I posted this video to my youtube channel. I try hard to create a corresponding post so that it makes it a bit more sharable and I can add a bit more context.
Youtube decided to recommend this video to me:
I took it upon myself to make a response:
I felt it was incredibly necessary for me to explain what exactly is wrong with the video and why it’s so hateful. I also wanted to represent some of my #ActuallyAutistic friends and activists who are on the other side of “the blue divide” and explain that yes, there are other symbols out there that do represent us much better than the puzzle piece. Although my reach on youtube may be smaller, my voice is still loud and valid.
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 created a new video on a couple things that I felt needed to be addressed:
My facebook page, facebook.com/madebyautistics was hacked. My one other admin and two mods have been removed. Facebook is being useless so I had to rebrand entirely and create a new page over at facebook.com/madebyautisticsgroup.
In addition to the four plaques that have been happened, there’s also all my holiday cards too. These are just a few examples:
Thanks to my Kickstarter backers who made these cards a reality, I was able to pack up all these cards and they will be getting distributed between 3 cat welfare organizations. They will then be able to sell and/or use the cards and keep the profits. I also am thankful that it will be an opportunity for more cat lovers to see my work.
I firmly believe you can not attempt to “reclaim” images that are triggering to others.
Furthermore, I am a brash and outspoken individual that doesn’t have a reputation to tarnish and therefore I do not back down or mince words when it comes to calling out something that I think is grossly offensive.
I’ve seen this a few times now, people claiming to use an image first and then continuing to use said image with the negative impact and triggering effect already in place from it being used for years by another corporation, company, organization or entity.
My speech on September 28th went particularly well and I wanted to share it with all of you:
My kickstarter ended and right now it’s in the stage of collecting payment. Once I get the cards and fulfill the orders, I will be donating some to various animal welfare organizations to help raise money for them. I will also be listing some on etsy as well! I’m so pleased that the kickstarter was such a success.
I didn’t have the opportunity to protest Autism Speaks Canada, but I am hoping I can be there next year. I always talk about how they continue to silence Autistic voices, so it wasn’t a surprise when I went on twitter today to see that I was blocked.
I was talking about the Inclusion Art Show and that’s happening this Thursday. If you’re local to Vancouver, i’d love to see you there.
I have plenty more I want to write about but it’s late (or early?) and I can’t formulate anything else at this time.
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.
It’s ALMOST HERE GUYS, the time of the year I absolutely freakin’ hate. Did you know that Autism Speaks even has a whole guide of how to use their logo? (Unfortunately, it’s been taken off the internet and I can not find a cached version)
I never claim to be an expert. I am an Autistic Person who is sharing her experiences. Those are two vastly different approaches when it comes to providing insight as to what Autism is. There are people out there who are passing themselves off as experts and they are getting feedback from those who are taking it all in as fact. Please be careful! Perpetuating untrue stereotypes and misinformation does not help anyone. Do your research. Be skeptical, ask questions.
Before any opportunity is offered to me, I always do my research. I search up the positives and negatives so I can make an informed decision. That seems to be common sense; at least that’s what I thought.
Occasionally, i’ll do a twitter search for “Autism Speaks” to see what kind of propaganda is being perpetuated. I’ll usually see parents, this running app (CharityMiles) that donates to them and merchandise with puzzle pieces for sale.
So, back to yesterday, I noticed there was a gamer by the name of Ash or Clash With Ash (CWA) who was incredibly excited to share the news of his ambassadorship with Autism Speaks. His video was complete with puzzle pieces in the background. What a lovely touch.
We, the Actually Autistic community have been on it. We’ve let him know that this isn’t helping us – that it’s actually hurting us. Ash’s followers are commending him and don’t seem to be questioning him. I’m assuming they believed he did his due diligence and researched Autism Speaks before he went full out and posted all his puzzle-piece laden propaganda for them to eat up and praise him for. He’s been incredibly quick to thank his supporters and put us in the backseat. Part of me believes he thought this would be good publicity and paint him as some kind of saint because his late Brother was Autistic. Here’s the initial tweet that started this all.
If you take the time to scroll through his twitter, you’ll see the calm before the storm. I took it upon myself to let his followers know that his actions are the opposite of commendable-by informing them that Autism Speaks is not a good organization. I don’t recall any of them responding to me.
I’m not sure how this benefits him. Perhaps it gives him a greater sense of purpose and believes that because he has a platform and an audience, that he could bring some kind of awareness to a cause he says is so important to him. We don’t need that. We can advocate for ourselves without hiding behind the guise of a hate group. There’s also better organizations to donate money to, like ASAN.
If you wish to add your opinion and let him know that we don’t need him to speak on our behalf, his social media platforms are: