A Decade of Fear and Loathing

FEAR

Autism? Oh, no! Even though it’s 2015, this is the hysterical attitude  many people have about autism.

Autism Speaks (aka: AS, A$, Speaks, or Autism $peaks) has been celebrating its tenth birthday. The well–branded giant’s been busy with the kind of activities it’s become known for. Founders Bob and Suzanne Wright traveled their usual circuit, giving a few interviews on morning television. For the celebration, the group also created a hashtag event on Twitter. The hashtag was largely taken over by activists who oppose Autism Speaks.

This isn’t the first time activists have voiced concerns about Autism Speaks, and for all the perceived love of underdogs in our culture, they’re often ignored. Yet, for over a decade, and in spite of campaigns that promote research to prevent and cure them, autistics (and allies) have stood their ground. They’ve knocked on the doors of legislators, organized protests, created their own awareness campaigns, and formed their own organizations.

I know about these protests, organizations, and efforts because I’ve been active with them for about half the years Speaks has been dispensing its well–packaged fear campaigns. I learned about autistic–led efforts, and got involved thanks to some CAN volunteers. They told me about their work, as well as the efforts of other organizations dedicated to a more healthy, responsible approach to autism awareness, support, and advocacy. These people are champions because they’ve helped educate me, and others, about the importance of autistic advancement. They explained how advancement has been more of a struggle than it should be, and what can be done about it. Even though autistics are struggling to be heard amidst propaganda that depicts them as voiceless, I remain confident. I’m confident that change is coming because I’ve gotten to know a lot of dedicated activists. As long as I’ve been a part of these efforts, I’m still amazed by the disciplined leadership, and persistence of everyone in this movement. Autistic people and allies know how to unite. Everyone’s working towards a bigger goal, and it’s great to see this kind of action. DJ, an activist who said he’s had plenty of disagreements with some of his comrades in the past, said everyone knows there isn’t time to worry about disagreements when people’s rights are on the line. “We know the main goal is more important than ourselves,” he said. Continue reading

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Call for Art Submissions

Kennedy CenterVSA’s Yo Soy…Je Suis…I Am…The Future invites children from around the world to imagine their future!

What: Students with disabilities are invited to share images of their artwork addressing the future. Who will you be in the future? Where will you live? What are your hopes and dreams? How will you change the world?

Where: Submitted artwork will be exhibited online. Selected works will be exhibited at the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C.!

Who may submit: Parents/guardians or educators of children with disabilities, grades Pre-K through 12, ages 3 to 22, are encouraged to submit their children’s artwork.

Artwork Specifications: Two-dimensional works preferred, images of three-dimensional works accepted, no larger than 18 x 24 inches.

When: May 11, 2015 Deadline to submit artwork. Continue reading

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Talent Search for Evening of Entertainment

elvis image shadowRegistration is open for you to show off your talents. Evening of Entertainment is a family friendly fundraiser that will benefit the Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis. Access–4–All sponsors this event, and is seeking individuals with all different abilities who’d like to share their talents, and compete for prizes! Registration Deadline is March 15, 2015

The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis is local non-profit organization that works to ensure that individuals are aware of, and have opportunities to participate in leisure and recreation activities of their choice. Continue reading

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