AWN’s Appeal to Media Sources Covering Newtown, CT
There is no evidence linking planned criminal violence to autism.
With the tragic events unfolding regarding the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, we here at Autism Women’s Network send our heartfelt condolences to all the families. It is unimaginable what they are going through at this time. The loss of so many innocent lives is unspeakable and heartbreaking.
With a few media sources reporting that the shooter is on the autism spectrum, we want to make an appeal that reporters and news outlets tread carefully in this regard. First, nothing has been confirmed about any possible diagnosis the shooter may have had.
Secondly, there is zero evidence linking planned crimes to autism. It cannot be stressed enough that autistic people, as well as all people with disabilities, are more likely to become victims of violence and crime rather than the perpetrators of such: Crime Victims with Developmental Disabilities.
Hello all!! Corina here, your Vice-President in Canada! It’s getting to be autumn here, and I thought I’d fill you in on what’s happening up here in the Great White North. Well, other than getting ready for snow.
Last May, I had the opportunity to represent the Autism Women’s Network at the International Meeting For Autism Research, held in Toronto, Ontario. I met with researchers and other stakeholders, such as the editors at The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. I also had the chance to meet John Elder Robison and Alex Plank. It was a wonderful experience and I wrote up a report of it on Storify, called “An Autistic at IMFAR”.
Autistics Speaking Day 2012: Two Years Since it all Began
Autistic Self Advocates, Loud and Proud
Written by Sharon daVanport
Has it really been two years since it all began? Yes! It seems like only yesterday when autistic self-advocates Kathryn Bjornstad-Kelly, ASAN Communications Assistant, and Corina Becker, Vice-President of Autism Women's Network first proposed a day for people on the autism spectrum to counter a Communications Shutdown on Twitter and Facebook.
Communications Shutdown was proposed by a group in Australia as a day to stop online communications in order for non-autistic people to understand the communication challenges of people on the autism spectrum; sort of like asking others to walk in the shoes of an autistic person for a day.
In the Autism communities, the terms “high functioning” and “low functioning” are used quite a lot. However, when asked, the communities are unable to agree upon defining criteria for each. This has led me to look for a clinical description for each, specifically for Autism. However, I was only able to find the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF), which is not Autism specific but can be applied to all diagnosis in the DSM-IV-TR.
The GAF does not use the terms “high” or “low” functioning, but uses a numeric scale from 0 to 100, based on a person's overall and cumulative rating in social, occupational, academic and psychological functioning. While it does include communication, it is not completely based on one's ability to speak.
I recall that some of the community definitions used speaking and some used IQ as the defining criteria for functioning. However, there seems to be problems with that. For one, there are critics of IQ test results who say that IQ tests are only for measuring learning, not for assessing ability. Researchers have been critical of IQ tests towards Autistics since a lot of tests are language and cultural reference specific, and results are inaccurate. As for using speaking as a defining criteria, it has been noted that the ability to speak does not indicate ability to communicate and articulate, nor does it accurately represent abilities in other functioning areas.
I joined Georgetown University's disability awareness club, DiversAbility, now in its second year, upon arriving at campus. During one of our previous meetings, one of the club's officers mentioned that we will be hosting an "Ability Lunch," which had been done last year, in which people sit at different tables and simulate different disabilities -- for example, wearing a blindfold to simulate blindness or having one’s arm tied behind one’s back to simulate inability to use a limb or lack of a limb -- while eating lunch. I immediately raised objection to the idea, and was told that the discussion following the lunch included criticism of the event.
If that is so, if the flaws in holding such an event are recognized, then why is this event held?
Happy Five Year Anniversary ASAN! Tonight, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s celebration will take place at The National Press Club in Washington, DC from 6:30–9:00 pm.
The 1st Annual Award for Exceptional Services to the Autistic Community will be given to Kathryn Bjornstad and Autism Women's Network Director of Networking, Corina Becker. Bjornstad and Becker are the creators of Autistics Speaking Day. This award is given to those who have helped to build the Autistic community through exceptional advocacy, ingenuity or service.
The idea is that since NTs are taking part in Communication Shutdown, and are at least going to not be saying anything on Twitter and Facebook, that we should take the opportunity to share our experiences and our strengths, and what it's like to be autistic.