#7DaysOfAction-Guest Post by Mark Neary

Several days ago, we were alerted to this petition about the outrageous and state sanctioned abuse of a young autistic man in the UK who was being kept from his home, his family and community.   Our moderators are largely North American and Australian based,  but we wanted to know more about this.  As it turned out, our friends in the UK said this is not an uncommon thing to happen to disabled people in crisis in the UK.   We wanted to bring attention to this with a guest post on our blog from disability advocate and parent, Mark Neary:

TW: Abuse, institutionalization, ableism

Seven Days of Action by Mark Neary

A few weeks ago, I was invited to join a social media group that had been set up by the relatives of people with learning disabilities that are currently trapped in Assessment & Treatment Units. This issue hits a painful nerve for me because 6 years ago, my son went for 3 three days respite as I was unwell and it took 358 days to get him back home again. Only then and the intervention of a High Court Judge who declared that for the whole year, Steven had been unlawfully detained and his Article 5 & Article 8 Human Rights had been breached.

The families had reached desperation point. All the official channels for challenging the detention remained sealed. We knew that a big push was needed if their sons and daughters were ever to make it back home. Hence, the campaign “7 Days of Action” was started on 18th April 2016. The aim of the campaign is to raise public awareness of the kinds of impoverished lives lived by the learning disabled people in these Units. Ultimately, the aim is to bring pressure to bear on the decision makers and to bring these good people home. They haven’t committed any crime. In most cases, they don’t have a diagnosed mental health condition. They are there because they are learning disabled and the State doesn’t want to fund a life for them in their own homes.

You may be asking, what is an Assessment & Treatment Unit. It’s a good question. One thing is for sure through the evidence of the campaign is that neither assessment, nor treatment takes place there. They are holding pens. Warehouses for people who the State is not prepared to fund home care for. Whilst someone is in an ATU, the cost is normally bore by the NHS. The Local Authority and the Local Clinical Commissioning Groups don’t have to pay a penny. And there is the rub. When it is time for the person to be discharged, neither of the aforementioned groups is in a hurry to pick up the cost of providing the care and the person is left to vegetate in the ATU.

Here are some alarming ATU facts and figures:

As of 30th September 2015 there were exactly 3,000 people in specialist learning disability inpatient services.

According to their care plan, 950 people (32%) do not need inpatient care.

1,300 people (43%) had been in their current service between 1 and 5 years

895 people (30%) had been continuously in these services for 5 years or more

1,225 people (43%) were in an inpatient service more than 50km from their home.

The average weekly cost per person of an ATU placement is £3563

2,155 people (72%) were given antipsychotic medication in the 28 days before the census date.

Seven Days of Action believes that it is important for the human stories behind these figures to be told. So, over the seven days, seven stories will be told and published on the blog each day.

Stories like Eden, who is now entering his 8th year in an ATU. Eden has gained 16 stone in weight in those 8 years due to the heavy doses of anti-psychotic medication he is injected with weekly. He is fed his food through a hatch.

Stories like Robert, who is 250 miles from his home. Even the Responsible Clinician in Robert’s case is supporting his move back home but the Local Authority is not prepared to fund it.

Stories like Tianze, who was moved from Scotland to England. His family moved home to be near him and then the commissioners moved him again. Since being in the ATU, Tianze has started self-harming and he is repeatedly subjected to prone restraint.

Stories like Stephen, who has now been away from home for five years. His family were recently blocked from hiring a respected psychologist to offer a second opinion on Stephen’s care.

Stories like Jack, who regularly gets anxious about his home leave being cancelled, which leads to his home leave being cancelled.

Stories like Chris. 5 years ago a High Court Judge ordered his Local Authority to provide a home care plan for Chris but it took a further five years for Chris to return home.

Stories like Thomas, who died in an ATU in 2015. His mother had made repeated, desperate attempts for the Unit to arrange medical treatment for Thomas. Her calls were ignored and Thomas died.

Where are the Human Rights of these seven guys and the other 2993 people currently detained in Assessment & Treatment Units? It is easy to overlook this when learning disabled people are viewed as not quite human.

Recently, most of the British reported on their front pages the story of a dog that had been held in appalling conditions by its owner for two years.

Eden’s story will probably not make the front pages.

To follow the stories on the blog and find out how you can support the Seven Days of Action campaign, see here: https://theatuscandal.wordpress.com/

To meet the families and supporters of the campaign, you can join the Facebook group at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450610325109249/

Or you can follow the campaign on Twitter at #7Daysofaction

Thank you for your support.

 

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Honoring Respectfully Connected #PACLAOWies

Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance is excited to reveal the third OWie Award in April!  

Awarded to Autistic Activists who are changing the conversations and shifting the Overton Window toward acceptance!

Honoring- (1)
Image: blue/green certificate with green filigree frame.  Top left is stamp of PACLA icon.  Bottom of image is watermarked with an arrow shooting through an open window.   Green text in multiple fonts reads: Honoring Respectfully Connected  in appreciation of your radical activism & shifting the Overton Window toward Autism Acceptance & the Neurodiversity Paradigm.  Thank You!       Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance

The team at Respectfully Connected had plenty of nominations, individually and as a group.  We decided to honor all of them this week for our Third OWie award in April.   

 

In gentle parenting communities, there is often so much ableism, as if parenting disabled, autistic or neurodivergent children has different rules and expectations of respect than parenting typically developing children.  We love Respectfully Connected because they combine radical autism acceptance with gentle and respectful parenting.   

 

From their blog:

“This blog exists to share the authors stories, with the hope they will empower and encourage other parents on their journey with the knowledge that there is a gentler, more compassionate way of raising autistic children than much of society tells us, and that close attached relationships are very possible.”

 

Their blog is also a great resource for information on autistic parents and autistic parenting, as the majority of their contributors are autistic parents.  

 

One anonymous person said of Respectfully Connected writer Court Thatcher:


“Court’s writing on Respectfully Connected has been incredible and her work has been important in the realm of parenting neurodivergent children.”

 

Another anonymous person who nominated Respectfully Connected contributor Briannon Lee wrote:  

 

“Briannon has been involved in initiatives that have had far reaching effects on autistic people. She has committed to important roles in Respectfully Connected, Autistic Family Collective, and Neurodiversity Connect. These things have contributed to improving the lives and rights of autistics. Her wider writing is also fantastic and her huge efforts deserve recognition.”

 
Because every individual at Respectfully Connected received at least one nomination, and because of the work they are doing to change the world and make it better, fairer, more accepting and more inclusive for Autistic people, we honor them this week and thank them always!

Thank you, Respectfully Connected!

Honoring Kassiane of Radical Neurodivergence Speaking #PACLAOWies

Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance is excited to reveal the second OWie Award in April!  

Awarded to Autistic Activists who are changing the conversations and shifting the Overton Window toward acceptance!

Honoring- (2)
Image: blue/green certificate with green filigree frame.  Top left is stamp of PACLA icon.  Bottom of image is watermarked with an arrow shooting through an open window.   Green text in multiple fonts reads: Honoring Kassiane of Radical Neurodivergence Speaking in appreciation of your radical activism & shifting the Overton Window toward Autism Acceptance & the Neurodiversity Paradigm.  Thank You!       Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance

Congratulations to Kassiane of Radical Neurodivergence Speaking!

Yes, Kassiane is a huge part of the PACLA team….and even though we at PACLA  are incredibly biased, we also know that she is so deserving of this award!  And we are not the only ones who think so.   An OVERWHELMING amount of votes (over half!) nominated Kassiane,  and as one of her nominators who wished to remain anonymous said:


Kassiane doesn’t just shift the window, they blast it open.

 

Kassiane was nominated by so many who acknowledge the enormous debt those of us in the autistic rights and neurodiversity movements owe to her fierce and uncompromising activism.  

 

Kassiane is the very definition of an Overton Window shifter. She says the things that need to be said whether people like it or not and she doesn’t water it down for anyone. She unapologetically yanks that window forward and won’t budge an inch! There are many great activists doing amazing things to make change in various ways, but as far as shifting the Overton Window, I think Kassiane pulls that window the farthest!   -Lana Thomas

 

She is fearless and ferocious about speaking the truth. – anonymous

 

For her invention of the term “neurodivergent”, her blog “Radical Neurodivergence Speaking” and for being one of the original Overton Window movers in the autism advocacy movement.      – Elizabeth Rosenzweig

 

Thank you, Kassiane!  We appreciate you and all of the work you do to make a better, safer and more accepting world for Autistic people!   

 

……………………………………………………..

Who are the people in our community who are speaking out about injustice and ableism? Who are the people in our community who are shifting perceptions and changing the conversation about autism? Those who are perhaps seen as too “radical”, but the same ones who are planting the seeds for huge paradigm shifts?

This is the often unappreciated work of activists that goes unnoticed. But it is so incredibly important! PACLA wants to recognize the people in our community who are doing the hard work of creating a better future, a better world for autistic people.

We want to acknowledge these Overton Window shifters as we come into April. Let’s celebrate autism acceptance and those who are building a better world for all of us.

Who would you nominate as an Overton Window Shifter?

Let us know by filing out this nomination form here.

PACLA’s First OWie Award Honoring Morénike Onaiwu!

Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance is excited to reveal the first OWie Award in April!  

Awarded to Autistic Activists who are changing the conversations and shifting the Overton Window toward acceptance!

Honoring- (1)

Image: blue/green certificate with green filigree frame.  Top left is stamp of PACLA icon.  Bottom of image is watermarked with an arrow shooting through an open window.   Green text in multiple fonts reads: Honoring Morénike Onaiwu in appreciation of your radical activism & shifting the Overton Window toward Autism Acceptance & the Neurodiversity Paradigm.  Thank You!       Parenting Autistic Children With Love & Acceptance

Congratulations to Morénike Onaiwu!

 

Morénike was nominated for her tireless activism and work in the Autistic community and beyond.  She is a fierce advocate not just for autistic rights, but in intersectional activism, HIV/AIDS advocacy and disability justice.   You may know of Morénike as a board member and chair person on the Autism & Race Committee at Autism Women’s Network, as founder of Advocacy Without Borders, as the driving force behind the #JusticeForKayleb campaign, from her involvement with Respectfully Connected or from her blog Who Needs Normalcy?  


Thank you Morénike for your activism, advocacy and creating a brighter future for Autistic people!  We appreciate you!

 

Who are the people in our community who are speaking out about injustice and ableism? Who are the people in our community who are shifting perceptions and changing the conversation about autism? Those who are perhaps seen as too “radical”, but the same ones who are planting the seeds for huge paradigm shifts?

This is the often unappreciated work of activists that goes unnoticed. But it is so incredibly important! PACLA wants to recognize the people in our community who are doing the hard work of creating a better future, a better world for autistic people.

We want to acknowledge these Overton Window shifters as we come into April. Let’s celebrate autism acceptance and those who are building a better world for all of us.

Who would you nominate as an Overton Window Shifter?

Let us know by filing out this nomination form here.

April is Autism ACCEPTANCE Month!

Check out these Autism Acceptance Month Activities that celebrate neurodiversity, autistic pride & autistic culture!

 

Virtual Events:

Autism Acceptance Day & Month Virtual Event

Color The World For Autism

Tone it Down Taupe

#REDinstead

Autism Acceptance Month Poetry by Neurodiversity In The Classroom

fullmetalheart.com’s 30 Days of Autism Acceptance in Pictures

Autistic Academic’s 30 Days of “Inspiration”

 

In Person Events:

Bellevue Autism Spectrum Navigators Autism Acceptance Video Game Tournament

The event is for EVERYONE! ALL students and families, faculty, staff, educators and other professionals, and community members, can learn more about autism at college, and how providing access creates a better experience for all.

Date: Saturday, April 9

Time: 11:00 am – 4:00pm in the Cafeteria at Bellevue College Main Campus.

Parking is free in student lots.

Admission is free! Throughout the event, there will be a variety of activities and resources for all.  For the video game tournament, competitors will be playing Super Smash Brothers on the Nintendo Wii U. Be sure to check our Facebook page often for full tournament details and an updated list of PRIZES!

Speakers include alumni student, now University graduate, author, and photographer who is starting his career path, Trevor Pacelli, speaking about his experiences and giving advice about reaching for your goals. There will be a panel of students from the Autism Spectrum Navigators Program to answer questions as well. And of course, you will learn about our new program. A session led by BC’s Counseling Center Program Chair Dr. Steven G. Martel will provide information about our unique Career Preparation course series.

Check out our Facebook event page often for updates!www.facebook.com/events/477433072441486/

All ages are welcome! We will provide both an Xbox Kinect game room for children ages 4-12, as well as a quiet room for our guests who need some space to get away from the fun for a bit.

Please join us in helping to spread the word about this event, and the access support program at Bellevue College! See you on April 9.

 

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Los Angeles will have five (5) major events in April of 2016. These events can be seen in more detail at Meetup.com/ASANLA
Saturday, April 2nd – Autism Speaks protest
This will be on the lesser side of accessibility, since Autism Speaks events are consistently inaccessible. However, it should be relatively accessible compared to most protests, since our plan this year is to sit/stand by a table and give out free earplugs and sunglasses. The location is the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

Thursday April 7th – South Bay support group
Our monthly support group for Autistic adults will run as usual at the South Bay LGBT Center in Torrance.

Saturday, April 9th – Autism Acceptance Chalk Festival
This event belongs to another organization, Autism HWY, which hosts the annual chalk festival in Covina. ASAN will join with an information table. ASAN members are also involved to perform their artistic work on the stage (poetry, music, etc.) and to draw in a dedicated ASAN chalking square (as well as additional spaces if they choose to purchase one).

Saturday, April 16th – Autism Acceptance Walk & Fundraiser
Another other organization’s event: the Autism Society of Greater Long Beach / San Gabriel Valley / Orange County, one of the better chapters. ASAN is invited as an information vendor.

Lastly, we will end the month with our second annual Sitmming Potluck Party. It’s the least urgent, so we’re still working out the details, but it will most likely be on Saturday the 30th in Whittier.
What is a Stimming Potluck? Well, it’s like a food potluck, but instead of food, we all bring our favorite stim toys that we’re willing to share.  There will also be general party elements like games and movies.

 

Autism Women’s Network & Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Lending Library Acceptance Month Screening of Spectrum: A Story of The Mind

Autism Women’s Network & The Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Lending Library are teaming up for a screening followed by a Q&A panel with the filmmaker and participants of the award winning film Spectrum: A Story Of The Mind.

The library will host one viewing party at the Stanwood-Camano Community Resource Center in Stanwood, WA on April 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm.

Autism Women’s Network is currently seeking donations for ASL interpreters, captioning the film, accessing appropriate technology & more to conduct viewing parties and make these events possible!  You can donate to help make this happen here.

If you are interested in doing a viewing party with AWN, contact Amanda at Autism Women’s Network for more information:  amanda@autismwomensnetwork.org

Introducing the MacDonald Autistic Pride & Neurodiversity Lending Library!

Autism Acceptance Libraries are popping up all over!  We are so excited to highlight the work of Rebecca MacDonald and the MacDonald Autistic Pride & Neurodiversity Lending Library in Boston, MA!

 

Can you introduce and tell us a little about yourself?

I am a 45 year old mom of four Autistic children living in the Boston area with my husband, kids, and two cats. I self-identify as being Autistic, after giving much thought to the way that I have always perceived and interacted with the world, despite suppressing myself for so long in an effort to blend in. Two of my children are nonspeaking, and I have been learning Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) to teach them academics and to learn to communicate by typing.

How are you connected to autism & the neurodiversity movement?

When my kids were diagnosed, the main “resources” available were therapies aimed at changing who they were, such as ABA, and organizations such as Autism Speaks. I never felt comfortable pathologizing autism or “mourning” for a child who is diagnosed, and therefore never fit in with parents’ groups and was frequently at odds with educators. From early on, I was always searching for ways to teach my kids to communicate that were respectful of their neurology and learning styles. When I discovered RPM, I also began to discover blogs and books by Autistics, as well as the neurodiversity paradigm, and it gave me a great deal of insight into both my kids and myself. I realized that many people are unaware of the concept of neurodiversity, and the fact that there is so much information out there from Autistic and otherwise neurodivergent people that could expand and change their perceptions in much needed ways.

What thing or things motivated you to want to start a library in your community?

There are many parents out there who love their Autistic children but don’t know how to best support them. They have been fed nothing but fear and negativity about autism: that autism is a disorder that must be fixed, that their children need traumatizing therapies if there is to be any hope of a decent life, and that their children are not competent human beings capable of expressing themselves in a meaningful manner. Even more importantly, there are the teenagers and adults who have been told these things their entire lives and grew up believing them; I want to create a resource that is accessible to Autistic people and their families so that they can hear the voices of Autistic people.

What is both astounding and heartbreaking to me is that many families and professionals don’t realize that what is recommended to help Autistic people is often harmful and dehumanizing because it is designed without the input of actual Autistic people. Both Autistic people and their families need to hear from people who are like them or their family member in order to question what so-called professionals tell them. I have spoken to many parents who didn’t quite feel right about a therapy (such as forcing a child to repeatedly complete a meaningless task or forcing eye contact while the child cried), but were intimidated and made to feel that they were terrible parents for not wanting to help their child!

 What goals do you have for your library?

My goals for this library are to reach as many people as possible and make these reading resources accessible to all. I would also love to host events with local Autistic people such as lectures/panels, Q & A for families to help with supporting their Autistic family members, and any other ways to help connect Autistic people and their families to the Autistic community for support and guidance. In the future, I plan to start a non-profit that the library will be part of with the goals of making teaching and communication methods such as RPM and FC accessible to all by connecting people to providers and raising funds to ensure that ability to pay is not a barrier.

 How can people support this project?

I am at the very beginning of this project, so the best ways to support it are donations, spreading the word by sharing posts and telling others about it, and contacting me with any leads on places to set up, as it will be a mobile library.

 How will you run the library? (space, dates, etc.)

I will be able to meet people by appointment, as the library will be mobile. My next step will be locating spaces to set up on a regular basis. I have a few leads, but any help/ideas from people in the Boston area would be greatly appreciated!

What has the response been from your community and others?

I have gotten a tremendously positive response! There are many people who are asking me what they can do to support it and get involved, and many parents who are interested to learn more. Most importantly, the Autistic community has been very supportive and welcoming!

Is there anything else you’d like us to know or want to share?

I would like to thank PACLA and for your support and for publishing this to help spread the word about my library, and especially to Lei for her guidance in this endeavor!

 

You can find Rebecca’s library on Facebook and you can donate to support the library here:

Donate to The MacDonald Autistic Pride & Neurodiversity Lending Library

Introducing: Unbound Books

We are so excited about Unbound Books!   This is a brand new autism acceptance library serving the community of Modesto, CA.   Their mission, from their Facebook page:

“At Unbound Books Autism Acceptance Library, we believe in a world where Autistics control the discourse on all autism related topics, one where their voices are not only heard and respected, but sought out. A world where Autistic people are recognized as the ONLY experts on Autistic people and the issues that affect their lives.

We want the next generation of Autistics to grow up in a world where they will not be bullied, abused, or murdered by the people who were supposed to protect them. To be free from ableist “interventions” that promise to make them “indistinguishable from peers,” and often come with a side of PTSD.

Instead, we envision a world where Autistic people are not only accepted, but embraced as valuable members of society.

Our mission is to help create that world by challenging the way people think about autism. But we cannot do it alone. We can amplify Autistic voices, but you have to be willing to listen. We hope you will join us.“

We asked the founder, Lana Thomas to answer a few questions to introduce the PACLA community to this amazing new project that is going to help change the conversation about autism in their community!

 

1. Can you introduce and tell us a little about yourself?

I am 41 years old. I’m allistic and neurodivergent. I have epilepsy. I’m married to a neurotypical man and together we have a twice-exceptional (Autistic + gifted) daughter. I live in a community that is deeply entrenched in the pathology paradigm, so I am trying to change that.

2. How are you connected to autism and the neurodiversity movement?

Unfortunately, the neurodiversity movement is literally non-existent in my area as far as I can tell. I actually had never heard the term “neurodiversity” before my daughter was identified as autistic. I was Googling things like “anti-ABA” and “Autistic bloggers,” when I stumbled onto it. I just made it my mission to learn about autism from Autistic people, so I started following blogs by Autistic activists, joined Autistic moderated online communities, followed Autistic led organizations, and watched videos of speeches given by Autistic advocates. There’s so much information out there, but you have to sift through so much misinformation to get to it. So that’s pretty much the purpose of my library. People can find all of this information in one place without the sifting.

3. What thing or things motivated you to start a library in your community?

Well, once I started following the work of Autistic activists, and the neurodiversity movement, I would try to explain to people that the things Autistic people advocate for and support are in direct opposition to the things parents and professionals advocate for and support- even down to the definition of autism! I would bring this up and people would act as though I was some kind of radical for actually valuing what Autistics have to say about their own lives. I became frustrated at how quick allistic people are to dismiss Autistic people, so I started to think about how I could get people to listen to Autistic people. I thought about donating books to the local library, but that still left the problem of people having to sift through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff.

It was right around that time that one of the pages I follow on Facebook posted a link to the Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Library, and it hit me- that’s exactly what we need here! At the time, it didn’t occur to me to start my own. I just thought,”That’s brilliant! Too bad it’s all the way in WA though.” So one day I commented on a Facebook post about the library that I wish there were something like that in CA. Lei actually replied to my comment & told me to e-mail her and she would tell me how she got her library started. We’ve been e-mailing each other back and forth ever since and she has been enormously helpful and supportive through this whole process. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I quite literally could not have done this without her help.

4. What goals do you have for your library?

Right now the most pressing goal is just raising money for inventory and start up costs. Once I have the graphic art done I’ll start working on the website which will have a book list, calendar of events, and links to important resources. Eventually I would like to sell merchandise to support the library. I would love to get to the point where we can have some kind of event happening every month whether that’s hiring Autistic, Neurodivergent & Disabled activists to speak on important topics, hosting events for days of cultural significance, and even organizing protests.The idea is to make Autistic, Neurodivergent, and Disabled culture so visible that it’s impossible to ignore. A force to be reckoned with.

The long term goal, of course, is liberating the masses from the damaging misconceptions of the prevailing “cure culture” and the harm and oppression caused by it.

My ultimate dream would be for Unbound Books Autism Acceptance Library to become a huge national non-profit with a majority Autistic, 100% neurodivergent board of directors that would offer jobs with great pay and benefits to Autistic, neurodivergent, and other disabled people to run libraries across the country either on site or through mail from their homes. They would be able to create their own schedules. We would also hire Autistic mentors for Autistic children and have Autistic led workshops for parents, professionals, educators, police, etc. I love the idea of creating jobs by promoting acceptance and educating people about neurodiversity.

5. How can people support this project?

You can visit our Facebook page and click on the Donate Now button which will take you directly to our You Caring fundraiser page. You can also help by “liking” and sharing our Facebook page.

(You can also find the fundraiser here!)

6. How will you run the library?

We are still in the start-up phase right now (building inventory, tending to administrative requirements for starting a business, etc.) but we have a few locations we’re looking into and we will post site info, dates & hours on our Facebook page as soon as we have a location secured and a big enough inventory to be able to start (we currently only have one book.)

7. What has the response been from your community and others?

I haven’t quite gone public about it until now, but I did mention it to some local teachers in my area and they actually seemed pretty excited about it. The support from the Autistic community has been amazing. I was kind of nervous about undertaking a project like this as an allistic, but so far it seems like people get what I’m trying to do and that I’m not trying to speak for or over anyone. And honestly, if I didn’t have the support of the Autistic community I wouldn’t do this at all, because if the community you’re trying to serve doesn’t agree with what you’re doing, then you are not really serving them.

8. Is there anything else you’d like us to know or want to share?

I just want to thank everyone at PACLA for your support and for giving me this opportunity to talk about my library. And I want to thank Lei especially for her patience and support in this process. And I want to thank all the amazing activists who have taught me so much and who continue to teach me everyday.

Please check out Unbound Books on Facebook and help spread the word!   If you can, donate to their fundraiser to help them get started.

Thank you Lana, for making a difference in your community and for working to make a better future for Autistic people!

paclacoverphoto

Image description: Two flappy red and orange people figures made of geometric forms, each standing atop a two-tone green and blue mountain shape, with a blue sky background. Text reads: Change the world. Not your Autistic child.

Autism ACCEPTANCE Month Events.

Are you planning an event that celebrates Autistic people, Autistic Pride or Autistic culture?  PACLA wants to help you get the word out about your event!

Are you planning an Autism Acceptance Month Event-

Image:  Light textured background.  Multicolored text reads:  Are you planning an Autism Acceptance Month Event?  Is your event inclusive, accessible, pro autism acceptance, pro neurodiversity?   Does your event celebrate Autistic Pride, Autistic Acceptance & Autistic Culture?  If so, we weant to hear about it & put it on the PACLA blog!

Send us the information by March 16, 2016 to:

autloveaccept@gmail.com

autloveaccept.wordpress.com

Top right of image has off centered PACLA logo (by Because Patterns) Two flappy red and orange people figures made of geometric forms, each standing atop a two-tone green and blue mountain shape, with a blue sky background.

Bottom right of image has a blue lightbulb and blue puzzle piece with red circle backslash symbol to indicate no puzzles, no lighting it up blue.

About The Autism Society of America on #DDoM2016

By Amy Sequenzia

TW: Graphic description of Filicide

About the Autism Society of America

First, I want to say that this post refers to the National Organization. I don’t know all the chapters but I know that while some are terrible, others are great to their communities, and some are run by Autistics.

I should be trying to sleep. Today was Disability Day of Mourning, the day we remember disabled people murdered by their parents or caregivers. We do this because the media likes to find “excuses” for the murderers, portraying the victims as burdens on “exhausted parents” who “of course” had good reason to murder their children.

We do this because the idea that disabled people are “non-persons” is not really controversial in many circles.

So, by the end of the day I was exhausted, drained. Then I received an email from the Autism Society of America (ASA). After some Facebook exchanges I needed a break. I had a seizure, spent some time reading some fun conversation about other things, recovered a little but couldn’t sleep, so I decided to write.

It is not uncommon for me to be exhausted by the end of a day when I type a lot. Today, though, what drained me was the reason for all the typing. First, typing about disabled people who were murdered, about how they were murdered simply for being disabled, and how their lives were nearly forgotten. Then, the ASA email.

Remember, today is Disability Day of Mourning. We use a hashtag on social media. Every respectable – or claiming to be respectful – disability advocacy organization knows about it. ASA decided that today was a good day to announce the keynote speakers of their National Conference.

Why are those two things related? Because the keynote speakers are the authors of a book – “In a Different Key” – which is generating a lot of discussion in “autism circles”. In the book, the authors make very clear that people should “understand” parents who murder their Autistic children. Apparently because murdering us is just a “oops, I murdered my child but they were Autistic, so I have an explanation”.

Before I continue, I want to talk about London McCabe, the little Autistic boy who died after his mother threw him off a bridge. I want to talk about him because, in a rare case of justice being served, the murderer was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. I also read, today, about how he died. I feel empty, yet heavy with pain, when I imagine him falling, scared, breaking several bones, then drowning in pain, confused and alone, in freezing waters. His murderer, the person who called herself a mother, would find “understanding” from the keynote

speakers headlining the ASA conference. London would probably be dismissed as “not a real person”.

Back to the keynote speakers and their book. They also praise Lovaas, the father of ABA, something many Autistics (including me) call torture – Lovaas is also the one who first referred to us as non-persons.

The same speakers reject the neurodiversity movement as a valid fight for our human rights. They don’t think I, a non-speaking Autistic who needs many supports, can be part of the neurodiversity movement. I suspect they believe people who look like me cannot think either. They mock some of us, calling us “robots”.

ASA invited the authors of a book that supports pathologizing autism, as if we “suffer” from a devastating disease, a book that dismisses our efforts to be heard, a book that values the idea that we need to be changed to be seen a real people.

When I asked why, the answer was “We wanted people attending the conference to hear both [the closing keynote is the author of another book with a very different view of autism] and decide for themselves on their assessment of each keynote . We know there are people who support Steve and others who support Karen and John. We want people to hear both. We also know there are people on the spectrum who have publicly supported Zucker and Donvan including our volunteers who are autistic.”

As I responded, I don’t know who are the Autistics who agree that murdering us is defensible, and that such view should be in a book. I am also disturbed that ASA believes it is ok to let people who propagate such view be the headline of a conference as big as this one.

ASA calls themselves allies of the Autistic community. Why are they inviting people who don’t value us so they can have an audience to propagate a such hateful message?

The answer is that ASA is an ally to parents, including the martyr parents, the warrior parents, the ones who want attention, pity and “understanding”. Parents who don’t accept their children and who need validation for their complaints. It is sad that, as I said in the first paragraph, some chapters have Autistic leaders doing great community work, and are now lost in this mess because of the name they carry.

ASA National Organization wants a lot of people attending their conference and they don’t care that the “stars” are people who defend murderers of disabled, some of whom were Autistic, people.

ASA is celebrating people who “understand” and excuse people who murder us –

on the day we mourn our brothers and sisters who died because they were seen as non-people, just like ASA’s Conference headliners see us.

That’s why I was exhausted and drained today.

Remembering the ones who should not have died, while an organization that is supposed to stand with us invites me to celebrate people who can “understand” people who murdered my brothers and sisters.

Support organizations by & for Autistic people!Boycott Autism Speaks suggests-Autism Women's NetworkTone it Down TaupeEd Wil (2)

Image: Teal textured background with white text that reads: “ASA calls themselves allies of the Autistic community. Why are they inviting people who don’t value us so they can have an audience to propagate such a hateful message?” -Amy Sequenzia About The Autism Society of America on #DDoM2016

 

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Image: Two blue outlined speech bubbles on gray background. Top right reads: “Oh, hey! FYI…”
Middle left speech bubble reads: You don’t get to say you are interested in social justice and disability rights while simultaneously posting ableist garbage that portrays disability as something children do to their parents. I do not think those words mean what you think they mean! #BoycottTheMighty

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Sign our petition to the editors of the Mighty!

https://www.change.org/p/themighty-com-the-mighty-apologize…

Check out these postings by some of our PACLA moderators to learn more about why we pledge to boycott The Mighty:

http://eccentrickimmy1.blogspot.com/…/a-letter-to-editor-of…

http://eccentrickimmy1.blogspot.com/…/i-know-youre-lying-fo…

http://michellesuttonwrites.com/…/neurodiversity-vs-the-mi…/

http://autistictimestwo.blogspot.com/…/why-i-dislike-mighty…

http://timetolisten.blogspot.com/…/the-input-mighty-asked-f…

https://30daysofautism.wordpress.com/…/why-cant-we-all-get…/

http://autismhwy.com/blog/?p=6015 

Check out these blog posts from other disability activists and advocates on how The Mighty hurts the disability community:

http://utterlyunpublishedauthorsdaughter.blogspot.com/…/why…

http://un-boxedbrain.com.au/…/open-letter-to-the-mighty/

http://www.meriahnichols.com/why-ive-had-it-with-the-mighty/

http://carlyfindlay.blogspot.com/…/the-problems-with-mighty…

https://medium.com/…/the-inspiration-porn-resolution-a30baf…

http://autisticacademic.com/…/if-you-like-it-then-you-shou…/

https://crackedmirrorinshalott.wordpress.com/…/run-down-of…/

http://thatcrazycrippledchick.blogspot.com/…/an-open-letter…

http://fullmetalheart.com/…/12/23/please-listen-to-our-voi…/

http://autpress.com/…/we-liked-it-so-we-put-a-paycheck-on-…/

http://www.thismess.net/…/two-ethical-futures-for-mighty.ht…

http://ollibean.com/2016/01/06/six-questions-before-publishing-about-children/

On Twitter you can also check out the hashtag ‪#‎CrippingTheMighty‬

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