Autistic + PhD
Dr. Nick Walker is a legend, a miracle, a being of light, a professor, an aikido teacher and (pause for dramatic effect) autistic.
She is best known for her book Neuroqueer Heresies and her work on neurodiversity and Neuroqueer Theory. (And especially appreciated by me as the first iconic autistic to ever review my book! #PinchMeMoment.)
Scroll down for our Q&A and check out her Autistics Assemble profile here with all the delicious links.
Humaness: A gloriously queer transfeminine author, professor, transdisciplinary scholar, futurist, and aikido teacher.
Passions and expertise: My driving passion in life is for processes of positive human transformation and the blossoming of positive human potentials. In the course of pursuing this passion, I’ve practiced and taught aikido for more than four decades, explored a whole bunch of other transformative embodiment practices, picked up a master’s degree in Somatic Psychology and a PhD in a field called Transformative Studies, helped lay the foundations of the emerging field of Neurodiversity Studies, and written a book called Neuroqueer Heresies.
I also have a great passion for good stories, especially speculative fiction. I’ve written and published a handful of speculative fiction stories, and have more in the works, and I’m co-creator of an ongoing urban fantasy webcomic called Weird Luck (which is my favorite of all the projects I’m involved in).
Autistic joys: I find joy in a great many things. I love physical movement practices like aikido that allow for a lot of spontaneity and a sense of connection to that-which-is-beyond-the-self (e.g., other people, the surrounding space, the divine). I love stories, in any medium, with good long-term character development and intricate long-term plots (which is what I’m creating with the Weird Luck webcomic). I’m also one of those autistics who thrives on intense sensory experience (loud music, spicy food, lots of physical contact).
Sensory specialities: Among other things, the combination of tactile sensitivity, aikido practice, and somatic psychology training has given me the ability to quickly pick up a lot of information about a person through physical contact.
Dreams and goals? Many. So many. A lot of my goals these days pertain to things I want to write and publish, or to long-term projects-in-progress like my aikido dojo and Weird Luck that I want to continue developing. There’s also the broader lifelong goal of spreading sweetness and light.
Ideal world: A world in which cruelty was unfashionable, and kindness was a virtue cherished and cultivated by all.
When did you know you were autistic? Since my early 30s. 32, I think? I’m in my mid-50s now, so it’s been a while.
What do you wish you’d known when you were first diagnosed? That I was also transgender.
Favourite autism-hacks and tips: Have a practice that grounds you and helps you to cultivate your best potentials. Some form of physical practice, a martial art, sitting meditation, prayer, yoga… something. Change or adjust your practice as needed over time, but always have a practice and do it as close to every day as possible.
Autistic hero: My wife.
BONUS! Check out the Weird Luck webcomic; it’s just getting started and it’s going to be quite a ride.