Sara Luterman Profile picture
Oct 4, 2018 9 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I really wish all the panicked, breathless newspaper articles about “banning” clapping at universities would do a little basic research and stop calling sign language applause “jazz hands.”
A little history: The #neurodiversity movement picked up sign language applause because the noise can be painful for some #ActuallyAutistic people. We started doing this in the 1990’s when we started doing IRL events like Autreat. Noise isn’t such a big deal on Usenet or IRC.
I don’t know enough about #Deaf history to know when applause was added to the American or British Sign Language vocabularies but they definitely did it first.
In the #neurodiversity community we often call sign language applause “flapplause” because many of us like flapping our hands as a form of stimming and enjoy a good portmanteau.
I have been to many events outside of universities that used flapplause/sign language applause instead of regular applause. This has included major scientific conferences and work summits full of C-suite executives.
People in the “real world” adjust their behavior to make other people with different needs more comfortable and happy. It’s called empathy. You know, that thing autistic people are allegedly worse at than neurotypical people?
Y’all have no idea how much #ActuallyAutistic people modulate every aspect of our behavior in public for your comfort. And you’re going to throw a tantrum because you’re being asked to change one thing you do pretty infrequently anyway? Really?
This is a pretty good example of why “mind-blindness” and theory of mind are pretty garbage. Neurotypical people are pretty terrible at seeing things from autistic perspective, on average. This whole clapping kerfuffle is a case study in NT empathy failure.
I’d rather flap. Deal with it. 😎

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