Monday, November 1, 2010

Autistics Speaking Day

Today is Autistics Speaking Day. It was created as a reaction to an Australian group's "Communication Shutdown" in which they were requesting that people 'shut down' their facebooks to understand what it is like to be autistic. There are plenty of reasons why this is ridiculous, and plenty of other terrific bloggers have covered it better than I ever could.
But I'm going to add my own voice to the mix, because no autistic person should go silent when they feel the need to communicate their views.
Today, I did an interview for the local TV news station, to talk about a project that my local autism club, of which I am the spokesperson, was doing to bring about discussion on autism. On Wednesday, this piece will be continued, and on Saturday, it will culminate in us showing Temple Grandin, the HBO film, and having a discussion about autism afterwards.
Not one of the autistic members of the club has been silent while we've been planning this out. We've collaborated, created posters, pitched ideas off each other, discussed the possibility of Closed Captioning in the theatre, and put all of our heads together to create a project we are proud of.
All of this hard work would not have been possible had it not been for the assistance of the internet. We emailed, we designed PDF files of our fliers, and the reporter caught my attention via facebook messaging. It was actually via the internet that I discovered this club.
So, I have to ask: From my personal experience, how does it make sense to bring awareness to autism by shunning the very thing that opened up many an autistic person to new possibilities and friendships? It makes little to no sense in my brain.
And that is all I have to say on the matter.

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