I watched a video about AAC changing lives of non-speaking Autistics. It sounded great and the title - I Want to Say - seemed to indicate that our voices, the voices of Autistics who type to communicate, would be the main focus.
My first alert signal came when I saw the Autism Speaks logo associated with the video. It turns out that the video is part of a project – Hacking Autism – which is also an Autism Speaks project.
But I did not have to know this to feel disappointed. In the first few minutes of the video, Autism Speaks’ favorite statement: “more children will be diagnosed with autism than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined."
The comparison is not real, since autism is not a disease and nobody dies of autism (unless one of us is murdered for being Autistic – it happens).
At least two of them did. They spoke on our behalf, eloquently and without drama or hyperbole.
Michael John Carley and Ari Ne’eman spoke about, to and for us, autistics. Not only about one group of autistics, but about all autistics. Because, in the end, we all need and want the same things: respect, acceptance, inclusion and support/services.
The Congressional Hearing was about the Federal Response to the Rising Rates of Autism. Several people were invited to talk about us. As it is sadly the practice, no one from our community was considered worth of listening to. But, as we have learnt, we must not be silenced. As a result of our protest, Michael J. Carley, from GRASP, and Ari Ne’eman, from ASAN, received the late invitation.
Todd Drezner recently directed his first documentary film "Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic," (available on DVD, queue on Netflix) and he is also the father of Sam, an autistic child. The title of the film refers to the circuit of lampposts that Drezner’s son likes to visit in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Drezner received his MFA in Film from Columbia University and is the editor of several award-winning documentary films and commercials.
Some of you might have been hearing buzz on Twitter/seeing stuff on Facebook/seeing other info around the Interwebs about the ANCA 2010 Inaugural International Naturally Autistic Awards. The award ceremony was held yesterday in Vancouver, BC. Awards were given in several categories to both adult and youth arists on the autism spectrum, as well as community leader awards. A list of the award recipients, along with other info, is in this post on my blog, Woman With Asperger's: http://womanwithaspergers.com/2010/10/31/thank-you-anca/ I received the Adult International Literary Award for an unpublished collection of poems, "Novena".