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

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.

Balancing the World; thoughts on leadership and autism

My entire life, like many on the autism spectrum, I have oftentimes been misjudged, misinterpreted, and misunderstood. When I finally, after over four decades on this earth, located individuals with like minds, I was overcome with mixed emotions. I’d finally found “my people” and at the same time lost a piece of myself that I thought was extremely different. Lost in the sense that I came to realize, after conversing with other autistics, that I wasn’t so different and “unique” after all. However, this was okay—extremely okay. Finding a home base community in which I was at last understood, accepted, and supported far out weighed any sense of loss of elements of self.

Four-plus years later, after an outpour of online writing, and I am navigating another aspect of my journey. I am entering another unfamiliar zone—a place of no predictability. I am facing a wide-open space of new people and new encounters. In addition, I am trying my best to maneuver in rarely frequented territory: that of an autistic leader.

Autism, in my case Asperger’s Syndrome, comes in all shapes and sizes, multiple colors of the rainbow. It is truly a spectrum. With autism, there are the typical “gifts” and tribulations. For me, the beneficial attributes of my ASD are profound empathy and insight, prolific writing, poetry, and the ability to put into words my suffering in a way others can understand. In this way, I am able to make the loneliness of some less of a burden, and I have been able to serve as a sort of gateway into a supportive community of other autistics. A community in which we find ourselves in one another. I don’t say this lightly. There have been streams of individuals filtering through the pages of my blogs and social media pages to essentially say that they now have at last found hope—and some a reason to not end their life. I don’t say this to brag, either. Those that have known me, know my heart, and it is for them I speak.

The trouble today is not so much my tribulations related to ASD, such as peak moments of heightened anxiety, bombardments of feelings that at first look are hard to decipher, the jarring reminders every hour of my waking day that I am somehow not built like most others, the intense heartache and lack of breath from searing pangs of empathy, and the worries brought on by my minds ability to steer off into complex, multi-level corridors of discovery. No, it’s not so much in that—though “that” still consumes me. More over, it is this new place I find myself, in where I am exposed.

I am a natural born leader; I always have been, despite my own qualms and misgivings. Despite my protest. Despite my quirks and challenges. Overall, I tend to end up as a voice of some sort–usually for the downcast or underdog. And it’s not amongst my favorite of tasks—this speaking up for myself and others. Indeed, it would be fair to say, I dread many moments beyond the comfort of my home. Still, there are mornings of great hope and gratitude for my ability to reach out, and with this comes waves of great peace; but there, on the other end of the pendulum, is the bareness of naked vulnerability, the removal of shield, the entranceway for stinging spears. There, in the darker zone, lives my fear and weakness, and the very brittle fight to survive exposure. For I’m not the average person, I’m not made the way of the masses. I am very much, despite where I stand, still autistic.

I am hurt daily, by my own accord, by the acceptance of others’ truths as mine. By the energy it takes to abstract and remove everything that doesn’t ring true to me. And to then wade through the muck of others’ ideas, input, feelings, insights—and on an on—to hopefully decipher what is valid and necessary at this time. I am not only balancing myself, which those on the spectrum readily know is a gallant effort, I am also balancing everyone within my reach. In this way, it is hard to be outside exposed in the “real” world.

It is especially challenging when outsiders (who do not know me and often see a reflection of their own self) try to pin their tail of identity onto me. I feel smothered, unrecognized, and brought back to the bastardized halls of my high school years. Brought back to the pettiness, the name-calling, the finger pointing, and relive the nightmares over again. It is equally difficult when another, particularly in the autistic community, starts proclaiming how I should tailor my words to suit their needs—the current societal trends—the current “right way.” To see this conglomeration of “do-gooders” with supposed good intention in mind, attempt to steer me into what is the most well accepted approach of the day is excruciatingly exhausting.

I can only be so much. I can only do so much. And I don’t understand why my own tribe would not see this. They forget that I am autistic. They forget how dreadfully scary this is. How frightening to attempt to build a bridge from the autistic world to the non-autistic world, and to appear “normal” enough in the typical arena to be heard and listened to, and “autistic” enough to be trusted in my own community. It is a fine balancing act in which I am continually on a high wire with a long heavy pole. Constantly pushed off balance while attempting to get to the other side to the unknown. I am walking step-by-step toward something that is neither a goal nor destiny, but rather a calling. I am serving, I am giving, I am loving, I am supporting, I am being my all. Yet no matter how I struggle, no matter where I step, to some, as is this world—it is never enough.


(I normally post at my blog Everyday Aspie, but my WordPress options were not working accurately there today.)


Sam’s book Everyday Aspergers is now available internationally on Amazon.

More information can be found at her company:

10 Years in the Making! Everyday Aspergers

This Blog Everyday Asperger’s by Samantha Craft is retired. Her company website is  Thank you for the community and support you have offered through the years.



In 2004, I was called to write. I dedicated myself to write every day for a year. I only missed one day and completed a 250-page memoir. I often wrote 4 to 10 hours a day. I spent the next years editing because my dyslexia and dysgraphia make it very challenging for me to detect errors. I knew nothing of writing. It was pretty substandard material at the start. I didn’t even know when to capitalize the word ‘mom’ or how to use a semi-colon. It took me three years of writing and editing to find ‘my voice.’

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.16.31 PM

I taught myself to write by studying other books, relentlessly. I took notes and would write pages and pages of words I found (in other books) on notepads. In 2012, I started Everyday Asperger’s (blog) and  wrote almost every day for a year. I then continued posting blog posts several times a month, for another two years. Each Everyday Asperger’s blog post took a long time to edit. Then, after it was online, I would reread the words for an hour (at least) trying to find all the small mistakes that I couldn’t find the first time. (I didn’t mind; it was a type of stimming for me.) At the time of writing the blog, I also reedited some of the original (year 2004) childhood stories.

Recently, after 3.5 years of writing over 1,300 pages online, I began the process for my book: Everyday Aspergers (EA). I tore through 1,200 single-spaced pages of this blog, some of which were my childhood stories, picking and choosing, and then piecing the posts together like a puzzle. This took a solid two months of working almost daily. From there, I refined and refined, trimming most posts to 1/3 original size; some of those posts, if not most, were originally two to three pages long. Next I found little parts that got cut but were still gold nuggets and found places to sprinkle them in.

After that I polished and polished and polished, and began to edit. Soon the final editing took place from December to today. Most weeks I spent the equivalent of a full-time job editing. I also employed the help of a professional editing team. To date, the manuscript for Everyday Aspergers has gone through four editing rounds, in which I read the words (at first 717 pages, then 615 pages, then 417 pages) from start to end. Each page was reedited each time! I’d spend marathon days, up to 12 hours straight editing. Some of the childhood stories have been edited and polished at minimum 15 hours per page! Counting the years before, I’d say the book itself has well over 5,000 hours of editing alone. That doesn’t count any of my writing time. It’s a HUGE accomplishment. It’s not just something I threw together. It has a huge heart and huge effort behind my endeavor.

I cannot wait for the book to be in my hands. More so, I cannot wait for those who wish to have the book to hold the story in their hands! I’ve been waiting since 2004, when I had a dream.

Much love,
Samantha Craft

I updated the Checklist for Females with Aspergers here

Me on Twitter: aspergersgirls

More about the book on  new website





What’s Up?



I have missed you. Everyday Aspergers (EA), the book, is coming along quite well. It’s in the final draft stages and I hope it will be ready for your eyes by this early-May. (And the cover is awesome!!!)

As some of you know, I have spent countless hours editing . . . I recently had a huge aha moment: being dyslexic I ought never ever try to edit! But alas, it’s a bit too late for that. I have ‘literarily’ (notice the non-risqué double entendre?) edited my book more hours than I can calculate. And the book started off at 1,200 pages! Don’t worry, I have a professional editor. Good thing because I still have trouble with sneaky homophones, like verses and versus. Who ever invented the English language sucks.


What’s been challenging is grammar rules—there are lots and lots of rules, and not everyone is in agreement. In addition, commas hurt my eyes, if they are not placed in the correct place; correct as in where it seems I ought to sprinkle a little dash based on the rhythm in my head; not ‘correct’ as in rules. So that’s been an interesting predicament. Also, hyphenated words fall into a similar spot as commas: the inconsistent box. And it doesn’t help that I went through a happy-to-hyphenate stage and a put-a-comma-everywhere phase. I am still recovering.

The other, (likely Aspie-related), recent challenge has been chopping up my previous blog posts,(there’s over 500), rearranging, refining, omitting, rewording, embellishing and realizing that this process is not LYING or being dishonest in the slightest degree.

And the most laughable moment to date, regarding this book journey, (at least according to my autistic partner), is when I said, “I don’t think my book is autistic enough,” with weeping puppy-dog eyes, and he adamantly responded (after asking if I was PMSing), “If you are not autistic then I am not autistic.” So that set things straight. He then added, in his arrogant Aspie-genuis tone, “Plus, you’re like the poster child for Aspergers.” Still processing that one.

sad eyes

Publishing a book is kind of like childbirth—had I known the pain, I doubt I’d ever have started; however, once I see my baby, it will be worth every agonizing moment. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I do have to say that my psychological metamorphosis has been fascinating: One moment confident, next moment terrified. One day never wanting any human to read my words ever again, next day, over sharing my works. It’s kind of like the publishing process has intensified my autistic extremes! Go me!

Oh, and I’ve had ample opportunity to sit back and listen to LV (little voice inside my head) burst aloud fret after fret. I think she’s grown a small pink cape monogrammed with ‘insecurity.’ First off, I apologize for the short phase (about 1.5 months) in which we (me, LV and Sir Brain) we’re never going to have ANYTHING to do with AUTISM ever again! This was largely due to the ebb and flow of opinionated jerks online (something I swiftly swam away from), my tendency to hyper focus almost to the tipping point of my sanity, the way my life drips and oozes of autism (partner, son, ME, job, writing, reading, social media platforms, blogs, book, research, friends, so forth …), and my forever search for balance (psychological and hormonal!).


For a short stretch of time, I figured I’d be a hermit in the back room, behind my garage, and just obsessively paint, never to resurface, except out of loyalty for the occasional chocolate bar left outside my door. After some retreat and reflection, I realize autism is in my bones—and most definitely in my genes—so not really a smart plan to try to escape it, entirely. Still, I am attempting to not let my special interest consume me. But alas, I likely will always have my all or nothing tendencies, despite my best efforts.

With all that said, my prolific abilities for writing and off beat wit seem to have resurfaced. This following two years of gradual rehabilitation from a weeklong hospital stay, in which the trauma to my system greatly affected my executive functioning ability; I mean I couldn’t even open an envelope for months. Took me three months to be able to sit up for more than an hour. There was some major healing that had to take place. But thankfully, I feel about 95% back to normal. Except now, my premenopausal brain-frying hot flashes and hormonal extremes–seem to be affecting my dyslexia and dysgraphia. Kind of like someone turned up the omitting words, mixing up words and letters, and forgetting thoughts dial to about the umpteenth power. So that’s been fun. Good timing, don’t you think?


Talk soon,
Sam the Ham
(Now I want to list words that rhyme with ‘ham.’ Yep, I’m back!)

My recent interview about females and autism:–jeanettes-autism-show

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