Don't tone police Autistics

As always, I want to put out a disclaimer:

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:

  1. The puzzle piece is a symbol of hate 
  2. 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.

Multiple things to discuss!

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.

I was featured on CITR’s ALL ACCESS PASS. You can listen to me here: https://www.citr.ca/radio/all-access-pass/episode/20191030/ My Kickstart Disability Arts & Culture speech is at the 34:00 mark and my interview from the PosAbilities Inclusion Art Show is at the 16:15 mark.

These have been added to my shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/retrophiliac

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.

Welllll that was a lot to cover.

Thanks for reading!

The Blue Divide

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.

I’ve written about related things in “An Autistics Guide To Corporate Social Responsibility” which provides a great resource for those who might want more information on how to create a favourable campaign while being considerate of Autistics.

With all of that being said, there is a DEFINITE divide in the “community”, I created this image, youtube video and podcast about it. I hope you have a chance to check it all out below.

There’s lots of links in the youtube description as well. Just click the video.

Thanks for reading, watching and listening!

Update

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.

Thanks for reading!

Acceptance, please?

I’m laying in bed right now, trying to desperately turn off my active mind. It’s nearly impossible to do.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

Between Canucks Autism Network, Autism Support BC and Surf’s Up For Autism, amongst many others, we continue to be coloured blue and puzzled. I feel as though they don’t know the negative connotations or simply don’t care. If you want to help us, ask us. Put it out there on twitter. Have a focus group with Autistic people of different ages. ASK US FIRST. If you’re running a contest with a colouring page for Autism, hire an Autistic artist.

Autism Awareness Month SUCKS.

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)

There’s mortgage companies running contests complete with puzzle pieces and artwork done by a non-autistic person.

It’s also the time of the year that my local car dealership puts up some heinous banner on the inside and outside of their building.

There’s also pretty crude donors, ignorant ambassadors, poorly thought out sponsorships and William Shatner’s gaslighting of Autistics on Twitter amongst all the things we already have to deal with.

Here’s what you can do instead:

Here are some pertinent links about why Autism Speaks & April is so bad:

The Problem With Autism Experts

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.

Autism Speaks Has A New Ambassador

Watch my video:

Read all about it here

What Happens When Autism Speaks Appoints A New Ambassador

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.

Yesterday was a bit different. The last big rift between the Autistic community and an outspoken supporter of Autism Speaks would be the whole Niantic deal. The Makers of POKEMON GO decided it would be excellent publicity to partner with the Autism Speaks Run and have their own family fun booth. They were met with outrage and rightfully so. Pokemon Go gave some individuals a reason to get outside and engage. I wasn’t one of those people, but there were other reasons given that made it seem like the Autistic community embraced it–that is, until, they made an incredibly rash decision without any research.

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.

He’s even gone so far as to raise money for AUTISM SPEAKS, already.

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:

If you want to learn why Autism Speaks is so terrible, here’s a great list: A Roundup of Posts Against Autism Speaks

Niantic, Pokemon GO & Autism Speaks

Niantic, the makers of Pokemon GO have decided that it would be in their best interest to support Autism Speaks in Arizona. They are promoting this on their social media channels and will have a kids zone with various activities at the walk.  I have a strong hunch that it is their PR Company, TriplePoint behind the tweets and support.

We are trying to let them know that they are, essentially, ignoring autistic voices–the very same autistic voices that benefit from, you guessed it, POKEMON GO!

They are ignoring us. They refuse and fail to respond to our valid criticism. As a whole, the #actuallyautistic community is outraged with very good reason. The big question looming is “How have they failed to do research?”. They, of all people/companies should know how to use google before they make a failed attempt at educating themselves on causes they choose to support.

If you agree with me and my peers and would like to support us, I would urge you to take some of the following actions:

Sign the petition

-Tweet to:

Engage in this thread on Reddit

Read this document

UPDATE:

Please let Niantic know that even though @SARRC_tweet is who they are supporting, it’s still benefitting autism speaks.