Listen to my Appearance on “The Poetic Travels on the Autism Highway” Radio Show

If you missed this past Saturday’s episode of the Poetic Travels on the Autism Hwy radio show where I was a guest, have no fear! The show, hosted by Kelly Green and Erik Estabrook, is available as an archived broadcast for your listening pleasure. We spoke about autism, poetry, creativity, activism, and a host of other topics (yes, even the J. Cole incident). You can visit their show on Blog Talk Radio and listen at:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/erikevision/2013/07/27/poetic-travels-on-the-autism-highway

I had a great time talking with the hosts and sharing my poetry, which included three selections from Novena (remixed): “Icarus”, “Meridians”, and “You Don’t See It”. I also read “Tribe”, which appeared in We’ve Been Here All Along: Autistic Over 35 Speak Out in Poetry and Prose. And don’t forget: Novena (remixed) is available August 14! More information about the new book is at my other blog, Raven’s Wing Poetry.

-Nicole

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J. Cole’s Lyrics Prove that More Understanding of Autism is Needed in the Black Community

There’s nothing like the smell of insults in the morning. I checked my Twitter feed and found this little gem:

I did some investigating about the lyrics which @AutisticPoet had referenced and found that they come from Drake’s song “Jodeci Freestyle”. In the last few days, J. Cole has certainly gotten the wrong kind of attention for these lyrics. There are many, myself included, who are upset at him because he chose to use the word “autistic” as an insult. “Autistic” by itself is merely a descriptive word that describes a person on the autism spectrum, or a person with autistic traits – unfortunately, the way in which J. Cole and others use the word can change its connotation to being negative, demeaning, and potentially dehumanizing.

Some in the autistic community are already taking action about this. Anna Kennedy and the Anti-Bullying Alliance have started a petition asking for an apology from J. Cole and Drake for the offensive lyrics. But I think this particular incident is indicative of a larger issue: the severe need for autism understanding and acceptance in the Black community.

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But What Do Autistic People Think? New Video from Rethinking Autism

Rethinking Autism has released their latest PSA video, “Autism Support Group”. The video is very well done and I believe really speaks to one particular feeling — that sometimes, autistic adults feel as if they are not being heard. Tammy Klein has some really insightful things to say. Please check this out — and BRAVO to Rethinking Autism for their efforts to change the public conversation about autism. And PLEASE consider passing this along to friends, family, acquaintances, etc.

-Nicole

Autistic Adults Speak on Rethinking Autism

Please check out the new “Our Voice” page on Rethinking Autism’s website. Autistic adults have lent their voices — advice and insight — on what they would like parents of autistic children to know. I have a quote there as well, as well as Sharon daVanport and Tricia Kennedy of Autism Women’s Network and Kat Bjornstad. There appears to be a video in the works — stay tuned! (And have I mentioned that I think Rethinking Autism rocks?)

-Nicole

Putting the Awe in Autism: My Poem on TV and Other Thoughts

Note: this post is modified from a post which originally appeared on Raven’s Wing Poetry.

First, an announcement: an excerpt of the video of my poem, “You Don’t See It”, was featured in a Long Island TV FIOS segment about Awe In Autism.

The segment has been posted on MyLITV’s website in two videos. Part 1 features Awe In Autism, its founders (Deborah French and Kim Covell), and some of the work featured on the site, include the excerpt of my poem. Part 2 features “for dylan”, a song and music video which the founders call “the song behind the Awe in Autism” project.

In and amongst this bit of news and self-promotion, I feel the need to express a couple of things. First of all, if I haven’t said it before, my thanks and gratitude go to Awe in Autism for giving the opportunity for my poetry, namely “You Don’t See It”, to be featured on their site. AWE has given many autistic artists, musicians, poets, and others an opportunity to have their work seen, heard, and accessed. Also, as Kim Covell states in the first video, artists with autism often have a harder time self-promoting, and while I’ve gotten used to it thanks to the Internet, I must say I still find the task daunting sometimes. I am grateful for the opportunity for my work to reach a wider audience and go beyond this blog thanks to AWE.

Secondly, as I have said before, “You Don’t See It” is probably my best statement and expression to the world of what having Aspergers/being autistic is like. The experience of self-discovery and acceptance has been joyful and at times painful and overwhelming — but probably the most significant thing I could say is that is has been enlightening. And through it all, the craft of writing and poetry have been a conduit and a means for this journey.

Writing is my native language. I am much, much better at the written word than I am at oral communication: there are times that my tongue fails, but praise God my pen does not. This is part of my reality as an autistic person, and is true for many others. The poetry helps me say what sometimes my lips cannot. I hope I have given you, the readers of WWA, at least a glimpse or a peek at what that reality — and my reality as a whole — is. I also hope that through the writings on this blog, both prose and poetry, that I have reached you, moved you, connected with you, made you think, and most of all, made you feel.

Finally, please consider not only watching the videos of the segment but visiting Awe in Autism to see the vast, wonderful spectrum of art by creative and talented autistic individuals. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed, but amazed at the breadth of expression the site has to offer.

Saludos,

Nicole

Please Vote for AWN in the Pepsi Refresh Project!

Autism Women’s Network is in the running in the Pepsi Refresh Project for a $5,000 grant! If they receive the grant, they plan to host Project FAIM (Female Autistic Insight Mentoring) workshops “which will focus on qualities specific to females on the autism spectrum. Topics will include: peer supports, adolescence, adult life, relationships, vulnerabilities and successful communications.”

Consider that we are underserved, underdiagnosed, and underrecognized. This is a step in the right direction. Please stop by and vote daily for them! http://pep.si/a8PpwM And please tweet this/share this/etc around the interwebs…deadline is August 31!

-Nicole