Monday, April 2, 2018

Autism *ACTUAL* Acceptance Day 8- 2018!!!

Yes, Autism Acceptance Day has been going strong for eight years now! AAA, Actual Autism Acceptance, is the intention and always was. Actual Autism Acceptance means acceptance of Autistic people as we are, including communication differences, stims, different ways of seeing the world, "IQ" levels, etc.

It does *not* mean "I accept you but not your autism." It certainly does not mean marketing for ABA businesses (one of the ones I heard about today). Actual autism acceptance still seems like such a radical idea to many, and to others, the success of it (whew! finally, something to do in April other than wait to see what dreadful doom and gloom pronouncements will be made) has led some organizations to co-opt the name, if not the idea. If it doesn't seem like true acceptance to you, it probably is not!

The new Facebook event for April 2018 is here. 

I made a QR code associated with the event. Please feel free to share it to help promote complete acceptance of Autistic people!

Autism Acceptance Day 8 on Facebook event QR code Autism Acceptance Day 8 Facebook QR code

New writings I am aware of from this year:

http://talesfromanautismfamily.blogspot.ca/2018/03/autism-acceptance-daymonth-2018.html

https://autistic-on-wheels.blogspot.com/2018/04/autism-acceptance-month-2018-day-1.html?spref=fb

Other events going on now, at least on Facebook, are below, and I will add more as I have time:

Light It Up True!- With All the Colors!

Red Instead/Walk In Red 2018 - Autism Acceptance

Tone It Down Taupe- Community

Writings:

This is from last year but I never posted it here. The photo has been updated to me at one of my current "gigs" as a piano technician. AssistiveWare- An interview with the founder of Autism Acceptance Month

A film viewing of Deej, hosted by the Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Library and Autism Women's Network:  Autism Acceptance Month Film Event: Deej

Posts by Autistic on Wheels, one per day this month. Here are the first ones:

Autism Acceptance Month 2018 Day 2: A is for Acceptance
Autism Acceptance Month 2018 Day 3: B is for Blogs


Another Autism Acceptance Day Facebook event will be up on the 16th, as FB currently only lets an event be 15 days long. That event is here >, but I think it does not become active until the 16th of April. Autism Acceptance Day and Month 8- 2018- Second half of the month!

Please post appropriate, non-cure, non puzzle piece, non ABA links in the comments. Anything that is not accepting of Autistic people exactly the way we are will be removed. (Comment approval is on so I need to come approve them, probably once a day).

Last year on this very day, April 2, I posted to Facebook "Happy Autism Acceptance Day from the entrance to the George Washington Bridge!" My son and I were en route to a medical specialist in another state (that was New York; we live in Virginia) for a pain condition caused by a medically unnecessary procedure. He has yet to receive any effective treatment so we travel a lot, having to go out of state to access appropriate care. I am hoping that the next couple of years will show improvement; if so, I will be able to develop more AutismAcceptanceDay and Autism Acceptance Month initiatives.

#AutismAcceptanceDay 8 International Autism Acceptance Decade Moving Beyond Awareness 2010 to 2020- dark red striped background

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interview with Star Ford-Autism Acceptance Day 2017



Interview with Star, from New Mexico, who works tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of Autistic people, working on collaborative projects with other Autistics.

I'm Star from New Mexico, age 48. I volunteer for a non-profit - Divergent Labs, which is autistic run. I also have a regular job as a software developer. I live with a partner, and a bunch of fruit trees and animals.

What is your life like as an Autistic person? 
Life has changed a lot and continues to change; I don't seem to ever find myself and settle down. When I was a child I didn't feel like I was even a person the way other people were, but now I'm finally getting there. I've spent a lot of time trying to advance myself or heal myself or achieve various goals, but it never works according to plan. I first met other autistic people in my 30s and that changed everything. After relating to them I think I gradually learned to relate to typical adults too. I relate to college-aged people now and recently got my first "real job", so I feel like I'm just starting out in life.

What is the most joyful, fun, exciting thing about being Autistic?
The most exciting thing is the automatic, sometimes instant depth of connection I can find with other autistic people, which is very similar to the way I connect easily with children. Also learning things I'm interested in comes easily and I get pretty obsessed about those things.

What is the most difficult about being Autistic, for you?
The most difficult things have been the loneliness and chronic stress that I've felt most of my life. I'm not accepted into groups of people as an equal, or often not at all. So even though I have interests and skills and the motivation to be with people and work with them, I usually can't find a way to be part of anything. All the self-help and well-meaning help out there hasn't been relevant because no one seemed to understand me and they pressured me to present and be someone totally different than who I was. So I mostly lived in a protective shell afraid to be naturally me.

How has the Autism Acceptance Day/Month effort over the past seven years affected you personally? If you were not aware of it until recently, what meaning does Autism Acceptance Day/Month have to you now?
I always feel a huge relief when I know that other autistic people are doing something collaborative. I know that mostly they will achieve a depth and truth that other efforts cannot reach, and that they will accurately represent me.

What does “moving beyond awareness” mean to you?
"Awareness" in the autism world seems to be nothing more than a means for the industry to identify a larger customer base. It usually implies "correcting" autistic behavior, which is usually abusive. So to me, moving beyond awareness is replacing an objectifying, spiritually empty view with one that recognizes that people are different and that having the variety is natural and lovely.

What is one thing about acceptance that would make a difference in the world? 
If the wider autism community was able to relax and accept the wonderful variety of people, with our different strengths and different needs, we'd be able to change the system of public and private funding that is a big part of many of our lives. In particular we would move away from the idea of treatment, and away from insurance as the model, and go towards a system of supports and accommodations, with accessibility as the core idea that drives those decisions. The public conversation today is still very dehumanizing. As someone who has a job and can do a lot independently, people assume I don't need anything. But really I've needed support and accommodations too and when I haven't found it, I've lived a bleak life with few meaningful connections. I think widespread acceptance would also stop that incessant grading of people as more or less autistic as if we fit neatly on a continuum.
In a more general way, achieving a consensus of acceptance about autism will also help us accept other disabilities, and also will help us all accept each other in all the ways beyond disability where not everyone conforms, or where we're pushing beyond stereotypes - such as language, religious practice, gender variation, alternative living situations, and creative occupations. Acceptance of non-conformity in the broadest sense is an antidote to fascism and is part of the solution to the world's most pressing problems, so it's far wider reaching than easing any one person's struggles.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Two Facebook Events- Autism Acceptance Day x 2!

Because Facebook now limits events to two weeks, there are two Autism Acceptance Day events on Facebook this year. I'll post the second one first, since we are into that half of the month. This event started on April 16 and ends April 30. It does not have as many attendees, but, in order to attract at least some attention, I am posting all new materials there first, so that maybe some people will sign up for it.  The URL is

Autism Acceptance Day and Month 2017- Second Half!

The first half of the month, featuring many of the interviews with Autistics (which will be posted in both events when I get a chance) is here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/228087247600054/

I have published sixteen (16) new interviews with Autistic people this year. Please scroll down on the right to see them all. Each person put a lot of time and thought and energy into responding to the questions I sent. This collection of interviews will add to our voices in public space.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Interview with Aria Sky- Autism Acceptance Day 2017



Interview with Aria Sky

Intro:

My chosen name (pseudonym) is Aria Sky, I’m 34 years old this month, and I live in the USA. My husband is allistic (non-Autistic), we’ve been married for 13 years, and we have several children, of whom half are Autistic and half are allistic. My current interests are music, autism, history, sociology, and gardening. I try to blog fairly regularly and have been involved in gentle parenting circles for over a decade, which has helped a good deal as I’ve come to a greater understanding of my needs, as an Autistic adult, and the needs of my children, both Autistic and allistic.

What do want to say about autism that might help others understand better?

I think that it’s important to understand that we’re not really all that different from allistics. I still have thoughts and feelings even when I’m not able to express them, I agonize about what I might have done when I find out that I've upset someone even when I don’t know how to fix the situation, and I try my hardest to better understand both myself and others even when it’s difficult. I try to arrange my life in such a way that I can sufficiently recover from difficult social and sensory interactions with pleasant activities and extra rest.

What is the most joyful, fun, exciting thing about being Autistic? 

Some things I love that are affected directly by my being Autistic: Splashing barefoot in puddles, diving deeply into brand new interesting topics, reading old books with beautiful language, snuggling my stuffed dog, and having the ability to see past the culture in which I was raised so that I can make the best decisions for myself and my family without being held to any harmful traditions or “that’s just how we do things.” I love being quirky or different and doing what I want or need to do without feeling as though I need to be like everyone else. 

Most of all, I especially love knowing that I’m Autistic. It was much more difficult before I knew that about myself. It was such a large and vital piece of information to be missing from my understanding of myself.

What is most difficult about being Autistic, for you?

The not-knowing I was Autistic was the most difficult thing, I think. Misunderstandings with other people are very hard on me too. I wish that allistics would listen to what I say and not read into my words because then they assume I mean something completely different than what I actually said (and meant). My sensory issues are challenging and often painful as well. I wish that the world and the people within it were quieter and gentler so that it didn’t hurt so much to go out into it.

How has the Autism Acceptance Day/Month effort over the past seven years affected you personally? If you were not aware of it until recently, what meaning does Autism Acceptance Day/Month have to you now? 

In my case, having first really become aware of it last year, it's helped me with my own self-acceptance so that I stopped trying to change myself into someone I’m not and can never be. I hope that someday every Autistic person will be able to accept themselves and live as the wonderful people they are. I love the explosion of Autistic voices - both new writings and old ones being shared again - that I’ve seen both this and last April. I wish that I’d paid more attention to the April Acceptance Months in previous years. 

What does “moving beyond awareness” mean to you?

Well, to me, it means moving from awareness to more helpful things like acceptance, respect, and understanding - maybe even appreciation. I believe that those things can only really come from listening to what we say, learning from it, and believing us! Just being aware is such a passive thing that doesn’t really create any change. Of course, people need to be aware before they know that they need to listen to another perspective, but listening without acceptance and respect isn’t going to get anyone very far towards understanding or appreciation of that other perspective either. 

What is one thing about acceptance that would make a difference in the world? 

People would stop trying to change us and would stop pressuring us to change ourselves to fit their ideas of what people should be like. We’d have extra energy that we could use to focus on being the best Autistic people we could be and to make the world an even better place for everyone.