If you haven’t heard, there is a massive boycott of Autism Speaks! Many of you already know why Autism Speaks is a problem, but now there is organized action. Today, December 9, there is a #Twitter bomb activism action against Autism Speaks and their corporate supporters. For more info, go to Boycott Autism Speaks or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.
Today is the “This Is Autism” flash blog event, and the moderators of the official TIA flash blog (http://thisisautismflashblog.blogspot.ca/) have invited people to share what autism means to them. This is my contribution. Pop on over to Raven’s Wing Poetry to read it.
Autism Speaks has decided to hijack Washington and present its own agenda about autism. Time and time again, they have not included autistic people in their leadership, promoted “cause and cure” thinking about autism, has not represented the interests of autistic people, and continually paints autism as a tragedy. I speak best in verse, so please consider jumping over to Raven’s Wing Poetry and reading my open letter (poem) to Autism Speaks. Oh yeah — and please share. :)
after Michael Stipe
Listen: I have a voice. It is my own.
I did not install you as a little charm box
to hang in the back of my throat
and chime discordant when I send
wind from my sails up to the world
to produce sound – nor did
I rip a little patch of my soul from
the cathedral of strings inside my neck
and give it to you to own and
sound as you please.
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On Monday November 29, my fiancé and I attended Ari Ne’eman’s talk at Ohio State University. The talk was entitled “Neurodiversity and the College Campus”. However, the talk seemed to introduce the topic of neurodiversity by first presenting what he called the “medical” model of disability (which looks at fixing or removing the disability) and then addressing the problem with Autism Speaks and similar organizations, which have been observed to be pro-cure and thus part of the causation-and-cure aspect of the public conversation about autism. Against the medical model, non-profit organizations addressing autism from a cause-and-cure standpoint, and some of the parents and professionals involved with autism he contrasted the idea of neurodiversity, the self-advocacy movement, and the “social” model of disability (which focuses on what it deems to be equal access for disabled people).
This was the first time I have attended a public talk about autism, neurodiversity, or any related issues and as my fiancé and I listened, some thoughts and questions came into my mind. One of these was the question of economic self-sufficiency for the autistic community.