Judy Singer, DPhil, is an Australian sociologist who coined the term “Neurodiversity” in a 1998 Honours Thesis at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
Her work was based on her lived experience in the middle of three generations of women “somewhere on the autistic spectrum” and built on the achievements of the Disability Rights Movement and its academic arm, Disability Studies.
Judy intended the term Neurodiversity as a potential name for an umbrella movement of people with a variety of neurological conditions, e.g., Autism, ADHD, the “Dys”-abilities and others. The Neurodiversity Movement has made great gains in arguing for a strength-based re-evaluation of formerly negative medical diagnoses, and in working towards greater community awareness and inclusion for all.
Judy has been active in community organizing since the 1990s, both in the local Sydney region and internationally via social media, with a focus on public housing advocacy and disability rights. Judy was the secretary of Sydney’s major parent’s group, the Inner West Autism and Asperger’s Support Group.. When her daughter outgrew this group, Judy moved on to co-found ASteen, Sydney’s only independent social club for teenagers on the spectrum.