Tag Archives: Autism Women’s Network

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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Filed under Acceptance Love and Self-care, Autism Positivity 2015, Autism Positivity Flash Blog, Flash Blog Posts

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