I had reached out to Mortgage Tree in the past to provide them with feedback about how terrible their campaign was.
I’ve already written extensively and provided a free guide for businesses to understand how to navigate these treatorous waters, but they actively choose not to listen.
I created a video and a long blog post about all the things that happened.
They made a plethora of excuses and essentially negated my voice and all the feedback that I had for them. Seems like they’ve continued on this campaign and also have continued to hire a NON-AUTISTIC artist (from what it seems) to create a colouring book page for them.
I have been working hard to reach more milestones and I want to announce that I met my 500 sales goal and I have exceeded it. I have had so many orders go out lately and it’s keeping me exceptionally busy, which I am so grateful for. I am reminded of how I am living a dream i’ve always had, and that’s always been to sell my own merchandise. I try to ensure that I also write hand written notes to each customer.
Another goal that was reached was that the Made by Autistics Community is now well over 3,000 members strong. How incredible is this? I saw a desperate need for a group for Autistic creatives out of frustration I had. Every time I just wanted to SHOWCASE my specific cat-related art, I would head in to cat groups and people would ask me if I was selling or they’d tell me no selling was allowed, when all I wanted to do was showcase my art! That also lead me to creating the Made by Autistics Marketplace to fill that need. Both these groups work well with each other. Sometimes there’s a few bumps in the road, but I do my best.
Recently my artwork was licensed for a very special project so when that’s all finalized, i’m very eager to share. I also have a speaking engagement coming up as well so i’m stoked for that.
These are MY PERSONAL VIEWS. These belong to me. Other Autistic folks may agree and some may disagree.
I wanted to talk about something that’s been really unnerving lately which is: Non Autistic Parents of Autistic Children sharing imagery and inspiration porn that is very harmful.
As an Autistic person myself, I feel as though attempting to bridge the gap with Autistic parents is a very important stepping stone to creating unity and setting their Autistic child up for success in the future. Assisting them with the tools needed to make sure that hateful imagery, improper terminology and ableism is eliminated. However, when Parents of Autistic children and their friends chime in and belittle, berate and negate the work of an Autistic person, this is moving backwards.
A few days ago I saw this image come up on my facebook feed. I was dumbstruck.
It got widely shared by this father who I believed I was friends with and he tagged his wife and said his child would love it. I pointed out 2 very prevalent things that are troublesome:
Autism, or being Autistic IS a disability however–there’s nothing wrong with that.
I even linked an article and mentioned how I create content on the subject. Two friends of this father chimed in and essentially told me that just because I create content and cite sources, doesn’t mean that it’s true and that I should allow this father to be happy. I explained how I want their child to be set up for success in the future and that I am only trying to be an ally. I wanted to provide information as to how these things were harmful and that speaking over an Autistic person when they are trying to HELP truly doesn’t help anyone at all. I also mentioned that, at it’s core, it is incredibly ableist and problematic.
No one defended me. None of my Autistic friends were able to even come and assist. Although the facebook post was public, the comments were not open to everyone. Eventually I gave up and I deleted this father from my friends list. He had ample opportunities to take this as a learning opportunity and chose not to. He also did not hold me in any kind of regard because if he did, he would not have allowed me to get attacked the way I did. I can only hope that his child gets the kind of support that he needs because if how I was treated was any kind of indication, I have a reason to be worried.
If you are a parent of an Autistic child and you are looking for help, here’s what I can suggest:
Do not take content creator Daniel Jones of The Aspie World as fact. He creates sensationalized content that is, at the source, his income. He very rarely (if ever) cites sources for the material he creates and is not an ally to the rest of the Autistic community. I have even been sworn at by his content manager before and I have created 2 react videos. Please DO NOT utilize his advice to assist your child.
Reach out to Autistic adults – the ones that have your child’s best interest at heart. We can be the best resources available as we have lived this. Also, I do not create content for money. I do this from my heart because this truly gives me purpose in my life.
Do not negate Autistic voices. Allow yourself the opportunity to learn from us. We are the best allies for your children and, for the most part, we want to impart our wisdom and create change. If anything, we want to help. Obviously i’m not speaking for everyone.
I hope this shed a little bit of insight on some of the struggles we face on a daily basis. It’s truly not easy but by listening to Autistic people and truly taking in the things we say is a great step to unity, change and acceptance for all.
I’m laying in bed right now, trying to desperately turn off my active mind. It’s nearly impossible to do.
As April 1st comes to a close, i’m already struggling to come to terms with this month and the ignorance i’ve already encountered. Twitter is the place to go when you desire controversy and i’m no stranger to that.
I reside in British Columbia and we are synonymous with the NHL team, The Vancouver Canucks. Many people find them to be a source of pride and optimism, even to go so far as to say they represent Vancouver. I believed that for a long time until I became aware of the Canucks Autism Network.
It’s a great thing to want to support Autistic people but it’s another thing to utilize the puzzle piece and incorporate material sourced from Autism Speaks. They also use strange language like “families with autism” in their marketing materials. I feel like the #1 resource for those who organize these events and create the foundation for these networks and charities should be an Autistic person or even a group of Autistic people. To me, that simply is common sense.
The way these events are structured, there is a strong emphasis on family and children. A lot of the time Autistic adults are left out and not even considered. It’s as if they believe Autistic adults don’t exist. Hello! We’re here. We exist. We have opinions, thoughts, feelings that we would love to share with you. We’re human too!
I also saw that they are working with Microsoft’s Vancouver Office. For a while, I wanted to reach out and collaborate with Microsoft and I couldn’t even find a viable way to contact the right department. I was given a telephone number, I tried to exhaust internal contacts and I couldn’t get to the right person. I wonder if it’s purposely inaccessible? Microsoft has a program to hire Autistic people and yet the company is virtually unreachable.
I have been enjoying a lot of hot chocolate and teas while frantically entering Christmas contests. It’s that time of year again and it happens to be one of my most enjoyable hobbies. Seriously. I do this…!
I did some more background work on film where I was dressed up all 80s and it was WILD. I didn’t realize my hair could get that big.
Lastly, I actually drew something that conveys my hyper-awareness & anxiety all at the very same time:
I have been thinking of some articles i would like to write so i’m just kind of waiting for that BURST of creativity to hit me so I can get it done. I haven’t neglected my blog. I always fear people are going to think i’ve abandoned it. That’s just not the case.
Blogging can be joyful but it can also be incredibly disheartening, frustrating and full of defeat (yes, i’ve mentioned this plenty of times before).
I owe a lot of gratitude to the companies that have been kind enough to work with me, not because of a ROI but because they genuinely care about my opinion and the content I create.
If you are a large corporation worth billions of dollars and you decide to run an “Autism at Work” program, employing autistic individuals and running seminars/talks with lots of press material and attendance, it’s in your very best interest to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
What do I mean by this?
Your PR company should know better than to use the terminology “with autism”, they should also realize that if they are employing autistic individuals then that would be a perfect segue to attracting autistic customers.
I got so wound up and so incredibly anxious after dealing with all this in the morning that I have felt unwell the entire day. I tend to internalize my feelings.
Sometimes I think of our home, our planet as seen from space. It makes me realize how insignificant I truly am and helps puts things in to perspective.