Tag Archives: Amy Sequenzia

It is May… We are Moving Forward! #AutismPositivity2015

By Amy Sequenzia

Acceptance, Love and Self-Care: #AutismPositivity2015

It is May.

April is over, and after the dreadful “awareness” campaigns, after all the clueless people – in some cases plain hurtful people – giddy about blue lights, after Autism Speaks once again spread the hateful rhetoric about us, after Autism Speaks collected money from people who walked in circles that led them nowhere, after companies partnered with Autism Speaks in silencing Actually Autistic voices, April is finally over.

We will see the consequences of the “beware of autism” campaigns all year long. Since awareness = beware of = fear = “autism is a problem”, we are already/still seeing very young Autistic kids being arrested, in handcuffs and shackles, charged with felony, all because they had a meltdown (usually caused by failures of the neurotypical adults around the child).

More people are listening to Actually Autistic voices.
More people are not afraid of learning from us.

One example that made me squee came from television, and expanded to social media. I have never seen this happen before. Autistic characters have always been caricatures, a product of the “awareness” campaigns. And actors have been mostly unresponsive to us, they have usually followed the lead of the big media savvy Autism Speaks.

I am not a big TV fan but if I see something I like, I do watch and I saw not one, but two awesome Autistic characters on TV.

In one show, the main character was Autistic. He was a prodigy, he stimmed with a ball in public, he had meltdowns.
He was also lovely, affectionate, empathic, and sometimes confused about his emotions.
He had a romantic/sexual relationship, you know, as many people do.

The character was not a caricature, he was Actually Autistic. He was human, like all Autistics are.

The credit goes to actor Gavin Stenhouse, who did what should be common sense: he reached out and learned from Actually Autistic people for the part.
He is also a sweetheart, very accessible and responsive to fans on Twitter.

He went all in when asked to join the #WalkInRed hashtag in support of Autism Acceptance. He took pictures and tweeted them.

When he tweeted #LIUB (Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue”), we asked him to not do it. He read about our reasons, and deleted the tweet.

He heard us, he joined us. Acceptance and Respect.
A positive portrayal of autism, an actor who is accepting.
Autism Positivity.

The other show also had an Autistic main character. The actor on this show was Ashley Zukerman. The character was a hacker who had extreme sensory overload, huge meltdowns, and who was not considered capable of making his own decisions.

I loved how this one character debunks the silliness of functioning labels. The actor showed us a character with a wide range of needs and unique assets that is what we all experience in our lives. He needed some accommodations, and he needed space. He needed to be accepted and respected.

More Autism Positivity. No caricatures.

I think this is important and I thanked them both for that. TV is mass media and, in the same way the proponents of “beware of autism” send subliminal messages that scare people, positive messages can also reach TV viewers.

Something even more awesome: Autistic actors on stage, using autism as their best asset, like actor Mickey Rowe. Autism Positivity in the performing arts!

It is May!
We are moving forward, towards acceptance. It is sometimes frustrating and slow but along the way we collect positivity, we celebrate them.

Acceptance and #AutismPositivity.

Note:

I know many people want to see disabled actors playing disabled characters. I do too.
I will, however, celebrate any Autistic character that is realistic and not based on assumptions, stereotypes or portrayed through the lens of normalization.
If the actors do their research and seek our input, if they are respectful and open, I will celebrate them.
Furthermore, some actors may be neurodivergent or Autistic. Unless they confirm or deny, we don’t really know about their neurology.

If they spread Autism Positivity, I will celebrate.

Links:
Gavin Stenhouse Twitter account: https://twitter.com/gavinstenhouse (check his pictures)
Show was “Allegiance”, it has been cancelled but I think it is still available online
This interview is great (acceptance and identity-first language) http://starrymag.com/?p=5591

Ashley Zukerman Twitter account: https://twitter.com/ashzukerman
Miniseries was “The Code”, on Netflix

Actor Mickey Rowe Twitter account: https://twitter.com/MickeyIsaacRowe
He wrote this: http://howlround.com/our-differences-are-our-strengths-neurodiversity-in-theatre

Original Post: http://autismwomensnetwork.org/acceptance-love-and-self-care-autismpositivity2015/

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Amy Sequenzia on Acceptance, Love, Self-Care: #AutismPositivity2015

By Amy Sequenzia

AutismPositivity2015

Autism Positivity is coming out of April stronger.
Tired
A little frustrated
Spoonless.

But stronger.

Autism Positivity is rejecting blue lights, casting a red shadow and obscuring the blue puzzle pieces of hate.

We continue our #WalkInRed call to action, we are joined by accepting friends, old and new.

As Elvis Costello has been singing for decades, even the Angels want to wear the red shoes.

Acceptance, Love (and the Angels wearing red shoes) = Positivity

Autism Positivity is reclaiming words used to devalue us, and giving them their true meaning.

Defiant: standing for what we believe in and for whom we are, against the normalization imposed on us.

Non-compliant: refusing to accept the low expectations imposed on us, refusing to “obey”, or to “behave” according to what is arbitrarily defined as “normal” and “acceptable”.

Withdrawn: not isolated, but knowing when to retreat for self-preservation and self-care

Obsessed: finding joy in discoveries beyond the ordinary.

We reclaim those words and we exercise our self-determination.
We are defiant and non-compliant because we stand for our humanity.

We take care of our need for self-regulation and we retreat, even if the majority insists that socializing means being surrounded by people all the time, exchanging (sometimes pointless) words, acting “normal”.

We defy the usual narrative that talks about us without us, and we don’t back down. We demand to be heard. We move forward kicking open the doors that are being constantly being slammed in our faces.

Autism Positivity can come with tears, but it leads to pride.

I defy, I don’t comply
I obsess about my rights
I take care of myself.

I am also radical
Rebellious
I speak my mind

Autism Positivity does not ride a unicorn
Autism Positivity can come with pain and scars.
Autism Positivity is a lot like a battle

But we determine the goals
We define the priorities

Autism Positivity is self-discovery
It is our path.

Autism Positivity is Acceptance, Love and Self-Care

Original Post: http://ollibean.com/2015/05/15/ollibean-acceptance-love-self-care-autismpositivity2015/

 

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What is Autism Positivity? Expressions of PosAutivity: #AutismPositivity2014

By Amy Sequenzia

We fight against stigmas. We fight to be heard.
The world is not generally friendly to Autistics. We still need to remind people that the same rights they have, rights they expect to be recognized, also apply to us.

We celebrate Autism Positivity because we know we are not a collection of deficits. We know that because we, like everyone else, have assets, abilities and gifts.

We know this because we are human beings.Autism Positivity 2014

Autistics can be extra sensitive to sound and light. While this is seen as a deficit by a majority that is still not accepting of the need for accommodations, Autistics can experience the beauty of the colors in music, in the words we hear, and in the people around us. We can see the wind and hear the silence.

We celebrate Autism Positivity because we experience amazing beauty most people can’t see.

Many of us can’t speak like the majority can. That’s also is seen as a broken feature. But we are listening and learning at a faster pace than the neuromajority is. Give us the opportunity and the right technology, and our thoughts will enrich your life.

We celebrate Autism Positivity because what is inside our minds is worthy the wait to hear our typed, written voices.

Autism Positivity is the freedom to flap, rock, spin and jump.
It is the accepting presence of those who “get it”.

Autism Positivity is feeling intensely every emotion around us.
It is felling safe and finding comfort being alone, with ourselves.

Autism Positivity is having the courage to be ourselves.
It is seeing our lives and actions help young autistics to do the same.

Autism positivity is learning to say “no” to forced compliance.
It is refusing stereotypes, it is fighting stigma and wrong assumptions.

Autism Positivity is reclaiming our right to make decisions.
It is rebelling against practices that seek to fix what is not broken.
We are not broken.

Autism Positivity is exercising our humanity.

We celebrate Autism Positivity because we are human beings and we are pretty awesome, in our Autistic way.

 

Original post at AWN (Autism Women’s Network): http://autismwomensnetwork.org/what-is-autism-positivity-expressions-of-posautivity-autismpositivity2014/

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Filed under Autism Positivity 2014, Autism Positivity Flash Blog, Expressions of PosAutivity, Flash Blog Posts

Young Autistics Making Me Happy – Expressions of PosAutivity: #AutismPositivity2014

By Amy Sequenzia

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy!

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They’ve already seen pain
Despite their young age
They know the words that hurt
They’ve been called names
Young Autistics, seeking acceptance

There are some even younger
Not yet harmed by dismissive words
They don’t know how hurtful it can be
To live in a world that refuses to acknowledge diversity
Young Autistics, flapping their happiness day to day

And from the happy flappiness we get our cue
The world does not change
If we don’t take control of the conversation

The little ones lead the way
Experiencing their unique view of the world
They talk, gesture, point, smile
Communication does not have to be uniform
It is up to us to embrace who they really are

The Autistics who are just a little older
Look at their elders for guidance and support
We let them know they do have value
They are learning about their rights
Facing stigma with courage and resolve

Young Autistics making me happy
Being who they are, showing the world
That they define what is normal
How they learn
What they like

Being their own amazing Autistic selves

Young Autistics make me happy
When they fight to prove their worth
Even though they already are worthy
Just for being part of the humankind

They learn how to communicate
In a way neurotypicals can understand
They show us the brilliant minds
Shield by bigotry, assumptions and lack of imagination
Young Autistics as mentors for change

From the very young
To the ones in their early teens
Young Autistics make me happy
And their families make me smile too

Positive approaches honoring Autistics
Positive self-image, fostering acceptance
Positive attitude, self-advocacy
Positive views for a successful future

PosAutivity

Young Autistics making me happy
When they show Autistic pride
Shrugging away old assumptions
Showing the reality of Autistic lives

PosAutivity

No more self-loathing
No more silencing
Ready for the fight
Taking back their rights

Being Autistic happy
Living Autistic lives
Positive views, positive future
Positive
Autistic

PosAutive

Copyright 2014 by Amy Sequenzia

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy! – See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy!

They’ve already seen pain
Despite their young age
They know the words that hurt
They’ve been called names
Young Autistics, seeking acceptance

There are some even younger
Not yet harmed by dismissive words
They don’t know how hurtful it can be
To live in a world that refuses to acknowledge diversity
Young Autistics, flapping their happiness day to day

And from the happy flappiness we get our cue
The world does not change
If we don’t take control of the conversation

The little ones lead the way
Experiencing their unique view of the world
They talk, gesture, point, smile
Communication does not have to be uniform
It is up to us to embrace who they really are

The Autistics who are just a little older
Look at their elders for guidance and support
We let them know they do have value
They are learning about their rights
Facing stigma with courage and resolve

Young Autistics making me happy
Being who they are, showing the world
That they define what is normal
How they learn
What they like

Being their own amazing Autistic selves

Young Autistics make me happy
When they fight to prove their worth
Even though they already are worthy
Just for being part of the humankind

They learn how to communicate
In a way neurotypicals can understand
They show us the brilliant minds
Shield by bigotry, assumptions and lack of imagination
Young Autistics as mentors for change

From the very young
To the ones in their early teens
Young Autistics make me happy
And their families make me smile too

Positive approaches honoring Autistics
Positive self-image, fostering acceptance
Positive attitude, self-advocacy
Positive views for a successful future

PosAutivity

Young Autistics making me happy
When they show Autistic pride
Shrugging away old assumptions
Showing the reality of Autistic lives

PosAutivity

No more self-loathing
No more silencing
Ready for the fight
Taking back their rights

Being Autistic happy
Living Autistic lives
Positive views, positive future
Positive
Autistic

PosAutive

Copyright 2014 by Amy Sequenzia

– See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy!

They’ve already seen pain
Despite their young age
They know the words that hurt
They’ve been called names
Young Autistics, seeking acceptance

There are some even younger
Not yet harmed by dismissive words
They don’t know how hurtful it can be
To live in a world that refuses to acknowledge diversity
Young Autistics, flapping their happiness day to day

And from the happy flappiness we get our cue
The world does not change
If we don’t take control of the conversation

The little ones lead the way
Experiencing their unique view of the world
They talk, gesture, point, smile
Communication does not have to be uniform
It is up to us to embrace who they really are

The Autistics who are just a little older
Look at their elders for guidance and support
We let them know they do have value
They are learning about their rights
Facing stigma with courage and resolve

Young Autistics making me happy
Being who they are, showing the world
That they define what is normal
How they learn
What they like

Being their own amazing Autistic selves

Young Autistics make me happy
When they fight to prove their worth
Even though they already are worthy
Just for being part of the humankind

They learn how to communicate
In a way neurotypicals can understand
They show us the brilliant minds
Shield by bigotry, assumptions and lack of imagination
Young Autistics as mentors for change

From the very young
To the ones in their early teens
Young Autistics make me happy
And their families make me smile too

Positive approaches honoring Autistics
Positive self-image, fostering acceptance
Positive attitude, self-advocacy
Positive views for a successful future

PosAutivity

Young Autistics making me happy
When they show Autistic pride
Shrugging away old assumptions
Showing the reality of Autistic lives

PosAutivity

No more self-loathing
No more silencing
Ready for the fight
Taking back their rights

Being Autistic happy
Living Autistic lives
Positive views, positive future
Positive
Autistic

PosAutive

Copyright 2014 by Amy Sequenzia

– See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

This poem is for my young friends: Evie, Ty, Max, Fallon, Mu, Jack, Emma, H., Philip, Oliver, Brooke, Henry, Miri, Cody, MissG, MasterL, and many others I cannot name here but I know are going to grow up to change the conversation. You make me very happy! – See more at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/#sthash.8HZVvC1V.dpuf

________

Original post at: http://ollibean.com/2014/04/30/young-autistics-autismpositivity2014/

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Amy Sequenzia to “I Wish I didn’t have Asperger’s” #AutismPositivity2012 Flash Blog

To “I wish I didn’t have Aspergers”.

I am autistic. I am one among many who has been called “retarded” too many times because I look very disabled. I am pretty sure some people still think of me as pitiful and unable to do anything.

I don’t know why you feel that having Aspergers is bad. Maybe you have been bullied, called “weird” or worse. Maybe you feel lonely. I can’t blame you for being upset. But you must hear this. You are not the problem. Aspergers is not the problem. Society’s attitude is the problem. Neurotypical’s attitude towards you is the problem. Acceptance is the solution.

I am not saying that everything will always be easy, but things can get better. There are a lot of us, all over the spectrum, who are very supportive of each other. We will accept and support you, if that is what you are hoping for.

Having Aspergers, or being autistic is not easy. Our brain works differently and we react in different ways. This is sometimes seen as “odd” or “weird”. But we, people on the spectrum, decided that even the “weird” is cool and ok, since it does not harm anyone.

If you are reading this, I hope you understand that we are prepared to accept and include you. Maybe you will find an answer to why you feel this way. We will respect you and maybe you will find good friends.                                

It worked for me. Despite all the name-calling, I am valued for who I am, even though my needs are still many. My friends are able to see my abilities too. I continue to try to prove myself worthy and my friends encourage me.

Having Aspergers does not mean being less, it means being different. And different is good, even though it isn’t always easy.

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