autism-acceptance

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Our first autism acceptance month post this week comes from jack-spacer! Here’s some of what he had to say:

“Hey guys. My name is Jack Kelley, I am 24 years old, but I will be 25 next Saturday. I have Asperger Syndrome. I was professionally diagnosed at the age of 3. For as long as I have been able to pick up a pencil, I have wanted to be an animator. 

Enclosed is a link to one of my animations. It’s pretty old, and you can find more recent ones on my YouTube channel, but this is just the one I show everyone when I mention my animation. I hope you like it.”

Thanks, Jack! And happy birthday!

If you’re an autistic animator, character designer, voice actor, etc who would like to showcase their work, please submit your demo reel, designs, whatever you’d like by Tuesday, April 28th.

just gonna leave this here..

“The first question we wanted to ask was - why blue? What does the color blue have to do with the autism spectrum? The answer is that Autism Spectrum Disorders are almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 54) than among girls (1 in 252). So, the color blue represents the boys diagnosed with autism.”

-from the Autism Speaks website

Happy Autism Acceptance Month. 

Shout-out to Autistic trans people, to Autistic women, to Autistic PoC, and to those Autistic people who also have other neurodivergences, physical disabilities, or chronic illnesses. To everyone who falls into many of these categories. 

Shout-out to every Autistic person who has had their Autistic identity invalided because of stereotypes and gatekeeping. 

Shout-out to every Autistic person who has been harmed by stigma and traditional “awareness”.

April can be tough to deal with–but we’re tougher. 

Quick shout out to neurowonderfulWho has been an excellent resource about autism and all around awesome person! Thank you so much for all that you do! I’ve learned so much from you as I’m sure so many more have!

CLICK THROUGH TO THEIR* BLOG http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/

Be sure to check out their* YouTube videos and subscribe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez936r2F35U

EDIT* for proper pronoun, please respect peoples’ pronouns

April is Autism Acceptance Month. Many members of the autistic community,myself included, do no support Light It Up Blue because it was created by Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is an organization that has caused more harm than good to the Autistic community. That’s why this month I urge all of of you to #WalkInRed instead. Walk in Red was created by #ActuallyAutistic people to combat the stigma that surrounds autism. Hopefully this month will encourage us all to support autistic people and allow autistic people to be the voice for autism. #autismacceptancemonth

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So today is autism awareness day!

To say it short, I have always felt different from the other kids. I had a different mind, different interests and a different way of doing things, which left me to be the victim of bullying and teasing from kindergarden, and way into 6th grade. When I was little, I resorted to physical violence as a way of getting out my anger, which I proudly haven’t done in many years now. When I was 10 or 11 years old, I was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome. When I was 12, I started in a class specifically for people with a diagnosis, which gave me many great friends, but unfortunately also left me severely lacking proper education, so after much thought, I left the class when I was 14, and started in a “normal class” with my mind set to finishing elementary school with good grades.

People have always been using my diagnosis as something negative, but recently I have grown to admire it. After all, without it, I don’t think I would have the same interests as I do, and without the interests, I would probably not have the same amazing friends that I have, who support me and encourages me in every possible way. Along with that, I’d like to think that many of the greatest minds of this world, and many of them whom I admire, have had this diagnosis; Nikola Tesla and Albert Einstein are both very much assumed to have had aspergers, and I look up to them both a great deal.

I have included some selfies, as it is also “autism selfie day”, and a silly picture of me and my almost 7-year-old baby brother who have had his ADHD diagnosis for about one year now. Happy autism awareness day!

Autism Acceptance Month: Things to Do (and things to avoid)

*Will be updated every now and then throughout April*

Invariably, and inevitably, every April it is a deluge of theAutism “Awareness” campaigns that do little to promoteacceptance for autistic people. This is a compilation of good ways tosupport acceptance for autistic people and make it Autism Acceptance Month instead, and also a list of things to not do. 

Here we go!

Amplify autistic voices. This is our month (not, as Autism Speaks would have you believe, a month for“families of people affected by autism”) and we want it to reflect that.

Actually autistic autism bloggers/blogs to start with (only a sampling of the many fabulous people out there):

Disability in Kidlit (disabilityinkidlit)​ is doing an Autism on the Page Event with contributions from autistic people

Follow the Autism Acceptance Day page started by Paula Durbin-Westby. 

Support self-advocacy organizations run by autistic people by donating or getting involved.

Ways to donate to ASAN by buying online

Raise money for ASAN online

Go to Autism Acceptance Month Website. There, you can:

#AcceptanceIs Social Media Campaign: Tell everyone what autism acceptance is!

Walk in Red instead of Lighting it Up Blue on April 2nd

Avoid Autism Speaks and Lighting it Up Blue

Here’s a good checklist of how to determine if a charity is a good one to support.

Autism Acceptance Activity Ideas for Americans
  • Register to vote.
  • Do something fun with an autistic child.
  • Find out whether your state legislature will make any decisions about disability issues in the near future.
  • Go out with other disabled adults.  Take selfies.
  • Tell one person who did not know that you are autistic.
  • Find out if there is anything you can do for your local special education or inclusive classroom teachers.
  • Look up what positions, if any, your senators and representatives have on disability issues.
  • Join or donate to a good disability organization.
  • Teach an autistic child how to do something or about a subject you know well.
  • Visit a disabled adult who might be isolated.
  • If you can drive, help someone who cannot run an important errand.
  • Help teens and adults who are disabled and poor get library cards.
  • Help autistics who seem dissatisfied with their means of communication look for better ones.
  • Invite autistic adults to come and visit you.  Talk about disability issues or just watch a movie.
  • Sign up to receive emailed action alerts from the major autism and disability organizations.
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When I was diagnosed with autism, I never thought anything of it. Until people bullied me, abused me, and traumatized me. I thought I was broken, something alien and I hated myself. It’s taken so long, but I’ve come to love me again. We who are autistic are not less of a person, we are not burdens, we are not poison. We are whole. We are art. We are a gift. So if you have autism, don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone and you are not cursed.

Super important PSA

Hey guys please remember to celebrate Autism ACCEPTANCE month this April and not Autism AWARENESS month. Autism Acceptance month is supported by #actuallyautistic people. Autism Awarness is supported by Autism Speaks AKA the people that have been spreading propaganda about Autism and other cognitive disorders and making money off of it. Autism Awarness instills fear and lies about autistic people in an effort to “cure” us. Autism Acceptance says “We’re not sick. We are here and can live happy healthy lives.”

Bonus: Don’t light up blue! Go red!

(( Hey everyone ! It’s an important month (April), and I’d love to help spread the love for folks like Goldie . I’d like to remind y’all that it’s Autism Acceptance Month, not ‘Awareness’, and please don’t listen to or support ‘Autism Speaks’ or any company that endorses them .

If you can, it’d be great of you to take the time out of your day sometime this month (or any other month, really !) to get involved or donate to ASAN, to help spread the love and empowerment for our friends . Spread knowledge about autism and how it affects people, listen to actual autistic people and let them speak, be a real ally .

And, I’d just like to take a moment to give a warm hug and all of my love to all my autistic homies for a minute . This is your month . Make it for you . You’re gonna do great, friend, and I’m so proud of you for keepin’ on in this harsh world . It’s getting easier by the second, you just gotta keep doing your best, and we’re right here with you . ))

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 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 want to help autistic people this month please please please listen to autistic voices and not autism speaks. There are many reasons documented in here here and here

if you want reliable resources from actually autistic people here are some blogs you should check out neurowonderful reclaimingtheautismtag silversarcasm and autisticadvocacy (the final one is an entire organization that is an alternative to autism speaks run by autistic people). Also you can ask me for advice, however, my experiences are rather different because I have both adhd and autism and might mistaken adhd experiences with autistic experiences and so on and so forth.

the pony character is named April and she belongs to me

lighting it up blue


Hi friends! As we near yet another April, I’ve been getting many questions about whether I support the “light it up blue” events, or if I would approve of these awareness campaigns if they were not associated with Autism Speaks.

In my opinion, “light it up blue” doesn’t do much good, even if an organization other than Autism Speaks was behind it, because autism awareness is an incomplete idea. In fact, such campaigns may ultimately do more harm than good. Awareness without acceptance or education can (and does) easily become panic, overwhelming negativity, and a source of misinformation. Awareness without acceptance just contributes to the fear and stigma surrounding autistic people.

When it comes to “light it up blue” and similar events to raise awareness, there is most often no real education, no autistic people involved to share their stories, and no message of acceptance or love to balance out the awareness. And so this brand of awareness ends up being inaccurate, incomplete, and overwhelmingly negative, and really just contributes to the irrational panic surrounding autism and autistic people.

What these non-autistic led awareness campaigns tend to impart to the average non-autistic person is that autism is as a vague, scary childhood “disease” (that alone is misinformation enough to harm the autistic community) that is rapidly becoming an “epidemic” and for which parents are desperately seeking a cure. They learn that having an autistic child is very hard on parents, and that autistic people lead sad lives with little to no value, and that any disability or difference is something that needs to be totally eradicated through the application of medicine.

I feel that autism acceptance— the respect, the equal rights and opportunities, and the societal inclusion of autistic people— is a goal that would actually change society for the better and help to make better lives for autistic people and our families.

For anyone curious about the difference between awareness and acceptance, and why autistic people and our families need acceptance, here are three posts that do a good job:

http://blogs.plos.org/neurotribes/2012/04/02/autism-awareness-is-not-enough-heres-how-to-change-the-world/

http://autismacceptance.org/page/why-autism-acceptance

http://iamthethunder.tumblr.com/post/46990050612/april-is-autism-awareness-month-autistics-are

And here is an introduction to “Autism Acceptance Month”, which is what I will be celebrating this April, and every April to come:

http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/about/


photo credit:  DMedina, morguefile.com