Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We Are Here, We Are Here: Autistics Speaking Day

"Leah Jane is an Über-liberal, nerdy, feminist, landed immigrant, secular humanist, skeptical, pansexual, overeducated, intellectual, philosophical, artistically inclined, white-tea drinking, loudmouthed, agnostic, politically correct, mordant, autistic American-Canadian Jewess who likes to draw, write poetry, study languages and smell flowers. If there's one thing you can say about her, it's that she loves the world too much to ever be happy in it."

The greatest thrill for me in participating again in Autistics Speaking Day is seeing what power there is in the voices of many autistic bloggers coming together to show that they are far from silent, and not at all cut off from the world, as the event which kickstarted the creation of Autistics Speaking Day implied.

It’s been a year since the first Autistics Speaking Day occurred. Back then, I was still using Blogger, was still in Montana, and was somewhat oblivious to what a vast and awesome network of autistic bloggers were out there. Autistics Speaking Day opened me up to a new network of bloggers and activists on the spectrum who believed, as I do, that the internet was the ultimate tool in dismantling parent/doctor supremacy in the national conversation about autism and the medical/tragedy model of looking at autism.

Look around the blogosphere now. There’s a multitude of autistic bloggers, engaged and passionate. Blogging has helped them tear off the dunce cap the mainstream media and an unquestioning society pushed on them, and with their freedom, they’re doing amazing things. I was part of the dynamic and incredible group which wrote a guide for autistic students going to college. There are autistic “It Gets Better” videos, we have an autistic person sitting on the National Council on Disability, it’s mind boggling to think about all we’ve done as autism bloggers.

It’s not over yet though. One’s still hard-pressed to find a science or news article in the mainstream media which doesn’t go to Autism Squeaks to get a quote on autism, too much time, money, and brainpower are going towards “genetic” components and potential “cures” for autism while adults and children languish without the equipment and training they need to attain independence and life skills needed for happiness, and autism is the favourite punching bag of many movements which are looking for a quick n’ infamous disability to tie to their favourite pet cause, whether it’s vaccines, deodorant, or wireless internet. It can be exhausting, keeping up and staying on top of the rubbish heap which accumulates around the collective idea of autism.

But we’ve got an impressive group of advocates ready to continue dispelling the myths, and I’m going to keep up the good fight myself. Autistics Speaking Day is another day to keep reminding the world that our opinions and words are worthy of consideration. Maybe some day they won’t need the constant reminders.

This is part of a series of posts done by Autistic bloggers and their allies for Autistics Speaking Day, more information about which can be found here: