parents have clashed with neurodiversity proponents over whether the autism spectrum should be divided into more specific subcategories such as “profound autism.” “Who are the activists that will join this revolution?” she asks. “Who will be able to meaningfully participate in this revolution?”

These are important questions to which I do not have all the answers. I see the underlying issues here less as about which conceptual framework we favor and more about the unbearable material conditions of post-Fordism, which usually requires both parents to work fulltime to being able to afford having children. This arrangement makes raising any child extremely hard, let alone one with further support needs. As to how to represent different neurodivergent groups, participatory processes must be built into party organizing and democratic practices, not least in order to shape the policy decisions that are proposed and fought for, and where relevant this should include space for carers as well as disabled people ourselves. When it comes to non-speaking autistic people, such processes are something we must put every effort into building, while also acknowledging that it will require ongoing struggle, especially for activist communities with limited funding and resources.

More broadly, Ben-Moshe, Bumiller, Tan, and Shirley Lin draw attention not so much to what I include in the essay but to a range of further issues, communities, and voices I did not cover, or only had room to cover briefly, such as more recent Black feminist perspectives. Lin nuances my proposals and draws attention to important work on race and disability law in the United States. I agree with each author on all these points: the various perspectives and communities each mentions must be central to building of Neurodivergent Power.

Finally, Ben-Moshe notes that the turn I propose resonates with the Disability Justice movement. As I have written elsewhere, I consider myself a proponent of Disability Justice and continue to learn much from its pioneers in the United States. But to my mind this movement has important strategic differences from the Marxian-influenced approach I call for, which I see as becoming more relevant again after decades of neoliberal capitalism. As each approach has its own strengths, limitations, and potential dangers, my hope is that in a politics of Neurodivergent Power the two might be synthesized. How this turns out will be something to be worked out collectively.