Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Listen to the Silence

Autism Jabberwocky on ASDay.  I disagree with the opinions of the author, since he's using old data that doesn't represent the autism spectrum as it's understood today and we have several people attending who identify as being severely autistic--some even lack verbal skills to varying degrees.  (I have nonverbal episodes myself.)  A friend pointed out to me that the author does not recognize the difference between speaking and communicating, and I would be inclined to agree with that.  Nonverbal autistic people can often communicate very well with text-to-speech software, technology, and sign language.

But I think that it would be dishonest of me not to include a post just because I disagree with it.  I also agree that we need to do more to include people who are severely disabled in this community, but I don't think that denying their existence within this very movement is going to help matters.

People using alternate communication methods who are partially verbal or nonverbal may find this triggering, and those who are easily disturbed by hints that their disabilities are not real may find it triggering as well.


  1. First, thank you for including the post even though you disagreed with it. It was not my intention for it to be included here but that is neither here nor there.

    Three points, if I may.

    First, you claim that I am using old data without providing any citations for better sources. If you have newer information that you think I am not considering, I would be interested in seeing them. So far no one has been able to provide any.

    Second, the talking vs communication point is really just a red herring. Perhaps I should have made it clearer in the post, but my point was about communication in general not speech specifically.

    I have spend years upon years trying to build general communication skills in my children using every reputable method out there. My kids have spend years upon years trying to learn to communicate with the rest of the world. I don't care whether their communication takes the form of speech, sign language, pecs, gestures, or is generated with an AAC device. We work with whatever communication we can get.

    So saying that I don't understand the difference between speech and communication is simply not true.

    Third, I am not only talking about "severe" autism but also about moderate autism as well. As I am sure you know very well, autism is a very broad spectrum and some people are impacted in some areas more than others.

  2. I didn't read the post, appreciate the warnings about it being dismissive.

    If you want more from nonverbal autistics and the more severely affected, you might want to pick a different title next time. I'm sure I am not the only one who is unable to get past the title being excluding of those who can't speak at all.


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