RE: Autistic Selfie Day

Okay, so, here’s the thing… coolautism began an Autistic Selfie Saturday on February 7th; it has been going every week since then. In my opinion, it makes sense to have Autistic Selfie Day on April 4th because it coincides with the weekly Autistic Selfie Saturday.

Also, I like the idea of doing it on April 4th because I personally am not particularly happy that Autistic Awareness Day (April 2nd) having been created at the behest of Autism $peaks.

Elsewhere, I have seen autistic people encouraging others to “walk in red”/wear red for Autistic Acceptance Month (April), instead of blue, so we can distances ourselves from Autism $peaks, which is an organization that does NOT speak for autistic people. (

So, I have an additional proposal for Autistic Selfie Day; it’s just an idea, and no one has to agree with it…

Anyway, I’m going to wear red when I take my selfie for Autistic Selfie Day, and I was thinking others might consider it as well.

I will be tagging my post with #autism acceptance #autistic acceptance #actuallyautistic #autisticselfieday #walk in red

The above are just my own personal thoughts. No one has to do what I’m planning to do. They’re just ideas and what I personally will be doing.

anonymous asked:

Just a to let you know that anti-feminism-pro-equality has an new blog called why-we-dont-need-feminism. That Alicia Hurst has more sock puppet accounts then you’ve got toes.

:/ why are some people so gross? Thank you for letting me know. 

(Image description: A partial screenshot of a blog post. The title reads “How I reduced screaming and verbal stimming in my child with autism”, and below that is a colour photograph of a hand holding a rectangular plastic “clicker” device.)

I think I may have mentioned this blog post, and the sadness and confusion I felt when I came across it, in one of my videos. This screenshot is from the blog of an “autism parent”. Yes, that is a clicker. Yes, she is encouraging the use of animal training methods on Autistic children. Yes, she considers any kind of vocal stimming, not just screaming, to be a “bad behaviour”. To top it all off, her blog banner reads, “Discovering SOLUTIONS to the Everyday Problems of Living with AUTISM”. Here is an excerpt from her tutorial on how to train your disabled child like a dog to have a “Quiet Mouth”:

Third, I sat back and watched my child. Since he was making bad noises, I decided to reinforce Quiet Mouth (i.e., lips together, no sound). Whenever he had a split second of Quiet Mouth, I immediately tagged (made a click-sound with the device) and handed over a treat. Every time his mouth was Quiet, I tagged (clicked) and treated. Soon there was much more Quiet Mouth behavior. When doing this it is important to ignore and pay no attention to vocal stims or screaming. Do not look at the child, do not speak to him/her or explain. Just say nothing, and immediately tag and treat as soon as there is even a split second of Quiet Mouth. You can also tag and treat a child for any appropriate vocalizations. If he/she says a nice word, or makes an appropriate comment, then tag and reinforce that. Your goal is to increase Quiet Mouth and appropriate vocalizations.

And sadly, as bad as this attitude and treatment of Autistic children is, this is a relatively tame example when compared to the other unethical treatments, therapies, and methods of discipline that Autistic children are being subjected to every day (all in the name of making them appear less obviously Autistic). This is why we need Autism Acceptance Month and not the fear-mongering, negative, misinformed “awareness” that Autism Speaks and its allies are pumping out this April.

We need acceptance because Autistic children should be loved and accepted wholly and completely for who they are, not hurt and mistreated in their parent’s frantic search for a “cure”. Because Autistic people deserve to be treated with respect and listened to, not silenced and forced or coerced to conform to an ableist, non-disabled ideal. Because Autistic children need accommodation and understanding to live healthy, happy lives, not sketchy “treatments” and intensive, soul-crushing “therapies” to try to make them appear more neurotypical and less Autistic.

For more information on ASAN’s Autism Acceptance Month, see the about page on the website here:

Image is of a text message from Did you know to ASAN as on an iPhone or iPad interface. The text from Did you know reads: “Autism $peaks yearly media budget is $10,238,115. The reply from ASAN reads “That could buy 14,226 iPads to let nonverbal Autistics speak for ourselves!

Below the texts is an Autistic Self Advocacy Network logo, with i”April is autism acceptance month” in smaller text below the logo.

If you do want to do something supportive for Autism Acceptance Month, every year ThinkGeek comes out with a new version of their neurodiversity shirt, and for the month of April 100% of the profits go to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a nonprofit organization run by and for autistic individuals. You get a snazzy new t-shirt, a good organization gets your money, everyone wins!

Edit: The shirt I linked to was last year’s design. As of now, the 2015 version hasn’t been put up for sale yet. I can’t remember for sure if previous years’ designs are rereleased, but I think they are.

Things You Can do to Help Disabled People That Don't Cost A Cent
  • Do not talk about an obviously disabled person in front of them as if they can’t hear or understand you.
  • Do not talk to a disabled person’s companion instead of them.  
  • Ask permission before touching people, or their wheelchairs/other equipment. Even if you want to help.
  • Ask disabled people about their lives and really listen to their answers.  (Within reason. Asking people personal questions about their sex lives, for example, is rude unless you are very close to them and they’ve communicated they’re OK with that).
  • Listen to what they say whether they are speaking, writing, typing, using text to speech, using a letterboard, using PECS, gesturing, using sign language, or using any other form of communication.  People who cannot speak can still communicate.
  • Stand up for people you see getting bullied.
  • Understand that disabled people don’t just need friends, they can be friends, too.
  • Every public place does not need to have loud, blaring music and TVs with flashing screens.  
  • If you blog, put bright, flashing images that can trigger seizures under a cut so that people with seizures can avoid looking at them.
  • If a job can possibly be done without a person driving, don’t require candidates to drive/have a driver’s license, and don’t interview candidates and then reject them because they don’t drive.
  • When talking to someone who has trouble speaking or stutters, and takes a long time to speak, wait for them to answer. Don’t keep repeating the question or pressuring them. Yes, if you’re like me and your mind is going really fast and you forget what people are saying if they take too long, it can be hard to be patient.  Do it anyway.
  • If you are talking to a deaf person, make it easier for them to lip-read by facing towards them while looking at them, and not covering your mouth with your hands.
  • If you are talking to someone with hearing impairment or auditory processing disorder, it is more helpful to slow down or rephrase what you’re saying than to just speak more loudly.  
  • Some disabled people have difficulty understanding nonliteral language such as metaphors and idioms (e.g., “a stitch in time saves nine”). If you’re talking to someone like this, try explaining what you mean by these figures of speech, or just not using them.
  • Recognize that failure to make eye contact does not mean someone is lying to you. It may be uncomfortable for them.
  • Recognize that unwillingness to go out to loud, crowded bars does not mean someone isn’t interested in socializing with you.
  • If people have difficulty spelling, or using the appropriate jargon/terminology for your social group, do not assume they’re stupid.  You may need to paraphrase some “jargon” for them.
  • Recognize that a person can need time alone and it doesn’t mean they don’t like you or want to be with you. It’s just something they need so they can function at their best.
  • If a person does not recognize you, do not assume they don’t care about you.  They may be face-blind.
  • If a person does not remember your birthday (or other major names, numbers, or dates) do not assume they don’t care about you. They may simply have a bad memory.
  • Understand that a disabled person’s talents, however esoteric, are real, not unimportant “splinter skills.”
  • Colorblindness affects more than just knowing what color something is.  To a colorblind person, colors that they can’t see will look the same if they have the same degree of lightness/darkness.  That means that to a red-green colorblind person, a red rose on a green background will blend in instead of contrast starkly, and the Chicago CTA El map will be difficult to understand.  Understand that something that stands out to you and seems obvious may literally not be visible to a colorblind person.
  • Accept stimming.
  • Don’t tell them “but you look so normal.” But, if they accomplish something you know they were working really hard to do, it’s great to compliment them on it.
  • Understand that a person can be working incredibly hard to do something and may still not perform as well as you’d like them to, as well as the average person would, or as well as the situation demands.
  • If someone has a major medical problem, disability, or chronic illness, then just eating some special healthy diet or exercising more isn’t going to cure it. It might help, it might hurt, it might do nothing, but they’ve probably heard it before, and it’s none of your business in any case.
  • A person with OCD knows that checking or counting or whatever compulsion they perform won’t really prevent disaster from happening, it’s just a compulsion. That doesn’t stop them from feeling the need to do it anyway.  A person with anxiety may know at least some of their fears are irrational or unlikely to occur. That doesn’t stop them from feeling anxious.  A person with trichotillomania may know it hurts them to pull out their hair or pick at their skin, but they have trouble stopping themselves anyway.  A depressed person may know they would feel better if they got out of their house and talked to people, but that doesn’t make them feel any more up to doing those things. A person who hallucinates may know the hallucinations aren’t real, but that doesn’t make them go away or feel less upsetting.  You see the pattern?  You can’t cure people with mental illnesses by telling them they’re being irrational or hurting themselves.  If it were that easy, they’d have cured themselves already.
  • Do not tell a person with ADHD or mental illness that they should not be taking medication.  This is a personal decision. Furthermore, since medications have wide-ranging effects on people’s bodies and minds and often unpleasant side effects, most people taking medications have thought through the issue, done a cost-benefit analysis, and decided that the ability to function better is worth it.  Their decision should be respected.
  • A disabled person with intellectual disability who has the academic or IQ abilities of, say, a seven year old does not actually have the mind of a seven year old. They have different life experiences, needs, stages of life, bodies, and so on.
  • If a disabled person is having a meltdown, they are not angry, they are terrified.  They’re not throwing a tantrum or being aggressive, they have gone into fight or flight. The best thing you can do is remain calm yourself and help them calm down. It may help to keep your distance, keep your voice low and calm, let them retreat to a safe place if they know to do that, or remind them to do so if they don’t.  Reasoning with them won’t work well because they’re unlikely to be able to hear and understand you.  The worst thing you can do is start yelling yourself, threatening them, be violent to them, cut off their escape route, or get right up in their personal space.  

Other ideas?  Please reblog and add more.  The more the merrier.


Image description: The first photo shows me (a white-passing, femme young adult person) sitting in a wheelchair, holding one sign in my hands and with one leaning against my legs. The first sign says, “Got questions? Autistic adults are the best resource of parents of autistic kids.”. The second sign says, “Autistic rights are human rights #lovenotfear”.

The second photo shows myself in my wheelchair with my signs and three other femme people who are all also holding signs. The visible signs are rainbow coloured and say “Love not fear”, “Think posAUtive”, “Autism Speaks does not speak for me!”, and “Autism is Awesome”. There is a small table behind us with a sign that says “free earplugs”, a box of earplugs, and ASAN pamphlets on top.

Pictures from Vancouver ASAN’s protest at the Autism Speaks walk this morning. I made those two signs I’m holding, Alanna made the rest of the signs, and Marvin took these photos. A few more people ended up coming so there were seven of us there (and Marvin). I think we all did good work today!

Now I’m going to go lie down and never get up.

For the month of October, PACLA will be sharing information to help make Halloween safe & accessible for everyone! Autistic children deserve a #posAutive experience in an often overwhelming time of
year. We ALL do. Look for the hashtag #AccessibleHalloween, contribute your own ideas and accommodations, and share widely! The more people we reach, the more inclusive we can make this holiday. Thanks and may we all have a HAPPY and #AccessibleHalloween!

Image Description: Orange textured background, with a large hashtag at the top, #accessiblehalloween, and a large number 1. A black banner stretches across the meme, with white text reading:

Strobe light might seem fun to create a “scary” atmosphere, but they are not safe for those with epilepsy or sensory sensitivities to lights. Strobe lights can trigger seizures and migraines. Lanterns and soft, glowing lights are a safe alternative that will let ALL know they are welcome.

Autism is essential to your child’s identity. If you took away her or his autism — which isn’t possible — your child would be a different person.
If you want a different person for a child, you don’t love your child.
So, you aren’t hating autism. Autism isn’t a thing that exists to hate. It does not exist outside of its expression in actual human beings. We’ve just created an idea and given it a name and clustered definition, representing a shared way of being for some people. The only place autism exists is in people — it exists as real people. Instead, you are hating your child, despite your words and beliefs to the contrary. And you are teaching your child self-rejection and self-hatred.
Autism is no different than race or sexual orientation or humanity itself. It is simply part and parcel of a person’s being.
I love my black child, but I hate blackness. I love my gay child, but I hate homosexuality. I love my son, but I hate men.
I love my autistic child, but I hate autism.
Like the others, that is a failed formulation, incoherent thought and emotion and obviously harmful.
It is not love.
It is abusive parenting.
Autism is integral to every part of your child’s personhood. It informs the way he or she thinks, feels, acts, and engages —receives and expresses — with the world, including interacting with people, most certainly including you.
—  Ray Hemechandra, "Autism 101: Hating Your Autistic Child," at Ray Hemechandra @ Golden Moon Publishing

(Description: First photo is a picture of me before my school formal (prom). I am wearing a purple dress with silver sparkles and embroidery on the bodice. I am in my backyard.

Second photo is a black and white selfie of myself. I am wearing a patterned long sleeved shirt, and my hair is out.

Third photo is another selfie. I am wearing a grey sweatshirt, my hair is out, and I have apple earphones in my ears that are hidden by my hair.)

So, this is me. My name is Brianna, I was born on the 28th of April 1997, and I am autistic.

I never thought I’d come out publicly and say that. For the last year, I have been anonymous on this blog. If people at school found out I was autistic, I would have been alienated moreso than I already was due to the negative stigma surrounding autism. I’ve only told a few close friends about my neurodivergence - Mostly autistics, because, whenever I tell an allistic, they treat me differently. It feels freeing to be open about it now that I’ve finished school forever. Being someone who is often told I am “allistic-passing”, people have always sensed something is “off” about me, but never come to the conclusion that I may have a disability. I have become good at hiding it. I was given a lot of therapy as a kid to be as “normal” as possible, but, honestly, it’s made me scared to be who I am and say what I want just in case I screw it up.

When I was younger, mum didn’t tell me I was autistic because she thought I’d tell everyone else and they’d alienate me for being different. That is the reason I started this blog. I don’t want people to be alienated for being different. I don’t want people to be ashamed of who they are. It’s taken me a long time to accept that I am autistic, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of that.

This year, I will be going to university to study psychology. I want to be a spokesperson for autistics. I want to be an autistic self advocate and activist, and I want to help autistics to be who they are. I don’t want people going through what I did. I will be an autistic psychologist for autistics. I will be someone who really understands. I am sick and tired of allistics speaking for us. I am autistic. I can speak for myself. My self advocacy starts here, right now.

My name is Brianna, and I am autistic.


S#!T Ignorant People Say To Autistics

My Son Is Not An Error.

With thanks to geekycubil, whose original comments regarding anti-vaccination and autism can be found here; the response is to the question or idea of “what would happen if anti-vaccination parents had to explain to autistic adults that they’d prefer their children die than be like those autistic adults?”

The thing about the implicit social contract between parents and children is that it’s supposed to be invisible.  Parents promise to love their children no matter who they turn out to be, and in return they expect a child who doesn’t challenge them too much.

Anything that permanently breaks the parents expectations, being disabled, being a GSM, sometimes even having the wrong talents and interests, risks breaking this assumed contract.  Of course, the parents can rarely just say they don’t want to spend their time and energy on the wrong kind of kid, so the truth of it works its way out in terrible, cruel ways.

I’d love to see this exchange, but the truth is we all already know the answer.  A dead kid is the closest thing to a refund that disappointed parents can get.

I’m sad to say that this isn’t the first time that this idea has come up in our household. We’ve had this conversation more than once with our Young Man, and we’ll continue having it as he moves through his teenage years. The idea continues to come at him, though, as he gets older. Over and over, he’s told: there’s something wrong with you. This is more and more enforced by the idea that people would rather have their children get measles, mumps, polio, rubella, whooping cough, diptheria, chicken pox, or die than be autistic. Over and over again, we have to say it, to him, and to everyone else:

My son is not broken.

My son is not flawed because of his autism.

My son is not a mistake.

My son is not the bad outcome that you are willing to have your child die in order to avoid.

My son is beautiful, hyperpossible, challenging, wonderful, soulful, sweet, frustrating. He closes his eyes or looks away from the camera when people take pictures of him, and he comes running upstairs to ask me whether our grill is non-stick, because we haven’t had it replaced since I got diagnosed with celiac disease, so maybe it’s contaminated. He leaves pencils, chopsticks and kebab skewers all over the house because his stimming is closing one eye, squinting at the pencils he’s holding in his hands, and tapping them together, and he brings in books to tell me about his latest elaborate theory about how the world fits together. He drives me crazy sometimes because doesn’t know when it’s time to end a conversation, but because he doesn’t know when people are “supposed” to be rejected, because he never got that download of who he’s “supposed” to shun, he’s always the first kid to greet a new kid at the bus stop.

My son is not the bad outcome that you are willing to have your child die in order to avoid.

Now, on the other hand, my grandfather did have whooping cough when he was young. He didn’t walk until he was three as a result, and his brother died. When I heard whooping cough was returning, I thought — this has to be some sort of joke. Measles, whooping cough, rubella: these were the diseases that we conquered. These were relics of another time, like druids and ruff collars and cobblestone streets. Those diseases only happen to people in novels assigned to you in high school, or in stories told by your elderly relatives; they don’t happen to anyone in the real world. Not anymore.

Except that’s not the case anymore, is it? People are so afraid of their child being like my son that they’re willing to have their children die, and not just have their children die, but expose others to very possible death through their gross negligence, science denial, and deliberate inaction. Their child not being like my son is so important to them that they would willingly kill other people in order to avoid it. 

My son is autistic, and even if vaccines caused autism, even if I had to make that decision again, I would make that choice, without a second thought, because I love my son. I love him no matter what. I had more than half a dozen miscarriages and one child, and that one child is so utterly precious to me exactly the way that he is, with all his beauty and his challenges, that I would not trade one genome, one hair on his head, one tiny change. 

My son is not an error, and anyone who wants to say otherwise can say it to my face, because you’d damn well better know better than to say it to his.

Image description: Dark purple background with light gray text that reads “What is “ablesplaining”? Ablesplaining is a patronizing “explanation” of any aspect of disability from someone who does not have the lived experience of being disabled. An ablesplainer’s opinion is often shared without request and with a grossly inflated sense of entitlement. Don’t be an ablesplainer.”

(TW: Ableism) Autism Speaks is the most well-known autism charity.  They have the most media coverage and are endorsed by many celebrities, but this certainly does not make them a good organization.

  • Autism Speaks does not have a single autistic member on their board.

  • Autism Speaks only spends 3% of their budget on “family services”.

  • Much of Autism Speaks’ money goes toward research, and much of that research centers on finding a way to eliminate autism, and thus, autistics (which will likely be done through a prenatal test, in the same way that the Down’s Syndrome test is conducted).

  • Autism Speaks produces advertisements, small films, etc. about what a burden autistic people are to society.

  • Autism Speaks was responsible for “Autism Every Day”, which featured a member of their board talking about contemplating murder-suicide of her daughter in front of her daughter.  This has now be removed from Autism Speaks’ Youtube channel.

  • Autism Speaks is responsible for the atrocity known as “I am Autism”, a short film produced by the Academy Award Winning Alfonso Cuaron, who also directed the 3rd Harry Potter movie (yes, really) and features an ominous voice saying things like “I am autism…I know where you live…I work faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes combined…I will make sure your marriage fails.”

The title is a link to the original post which contains more information.

Image is an Alternative and Augmentative communication screen with words and pictures. The message on the screen reads “I have something to tell you.” The caption for the image says “Autistic people are speaking. Why aren’t you listening?” Below in smaller text is “April is autism acceptance month” with an Autistic Self Advocacy Network logo at the bottom right.