Thursday, November 1, 2012

Two Years Since it all Began

Sharon daVanport at the Autism Women's Network has written Autistics Speaking Day 2012: Two Years Since it all Began

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.
However, it didn't take long for autistics to begin discussing the counterproductive message which the communications shutdown implied for people on the autism spectrum. Becker first expressed her concerns in her blog, "No Stereotypes Here."
"I'm sorry, but no. Just no.... Why? Because it relies on the assumption that everyone participating uses Twitter and Facebook to communicate. While I realize that these sites make communication easier, it is not the only way in which NTs can communicate online, and thus subvert the entire exercise of the campaign. 
The question now becomes, what would be a better method for Communication Shutdown that would have the most impact for those involved? 
As for my fellow Autistics, as the NTs disconnect and fall silent, let's speak. 
Let us use this day to flood every social networking site we know with our accounts, our experiences, what it feels like to be Autistic. 
Every sensory pain, every communication frustration, every account of being bullied, every wondrous moment, every peaceful calm, every instant of understanding and joy. 
Let them hear our voices and take back the Autism community."
And as the old saying goes, "the rest is history." Autistics Speaking Day continues forward as a hallmark event whereby autistics unite via online communications in order to be heard.
Join us on AWN Twitter for a full day of tweeting and retweeting as we celebrate another HAPPY AUTISTICS SPEAKING DAY!

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