April is Autism Acceptance Month, so it's an excellent time to learn more about Autism and how to get involved!
The following information is from The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).
Autism is a developmental disability that affects how those with Autism experience the world around them. Autistic people are an important part of the world. Autism is a normal part of life and makes them who they are.
Autistic people are in every community and always have been. Autistic people are people of color. Autistic people are immigrants. Autistic people are a part of every religion, every income level, and every age group. Autistic people are women. Autistic people are queer, and autistic people are trans. Autistic people are often many of these things at once. The communities they are a part of and the ways they are treated shape what Autism is like for them.
How to Get Involved:
Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) helps autistic students learn to make their college campuses better for people with disabilities. ACI participants learn about making student groups, understanding disability policy, and talking to people in power. During ACI, all participants go to the U.S. Capitol to talk to their Senators and Representatives about policies important to the disability community.After the Academy, students get help from ASAN to meet their advocacy goals at their college.
Testimonials from Alumni:
It was a very transformative experience in which I learned the importance of creating autistic space, fostering a neurodiverse learning environment, and meeting other non-speaking autistic people in higher education. Since this experience, I have become more confident in my self-advocacy and community advocacy. I continue to look at the workshops from ACI for guidance while creating and founding a disability rights group on my campus.
There is no one way to be autistic. Some autistic people can speak, and some autistic people need to communicate in other ways. Some autistic people also have intellectual disabilities, and some autistic people don’t. Some autistic people need a lot of help in their day-to-day lives, and some autistic people only need a little help. All of these people are autistic, because there is no right or wrong way to be autistic. All of them experience Autism differently, but they all contribute to the world in meaningful ways. They all deserve understanding and acceptance.
Autistic Self Advocacy Network, 29 Mar. 2022, https://autisticadvocacy.org/.
Look me in the Eye by John Elder Robison
Amazon Book Review:
Ever since he was young, John Robison longed to connect with other people, but by the time he was a teenager, his odd habits—an inclination to blurt out non sequiturs, avoid eye contact, dismantle radios, and dig five-foot holes (and stick his younger brother, Augusten Burroughs, in them)—had earned him the label “social deviant.” It was not until he was forty that he was diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome. That understanding transformed the way he saw himself—and the world. A born storyteller, Robison has written a moving, darkly funny memoir about a life that has taken him from developing exploding guitars for KISS to building a family of his own. It’s a strange, sly, indelible account—sometimes alien yet always deeply human.
A Slant of Sun by Beth Kephart
Amazon Book Review
"As many as one in five children face the challenge of growing up with a behavioral disorder. For Beth Kephart's son, it was "pervasive developmental disorder"--a broad spectrum of difficulties, including autistic features. As the author and her husband discover, all it really means is that their son Jeremy is "different . . . different in a million wonderful ways, and also different in ways that need our help." In intimate, incandescent prose, Beth Kephart shares the painful and inspiring experience of loving a child whose "special needs" bring tremendous frustration and incalculable rewards. Ultimately this is a story of the shallowness of medical labels compared to a child's courage and a mother's love, of which Kephart writes, "Nothing erodes it. It is not sand on a beach. It is the nuclear heart of things--hard as the rock of this earth."
Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
Amazon Book Review:
" A journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today guided by the owner himself. Bestselling author Daniel Tammet ( Thinking in Numbers ) is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life and able to explain what is happening inside his head. He sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him the most unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man . Fascinating and inspiring, Born on a Blue Day explores what it s like to be special and gives us an insight into what makes us all human our minds."