Autistic aikido teacher, author, speaker, educator, and somatics practitioner, faculty member at California Institute of Integral Studies and Sofia University, and Managing Editor at Autonomous Press. Nick holds a 6th degree black belt in aikido and is senior instructor at the Aikido Shusekai dojo in Berkeley. His eclectic work explores the intersections of somatics, spirituality, neurodiversity, empathy, and creativity. Since 2004 he has been a central figure in the development of Autistic culture and a leading thinker in the Neurodiversity Movement. Books in which his writings appear include Loud Hands: Autistic People Speaking, The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children, The Spoon Knife Anthology, Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber, and Spoon Knife 3: Incursions. He has been featured in the documentary films Orphans of Delirium, Dreambody/Earthbody, and Spectrum: A Story of the Mind.
Somatics and Autistic Embodiment
"Autistic modes of cognition and sensory experience come with their own distinctive styles of embodiment and their own distinctive somatic needs. Autistic people can only truly thrive when they can embody their authentic autistic selves; treating autism as a pathology and attempting to suppress expressions of autistic embodiment as undesirable “symptoms” contributes to the trauma modern society inflicts on its autistic members. In this chapter I discuss how my participation in two forms of somatic practice—aikido and experimental physical theatre—helped me to heal from trauma and learn to thrive, and how somatic practices might be applied toward meeting the needs of the autistic community."
- Nick Walker