All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there...Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison...I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

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26 September 2009

Making History: 9/26/09

Nothing About Us Without Us! 

We are not puzzles, we are people. 

Autism Speaks does not speak for me.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network is grateful to Oregon's KOIN-TV and KPTV FOX 12, for taking the time to hear ASAN's message. Both news stations brought positive attention to ASAN's cause, which aims to advance the principles of the disability rights movement in the world of autism, as well as to ensure equal access, opportunities, and rights in society for individuals on the spectrum.

The segments that aired Saturday, September 26th, are a monumental victory for the Autistic community, and for the Disability community as a whole. History was made when ASAN-PDX's protest against Autism Speaks was documented by two state news channels. 

To have powerful footage of our political action to gain equal civil rights is golden. 

To learn more, visit these links:

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up. -Winston Churchill

17 September 2009

The Fingerprint of Autism

Autistic Spectrum Condition often evolves (in varying degrees) from childhood to adulthood. It is important to remember that developmental disability does not mean inability to develop. Personally, there is a significant difference between my awareness and self-determination in adulthood when compared to my childhood.

Many autistic individuals have several coping mechanisms and tactics in place that allow them to experience the world in a more productive way. Often, as children, we do not yet understand what bothers or overstimulates us. As we learn more about ourselves, we do. Self-awareness is key to change and growth. And awareness is a natural part of human evolution--even for autistic individuals. Some of us evolve more than others. Some of us are more self-determined than others. This is not a positive or a negative, it just is. Autism is as individual as fingerprints: if you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person.

A trademark of autism is uneven skills (ex: successful at a job of high status, yet lacking self-care skills, or smooth at conversing on specific topics, yet at a loss when the subject changes). Just as the rest of the human race, autistic people also show variance in personalities. As anyone else, we navigate our way through life with our own unique personal challenges. So why are many people stumped when autistic individuals exhibit differences amongst each other? Are all deaf people the same? No. Are all blue-eyed people the same? No. Are all autistic people the same? No.

Background, community, education-level, family relations, life experiences, etc. all play just as much a part in the autistic person's life as in any other human's life. Boxing autism into categories of severity or appearance is a strong contributor to the lack of diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) in females. This also applies to males.

Further reading:

08 September 2009

Autistic Aspirations: Do We Have the Same Chances?

I love books. I love writing. That's a photo of the Young Adult section at Forbidden Planet. That's right, the awesome UK bookstore on 179 Shaftesbury Avenue (London). There's also a Forbidden Planet in New York City.

E.'s current goal = published author.

Imagine the excitement of having your novel showcased in a bookstore window for passersby to see. How about a shelf dedicated to your novel or book series?

Over the last two months, I've been on an Aspitude! hiatus in order to complete a manuscript. My project is a Young Adult read that fits into both the multicultural and paranormal genres. Will it be published? Will it be graced with an intriguing cover? Will it be placed on the same shelves next to other young adults titles that we know and love?

Getting published essentially boils down to the luck and skill of the writer. That noted, if both skill and luck are maximized, will I be passed over anyway because I often use non-standard communication?

Individuals with unique communication styles often remain in the dark, living behind shadows from which they are allowed only to peek and watch from, cut off from equal participation in a world that often spins too fast.

Writing is my ideal mode of communication. Written words come more quickly to me than speech. Perhaps I can compose a decent query letter to a writer's agent, but would I be just as convincing over the phone? Sometimes I do things that non-autistic people think are strange--like providing unexpected responses, or not looking people in the eyes as I speak. Despite my differences, I deserve to be judged with a fair hand.

All people have fears. But for some, we carry not only our allotted fears, but our fears of being passed over or misunderstood because we are different.