Sunday, November 1, 2015

Why Today Is Important To Me

Annette Sugden from Dancing With Aspergers  

"Why Today Is Important To Me"

#ActuallyAutistic #AutisticsSpeaking2015 This day is important to me because not only am I autistic, but I work with other autistic people, including kids. Plus I'm involved in many online autistic communities. We all "speak." Online, in social media, nobody can tell if a person can talk or not. Many non-speaking autistic people are brilliant and articulate writers. 

Don't assume that a person online can talk. How do you know? All you see are typed words. Plus even those of us who do talk, doesn't mean that we don't communicate better through text. I do. I'm more confident, assertive, open, and myself in writing. My sass, sarcasm, and outspoken personality comes through, as well as my caring, empathy, and compassion. But also my tough times like my sadness, pain, anger, and health issues. In person I can appear aloof, or shy, or shut down. But it's not about me, or any one autistic person. It's about all of us. It's about not letting other people speak for us without our permission, and without input from us. 

Today came about because an ignorant group in Australia (this time not Autism $peaks), decided to have a "Social Media Shutdown" every year on Nov 1, to mimic the experience of non-speaking autistics by having participants not post online, ignoring the fact that autistic people, including non-speaking autistic people are very vocal online, and that we have a vast social network online. 

Please, don't assume anything about autism, and autistic people. We are all different. Don't assume if someone can't talk, or talks in lines from shows and movies, that they aren't intelligent, and can't communicate in other ways. Don't assume if someone can speak, that they are good at speaking, and that they don't have issues getting what they want to say to come out correctly and how they mean it to. If you've met one autistic person, you've met one autistic person. We aren't all alike. We do grow up and become autistic adults. How we were at 4 was not how we are at 20, or 30, or 40, or 50, and so on. Get to know us. Don't speak for us. Ask us.

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