To raising Autism awareness and Acceptance, and battling negative stereotypes about Autism.
To advocate for the inclusion of Autistic people in the community.
To offer a forum to broadcast our stories and thoughts, and to help the messages of Autistic people and non-Austistic allies reach as many people as possible.
Autistic self-advocacy is on the rise, and it has built a significant ground in other countries, particularly in the United States. Here in the Philippines, though, autistic self-advocacy is a movement that we autistic Filipinos can take advantage of in pushing for our rights and acceptance. And I would like to share some of my ideas with the autism community, and hope to inspire others to follow suit.
I was in this two-day autism conference, where I attended with two hats: the organizer’s hat and the self-advocate’s hat. It was where such topics as the DSM-V, the issue of stem-cell therapy as a purported treatment for autism (don’t get me wrong–I loathe autism cures), diverse therapies for autism, and others have been discussed.
There was a part, though, that I love. This was a part of the conference where some awesomes (a name I gave to my fellow autistics) sat down in a panel, and told everyone inside the hall their life stories on how they cope with challenges that they face in daily living. The demographic was diverse: a singer, a wishful actor, a teaching assistant, and an office professional. Their stories were inspiring enough, but what inspired me even more was the fact that otherawesomes are inside the same hall, waiting to be discovered. And so, when it was my turn to speak at the forum, I motioned every autistic individual to stand up. In a sea of parents, teachers, therapists, and other neurotypicals, I was amazed at those who stood up and showed themselves to the people in the hall.