Sara M. Acevedo, PhD
Society for Disability Studies, Board of Directors
Sara M. Acevedo (Neurowitch) is an autistic mestiza, educator, and disability justice advocate born and raised in Colombia. Her background is in linguistics, disability studies, and activist anthropology. Sara is adjunct faculty in interdisciplinary studies and recently received her PhD in Anthropology and Social Change from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco. She is the recipient of three fellowships; the Integral Teaching Fellowship, The Diversity and Disability Advocacy Fellowship, and the Center for Writing and Scholarship Fellowship, also from CIIS. Her dissertation work co-documents the experiences of autistic grassroots leaders, educators and public intellectuals based in Berkeley, California. The work of these leaders is unprecedented in disability service provision, since they themselves design, implement and oversee two community-based transition programs serving autistic and otherwise neurodivergent youth in the Bay Area. They do so by following a model of education that they have themselves created and applied in practice, the principles of liberatory education, multiple voices in the neurodiversity movement as well as a set of other disability justice strategies. With their work, they are bringing a whole new set of possibilities for intellectually and developmentally disabled youth to safely engage in their own communities of choice.
Sara received an honorable mention for the 2017 Irving k. Zola Emerging Scholar Award from the Society for Disability Studies for her paper: Neuroqueering Composition: Sensual Reflections on the Inclusive Life of Thoughts.
Sara has recently collaborated with U.S. grassroots leaders in the Mental Health movement, The Mad Pride Movement, and the Neurodiversity Movement in order to potentialize cross- movement solidarity and coalition building. This collaboration emphasizes shared political and educational aims while honoring the multiplicity of lived experiences that each bring to the table.
Sara is co-founder of the Spanish blog "Autismo, Liberación y Orgullo" (https://www.autismoliberacionorgullo.com/p/home.html), alongside co-author Mónica Vidal Gutiérrez, another autistic Colombian woman and mother to an autistic son. The blog is a political, educational, and informational response to the lack of literature, resources, grassroots materials and activist narratives authored by Spanish-speaking autistics and otherwise neurodivergent people in Spanish speaking countries, where the primacy of the medical and the charity models of disability is still strong.