My mind is a beautiful variant of the neurotypical mind. I’m neuro-variant.

Author’s note: Original post here. A few months back I changed my Everyday Aspie blog to Everyday Autistic blog and as a result it’s hard to find and I lost 1000 subscribers. As a solution, I’ll post some things here, once in awhile, in order to keep readers in the loop. I hope you and yours are well during these very challenging times.

A variant of a particular thing is something that has a different form from that thing, although it is related to it. “The quagga was a strikingly beautiful variant of the zebra.” (Collins Dictionary) This makes me think: “The Autistic individual’s way of thinking was a strikingly beautiful variant of the neurotypical’s mind.” The sentence doesn’t imply one is inferior or superior to the other. A zebra is just as cool as a quagga. But they differ. And beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

VARIANT(biology): a group of organisms within a species that differ in trivial ways from similar groups.

Trivial being a subjective term. Autistic individuals definitely differ from similar groups.

VARIANT(adj): differing from a norm or standard. (

VARIANT(noun): something which differs in form from another thing, though really the same. (Webster dictionary).

I have differences in my neurology, but we are all really the same; we are all human beings and stem from similar biology. We are all part of biodiversity, even as some of us vary significantly from a societal concept of a mainstream norm. The ideal norm doesn’t exist. We are all unique in our makings.

Since starting my journey in the realm of autism, when my middle son was diagnosed at the U.C. Davis Mind Institute in California with Asperger’s Syndrome (2004), I’ve been immersed in learnings related to hidden disabilities and aspects of Western social constructs. My footpath to discovery was lined with groundbreaking pioneers, the likes of Jim Sinclair and his profound literature piece: Don’t Mourn for Us and from the authentic words of Donna Williams including the bestseller book: Somebody Somewhere: Breaking Free from the World of Autism.

There was still much to be learned.

In 2012, I discovered I was on the autism spectrum (diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome). From the perspective of a mother, woman, professional, and a human being, as my travels continued, to my dismay, I discovered endless stereotypes, inaccuracies, and falsehoods about autism. From educated professionals to the average citizen, autism was seen as ‘broken.’ According to the world, my son and I were ‘broken.’

The vastness of the beautiful autism spectrum was diluted and marred with colors of bleakness and inadequateness.

The social model of disability led me to new awakenings, led me past the bleakness that Western society had marked upon the concept of the Autistic mind.

Moving away from the deficit, medical-model lens of autism enabled me to embrace my identity and the neurodiversity movement.

Further dabbles in aspects of quantum theory, Tibetan Buddhism, and religion and spiritual practices at large, led way to new awakenings of my mind. A time period in my life in which I found that one of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s inspirations and role models was a world-renowned family therapist, Virginia Satir. A tall, remarkably-wise woman I’d sat with as a child under the redwood trees of Northern California; a part of my journey, in which I learned of her teachings. It was then I knew I wanted to be a teacher and a counselor, in some capacity, and told my mother so, at the age of eight. My mind has a way of finding paths that lead back to the beginning.

In my moments of deep introspection, and even in simple moments, such as upon awakening, I often glimpse understandings, and stand as observer, as my mind scaffolds off past-learnings and discoveries. Today, when I awoke, new concepts came to light. Interlinking and interplaying sparks of thoughts.

I’d been reflecting on my self-identity and how to present my identity in a way that resonates with my soul and personhood.

A cornucopia of variances from the norm, diagnosed Aspergers, gifted-intellect and being a dyslexic, dyspraxic, and hyperlexic, I am very much an Autistic woman immersed in a rainbow of transitioning understandings and truths. A true ‘blended-neurodivergent.’

Being I am often speaking internationally on the topic of autism, neurodiversity, and belonging, it is a necessity that I am clear within myself who I am. The names I call myself are a reflection of my selfhood. The labels that I choose carry depth and meaning. How I choose to identify carries great power.

This morning my mind scaffolded of the word ‘neurodivergent.’

Neurodivergent is a person whose neurology (mind/brain) varies significantly from the mainstream of society.

Neurodiversity being a term, movement, and code/paradigm, no one is neurodiverse or neurodiversity. But we are all under the neurodiversity umbrella; and some of us our neurodivergent.

Neurominority is a term coined by some respected, key thought leaders to represent neurodivergent. Another word for neurodivergent with the same basic meaning. It’s an attempt to steer away from the idea that non-neurotypical individuals (e.g., ADHDers, Autistics, Dyslexics) are the negative connotation of ‘divergents.’

But ‘minority’ has its own negative connotations.

In my upcoming book (Autism in a Briefcase: Straight talk about belonging in a neurodiverse world) I elected to use ‘minority’ sparingly. It was only used to emphasize power disparities or provide meaning in context. Even then, I used quotation marks to indicate that the majority group/dominant group is perceiving the subordinate group as outside of a societal norm or majority, as opposed to viewing the distinct individuals in the group with innate complexities.

I also use minority interchangeable with a subordinate group to signify group members/individuals who have differences that set them apart from the mainstream dominant group—individuals who experience narrowed opportunities and limited control or power over their own lives.

I understand ‘minority’ is a concept that represents a group with its own social norms. Yet ‘minority’ also has a tainted history of longstanding oppression of my non-white friends and current and past citizens of the world.

Also, ‘minority’ doesn’t always denote a true minority, numerically-speaking, but a subset of members of society that are perceived as not part of the mainstream; it implies not belonging, exclusion. For instance, “Non-Hispanic whites have fallen to less than 50 percent of the population in the country’s two most populous states, California and Texas.” In cases where the numerical value doesn’t represent an actual minority, what remains is a residue of oppression and exclusion. A means for one group to feel superior toward another.

Exclusion to me is worse than diverging.

I don’t mind diverging from a mainstream norm that has led to corruption, lies, violence, segregation, oppression, and the destruction of earth. Neurodivergent is a term I am okay using, and will continue to use, for now.

In my studies related to intersectionality (a word coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw), I have noted how some Black Americans and other non-white individuals (and their allies) are advocating to move away from the word ‘minority,’ when speaking about a certain marginalized group or member of that group.

In addition, one can be ‘in a minority’ but a person isn’t a ‘minority.’ “Though a group of people may be “in the minority” based on numbers, they should not be labeled ‘a minority’ or ‘the minority.’”

I don’t want to be labeled a ‘neurominority.’ But, I don’t mind if someone else labels themself that. We each have a right to how we self-identify.

While it’s useful to use ‘minority’ to indicate an underserved community of people or to gain access to services and advocate for civil rights, the word is becoming outdated in terms of a personal identity. Perhaps it can serve as a transitional word to prove a point that social justice is urgently required. Those of us who are a part of a neurominority group are declaring to the authorities and powers that be that we deserve basic civil rights, like any other underrepresented minority group in society: the core of the autism movement, turned neurodiversity movement.

I want my self-identity to clearly state my intention.

My intention is to be a strong citizen of the world and to buck against a system of oppression. To stand against othering and ableism and to expose the inner-workings that perpetuate acts of discrimination and inferior/superior mindsets.

As educators or professionals in the field of neurodiversity, it is important to share how different people in a culture self-identify: all the ways, not just my preference: on the autism spectrum, Aspergers, Autistic, with autism, neurodivergent, neurominority, with ADHD, ADHDers, dyslexic, with dyslexia, and so forth.

Another word for neurodivergent is neurodistinct. In my opinion, many of my non-neurodivergent, neurotypical friends are also neuro-distinct. Just not in ways that fit under the neurodivergent umbrella; an umbrella that is vastly expanding to represent a majority of the population (e.g., learning disabilities, mood disorders, brain injury, autism spectrum conditions, Tourettes, etc.)

I think we are all neurodistinct. I don’t want to imply I am better in some way. Though I can see how there are distinct aspects about my neurology and how that label of neurodistinct can be used effectively.

It’s a personal choice.

At one point, I invented neuro-notable; I use it to make a point, but not to self-identify. I am noted for my brain variance in comparison to the mainstream. Notable still has this connotation of being better or worthy of being noted. And it’s a mouthful.

This morning, when I awoke, the idea of the word variant piqued my interest. Specifically: Neurovariant.

By actual definition, variant means that a difference is dictated by a standard. Me being ‘different’ is dictated by societal standards. From now, until a new word pops into my mind or someone else’s mind (or the collective unconscious), I am sticking with Neurovariant (NeuroV) in my presentations and talks. And in my self-identity.

I prefer to be seen as a human being with a beautiful variance from the typical mind.

Marcelle Ciampi M.Ed. (aka Samantha Craft), a respected Autistic author and worldwide advocate, is best known for her writings found in the well-received book Everyday Aspergers. She is also the author of upcoming book Autism in a Briefcase and a contributing author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism. She serves as the Ambassador and Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Ultranauts Inc., an engineering firm with an autism hiring initiative, featured in the New York Times. Ciampi is credited for contributing to an innovative universal design approach for inclusion. Her resources have enabled 1000s of adults to receive an autism diagnosis. A former school teacher, Ciampi has been featured in various literature, including peer-reviewed journals, the Stanford project: ND GiFTS, ICare4 Autism, Exceptional Needs Today, Autism Parenting Magazine, Oracle, Neuroclastic, ERE, Different Brains, and more. Considered an expert in the field of neurodiversity in the workplace, by key thought leaders, Marcelle has been quoted in multiple books and research studies. Her knowledge is shared through consultancy work at quality enterprises, such as Uptimize and Spectrum Fusion. Marcelle is diagnosed autistic with gifted-intellect, and is also dyslexic, dyspraxic, hyperlexic.

Photo from 2015

Hello From Sam!

Sam and her partner J David Hall

Hello All.

I hope you are well during these challenging times.

I am writing to provide a few updates (2020) for anyone who happens upon this homepage.

My third blog is a bit hard to find, since I changed the domain name. Here is the direct link to Everyday Autistic. My artist’s blog is Belly of a Star.

Here is the Autistic Trait’s List.

Here is my company website Spectrum Suite LLC, which includes 100s of resources and our services page.

Here is a link to one of my Linkedin Articles that will bring you to my profile and some articles there!

My new works include much advocacy for Universal Design in the Workplace, which equates to true inclusivity, where all employees are given opportunity to the same support measures and community engagement, such as the same best-practices interviews, job coaches, support team; not just one marginalized minority, e.g., autistic individuals.

I am working on a book on empowerment on the autism spectrum.

I am my waving from afar, and wishing you so very well! I cannot believe it’s been 8 YEARS!

Feel free to connect on twitter or Facebook.

I’m on the bottom right, in the photo below, speaking at the Stanford Neurodiversity Summit. You can find out what we’ve been up to on the website. Here is a 10 hr.+ video of Day 2 at the Summit!

My book is now available around the world in paperback! Check out Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Everyday Aspergers is an unusual and powerful exploration of one woman’s marvelously lived life. Reminiscent of the best of Anne Lamott, Everyday Aspergers jumps back and forth in time through a series of interlocking vignettes that give insight and context to her lived experience as an autistic woman. The humor and light touch is disarming, because underneath light observations and quirky moments are buried deep truths about the human experience and about her own work as an autistic woman discerning how to live her best life. From learning how to make eye contact to finding ways to communicate her needs to being a dyslexic cheerleader and a fraught mother of also-autistic son, Samantha Craft gives us a marvelous spectrum of experiences. Highly recommended for everyone to read — especially those who love people who are just a little different.”~ Ned Hayes, bestselling author of The Eagle Tree

Speaking at Stanford Neurodiversity Summit

Everyday Aspergers: THE BOOK

I invite you to take a look inside of my book Everyday Aspergers.

Take a look here.

(I just deleted an entire paragraph explaining why I am uncomfortable with self-promotion. I’ll spare you the details!)

My publisher, Your Stories Matter, took great care to provide this ‘book-to-look’ version of the second edition of Everyday Aspergers.

(I’ve truly failed at promoting my own book. I usually promote Steve Silberman’s book in my travels and teachings. Typical me!)

Over a year ago, I decided to move my memoir from one agency to another. I made this decision to ensure the paperback was available outside of the USA. Here are ten facts you might not know about E.A.

The second edition of Everyday Aspergers : A Journey on the Autism Spectrum can be purchased on Amazon in several countries. It makes a great gift!

The new book cover is by a talented autistic author and writer. The pages, of the new edition, have photos and images from my childhood. I added a new end chapter. The layout, pages, and style are different. It’s the same story in an enhanced casing.

My three sons and me in 2018.


It’s All About the Ovaries (Second Edition of Everyday Aspergers: Part One)

So, I’ve been procrastinating on this post since December 2018.

I’ve analyzed why and have come up short. It’s likely that I don’t care much for self-promotion. Indeed, in the last 6+ years I can count on one hand how many times I’ve asked folks to share about my Everyday Aspergers Facebook page. (And that counts the mention here!) If you haven’t checked it out, please do.

I could blame my procrastination on the countdown to menopause, which I hope and pray arrives tomorrow, as I’ve been dealing with the complexity of endometriosis for years, including the 2018 road traveled of chocolate cysts. Don’t let the name fool you; it’s all about the blood. And now that I’ve over-shared, I will switch gears.



Recently, I’ve had a profound peace — could be hormones shifting and my lady parts semi-retiring — could not. (Oops, focus Sam!) I’d like to think it’s something to do with my faith and spirit. It’s likely a combination of coffee, getting older, and finally getting fed up with not speaking up for myself and finally understanding boundaries! That, and I do feel the presence of an angelic spirit. But that’s another story.

Not much has changed (with my brain) in the past years, since I started writing Everyday Aspergers. Which now has over 1.4 million hits! Well, yes, some of the reason behind the high ‘hit’ number is because there are over 500 posts! Omgosh — write much?

My point being, I still digress to a close-to-annoying degree.

That’s likely why I typically get called to interview for a job, based on my awesome resume, skills, and experience, but don’t seem to ever get the job! (In fact, I don’t even get a rejection letter — just GHOSTED.) Picture me bungee jumping off a high cliff of ‘tell us a bit about yourself,’ and swirling in rapid circles, giggling like I’m twelve, raising my voice in high pitch, fidgeting about, announcing how proud I am to have ASPERGERS, and then correcting myself: “I mean to be on the autism spectrum.”

I leave an interview feeling like I either nailed it and they absolutely LOVED me, and want to be my best friend, or convinced I terrified the living daylights out of them. It’s likely the latter. As I mentioned: I don’t ever hear back. Thank the lord for my job at, where being neurodivergent is the norm! Thank my lucky stars. (< Madonna video)

Ironically, I have studied 1000s of hours of best hiring practices for my vocation, and can’t seem to keep my Aspie-ness in a bag when under distress at an interview. There must be a pill I can take. (Now picturing Violet in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and now must Google to find an image.) “. .  . because Charlie she’s a nitwit.” Not to say I’m a nitwit.




Okay, alas the REAL point of this post is to tell you THE SECOND EDITION OF EVERYDAY ASPERGERS IS HERE! And it’s now available in paperback in many countries. Check out Amazon or ask your local library to see if they can order it. Look at the PRETTY cover by an autistic artist (and my friend and colleague)!

USA amazon

UK amazon

AU amazon

10 Facts You May Not Know About the Book Everyday Aspergers

Are we friends yet? (Facebook link)


Okay … done! Although, I don’t think this is what my publisher had in mind.  (scan down for more.)



On a side note, I will speak to you as if you and I are in a cafe, and I’m catching you up with my medical stories. Sorry for the monologue, and the white-haired man sitting kitty-corner to us that is blushing because I am talking too loud.

This here ^^  … that’s an image of a chocolate cyst. Funny story … after an ultrasound in early 2018, when I found out I had at least one chocolate cyst, (and had gone to the emergency room in excruciating pain, and was curled up on couch most days for weeks) in typical Sammy-fashion, I researched with hyper-focus about the chocolate cysts and implemented some home treatments — including essential oil, strict dietary change, etc.

When I returned months later for a follow-up ultrasound, the technician confirmed indeed the cysts presented (3 of them) exactly like ‘chocolate’ cysts! Immediately following, (literally a few steps down the hall), my OBGYN doc informs me, “The cysts are shrinking, and that doesn’t happen with chocolate cysts, so we can’t call them that anymore. They don’t shrink.”

I was dumbfounded.

Surely, in some cases they can? And I’d done so much, including talking to my body, to ensure healing.

My scrunched up face demonstrated I was confused, as I asked in a high-pitched voice, that no longer suits my age: “Well, what would we call them if they weren’t shrinking?”

She responded, “Oh, definitely chocolate cysts.”

I then got that familiar feeling in my gut that means ‘NO ONE on this planet is truly an expert in anything and most of the time professionals are talking out their donkey.’

(“vulgar slang To say foolish things; to talk of nonsense. Don’t pay Jonathan any mind, Mary, he’s just talking out his ass again.”)

The next time I went back in for a check up, with said Doc, she informs that my chocolate cysts are shrinking or stabilized.

So I guess we are back to calling them that?

Anyhow, it reminds me of the time I had a dead front tooth, when I was in my early 20s, and I went to a dentist that a colleague had suggested I see. It was 1992, a sunny day. The dentist’s recommendation for my dead tooth’s discoloring was to darken all my teeth to match!!! Yes, that’s right. And, noooo, I did not!

I have trouble believing this actually transpired, especially after I told my dental hygienist the story yesterday, and she said that’s the worst telling she has heard to date. Also, because decades have past with my pretty veneer tooth. (The other dentist I saw bleached all my teeth to match the new veneer. Yin and Yang. Dark and Light. Theme of my life.)

(On another side note: I found out this week I have no cavities and an unusually small mouth [which matches my usually small head]. And I warned the dental hygienist not to say she has a small mouth despite what her husband says, because that can be interpreted in different ways.

She was appreciative, and said, “We’re going to get along just fine.”

I always find it to be an interesting phenomenon when I give out unsolicited advice to non-autistics about social graces.)

Needless to say, I never went back to that dentist who wanted to darken my teeth! But the young, inexperienced (terrified) me did shake hysterically in her car afterward. The same way I shook after seeing a ‘specialist’ a few years back.

That time a doctor would diagnose me with ‘a close cousin to POTS syndrome,’ (as my blood pressure acted a bit different from typical POTS, but the tilt table test confirmed the condition.)

This was after 5 ER visits wherein my pulse would go to 160 upon standing, wherein the IV would add sodium to my blood, and remedy the POTS-like reaction, making me seem better; only to be sent home and the symptoms to come back (160 upon standing, weak, shaking, etc.); only for me to return to the ER and be told I must be inventing it for attention.

Yes, hysteria is still widely falsely the diagnosis for women! No wonder I have white-coat syndrome.

Fortunately, my then-husband Bob (now-good friend) was in the patient room with the ‘specialist’ (notice the quotes) and me, when the Doc told me my diagnosis and prescribed an exact treatment plan, e.g, constricting stockings, raise bed, exercise regime, salt intake, etc.

A year later, I came back, feeling super pleased I’d followed the Doc’s directions, and was able to sit up for long periods of time, and return to life as normal (well atypical normal). BUT THEN . . . she SCOLDED me, accusing me of making my condition up, and saying I didn’t have POTS, and didn’t have to do all that. That I wasted my money on salt pills and where did I get the idea I had POTS?

I had to phone my ex-hubby from the car to avoid a nervous breakdown; literally thought I was losing my mind, until I realized the doctor was …

(Scan down for book reviews.)

So . . . I likely should write another post soon that is more about the book. I will. I think. Can’t wait to see what pops out of LV’s mouth then! Sir Brain is shaking his head in shame. (He doesn’t have ovaries.)

Samantha Craft’s Updates August 2016

last updated August 2018

You can find me at Spectrum Suite LLC  and email me directly at marcellelinn @ icloud . com. Spectrum Suite will soon be offering vocational coaching, life coaching, and spiritual coaching. Stay tuned!

Thank you for your support through the years. I couldn’t have wished for a kinder and more accepting community.

This blog was open from 2012 – 2016. I make updates from time to time with new news.

Sam’s other blog can be found at Everyday Aspie.

Both blogs are retired, after many years of writing, except for occasional updates about happenings related to autism, the autistic community, and the book Everyday Aspergers.

New book I contributed to here

· Amazon US link
· Amazon UK link
· Amazon Australia link
The soft back version is available in USA on Amazon here.
Current updates can be found at my company Spectrum Suite.
Please consider posting a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.


Marcie Ciampi, M.Ed   (AKA: Samantha Craft)

Craft is best known for her prolific writings found in her well received book and blog Everyday Aspergers. A professional educator, she has been published in peer-reviewed journals, been featured in various literature and venues, including Aspien Women, Autism Parenting Magazine, The Mighty,  Spectrum Women, Project Aspie and Different Brains.  She is coauthor of the book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism and speaks on the topic of neurodiversity around the world, including at the Love & Autism Conference (Fall 2018) and Southwest Washington Autism Conference (Fall 2018).

Craft was the Community Achievement Award recipient at the ANCA World Autism Festival (2017), her works have been translated into multiple languages, with her list of traits for females on the autism spectrum shared in counseling offices around the world. Since 2012, she’s had the opportunity to correspond with over 10,000 individuals on the autism spectrum. Her blog Belly of a Star features her paintings and drawings and over 100 poems and spiritual writings. Craft also serves as the Lead Job Recruiter and Community Manager at ULTRA Testing, an innovative technology company with a neurodiversity hiring initiative.