Who is Twitchy Woman?

I’m an attorney with an interest in disability and civil rights law. I’ve always been visibly “weird” and, over the past two decades, I’ve collected a variety of different diagnoses, including with Tic Disorder, OCD, ADHD, and, most recently, Asperger’s. I’m still coming to terms with what all those labels mean to my life and how they relate to each other; in the meantime, I like the term “weird” as an appropriate catch-all description.

I have a cat. I like to knit. I go into swoons over music by the Smiths, the Mountain Goats, the Pet Shop Boys, and obscure Czech punk bands. I think I may actually be both Liz Lemon and Annie Hall.

What is “WeirdLaw”?

Weirdlaw mostly focuses on the following topics:

  • being weird – when you’ve lived your life knowing you had some sort of disability but not knowing what to call it, getting a diagnosis that actually fits can be liberating and scary. It’s exciting to be become part of an identity community filled with people who are weird in the same ways you are, and I intend to talk about that. A lot.
  • practicing law while weird – A lot has been written about how people on the autism spectrum can be successful programmers, scientists, artists, and academics, but you don’t often hear of them becoming attorneys. The legal profession is, as a cultural matter, often not very disability-friendly, and  there are very few attorneys who are open about having neurological or psychiatric disabilities, especially autism spectrum disorders. I do luckily have very understanding and supportive co-workers – and a degree from Harvard – but I still sometimes feel like I’m the only lawyer in the world who has my particular quirks.
  • the law as applied to “weird” people – that is, individuals whom the law has marked as somehow “different” and/or who don’t quite fit the legal system’s assumptions about what situations people are normally in and how people normally behave. My primary academic interest is analyzing and critiquing the way that the law either misunderstands or ignores different populations, and the often devastating effect this can have on people. At worst, people who are mentally or situationally outside the norm may be treated as falling outside the legal order altogether and thus targeted for special legal disabilities or even exclusion from society.

Can I tell you about this legal problem I’ve been having?

If you’re mainly interested in alerting me to a legal issue that I can then blog about, then by all means do. I love hearing about how the legal system plays out in individual cases and trying to think of ways that it could work better for people.

PLEASE do not ask me for advice, ask me to represent you, or ask me to help you find a lawyer. I am probably not licensed to practice in your state and I’m not qualified or even allowed to advise people on what the law is in other states. Even if I am licensed to practice  in your state, I work for a nonprofit and can’t take on clients outside of work. And I really actually don’t know that many good lawyers who represent individuals. If you do ask me for help of some kind with your legal issue, I will feel sad because I won’t really be able to help.

Similarly, please remember that I do not check my blog posts for accuracy to the same degree that I check the legal work for which I’m actually paid. As a result, please don’t rely on anything I say about the law as if it were legal advice. Either consult with a lawyer or with materials specifically aimed at non-lawyers seeking to know more about the law.


6 responses to “About

  1. Spirit of the Time

    Good to see this blog up and running, and thanks for putting What Sorts of People on your blogroll. As you build up a log of posts, we’d be happy to direct folks your way on posts of mutual interest.

  2. whoselaw

    Thanks! I heard about your blog from Jon Hanson, and it’s a great read.

  3. JC

    Please write some more! I have been very interested in the marriage of someone on the AS and having professional education like you.
    You are absolutely right that there are many more people like yourself but either because they had fantastic support from their friends and/or family or brilliant therapists throughout their lives they feel content and do not even want to “come out”. Yes, society needs trailblazers like you so do your bit and go and comment on sites which talk about autism and peoples rights.
    I am in the UK but it doesn’t stop you to comment on UK forums and get people visit your site!

    • Twitchy Woman

      Aw, thanks! I have so little time now as a result of my new job, it’s sort of hard. But now that there’s a holiday weekend in the US, I’ll try to update!

  4. Dear Twitchy Woman,

    I’m Myriam Leggieri and I’m a PhD student in computer science
    (http://www.insight-centre.org/users/myriam-leggieri) with a passion for
    social issues. Since social work doesn’t pay much, I’m trying to use my
    programming skills to help society nonetheless, especially those people
    more in need. I volunteer for an autism-related charity in my city,
    Galway, Ireland (Galway Autism Partnership) and that’s where the idea of
    a mobile app to support independent living for adult with autism raised.

    I’m currently developing a mobile app called “My Ambrosia”
    (my-ambrosia.com) that is a weekly meal recommender (for healthy diet
    style), planner (to take the fuss out of organizing) and grocery
    shopping support (to never waste or run out of food items).

    The idea was accepted to the second stage (out of three) of the Student
    Entrepreneur Awards competition, so that I’m now in the process of
    writing a Business Plan.

    In particular, I’m running a Market Research and I’d love to get
    feedback on the concept behind my app, from adults with autism. I’m a little struggling with this
    because all the charities I contacted deal with children and parents of
    children with autism, rather than with adults.

    Could you kindly help me out by simply filling the questionnaire at
    http://my-ambrosia.com/?q=survey , please? Also it
    would be super-awesome if you could spread the word and ask your friends to fill the questionnaire.

    I read that you usually eat the same thing for long time frames. I wonder, how would you like an app to recommend the best meal for you, taking into consideration your own preferences? Maybe the recommender could stick to only a small set of food items that you like in this specific time period. It would suggest the best combination of those food items which may not be the healthiest ever but still as healthy as you can get, while satisfying your current wishes.

    Thanks a million in advance! and keep up the great work ;)

    Best regards,
    Myriam Leggieri

  5. Twitchy Woman, your blog is currently included on our Actually Autistic Blogs List (anautismobserver.wordpress.com). Please click on the “How do you want your blog listed?” link at the top of that site to personalize your blog’s description.
    Thank you.
    Judy (An Autism Observer)

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