Puzzle Pieces & Autism Moms

I have wanted to write about this for a while but I have been putting it off.

I wanted to address the issue with “Autism Moms” or “Autism Parents” and the exploitative tactics that sellers of Puzzle piece merchandise utilize to gain sales.

I reached out to a parent run company on etsy that was selling a sparkly puzzle piece enamel pin in honour of their Autistic child. I tried to educate them and tell them that it is a symbol of hate and eugenics, and instead they felt threatened by me and told me if I continued to contact them, that they’d report me to etsy.

@retr0philiac

Informal video. Read the ableist history of the puzzle piece. Please no pro puzzles! #autism #autistic #autistictok #actuallyautistic #neurodiversity

♬ original sound – Margaux – retrophiliac

There’s over 6,000 listings for the search query of “Puzzle piece Autism”. These are sellers who are EXPLOTING THE IGNORANCE OF FOLKS WHO DO NOT KNOW IT’S A HATE SYMBOL. Chances are, the people selling these items are profiting off this. They probably know how harmful this symbol is and yet they continue to perpetuate it because it’s PROFITABLE.

I’m unsure of how many folks don’t see the problem here. Profiting off these symbols and selling them to unsuspecting individuals is wrong and again, incredibly exploitative.

I’m in a facebook group and a mother had asked about her “Autism Mama” bracelet which was adorned with puzzle pieces, and she was quickly – and swiftly educated.

I ended up having an “Autism Mom” slide in to my private messages and DEMANDING I educate her on the subject. There was more than enough information in the initial thread. She weaponized an Art of Autism article against me about someone who was pro-puzzle piece (but denounced her support in the beginning of the article). I had asked The Art of Autism to amend this article to include pertinent articles and was met with an uncomfortable misunderstanding. At this point, I will no longer associate myself with The Art of Autism.

Make better choices, buy from Autistic people (Made by Autistics Marketplace is a great resource), support the rainbow spectrum infinity symbol and do your research.

A note: If you’re a PARENT of an AUTISTIC CHILD, Do -NOT- co opt their diagnosis as your identity. This is NOT your identity. Don’t talk over Autistic adults. Listen instead. Remember: Your child is going to be an ADULT SOMEDAY. Wouldn’t; you want them to be able to help others and feel empowered?

Also: don’t expect Autistic adults to be a certain way or to provide endless advice. We don’t owe anyone (especially parents) anything.

If you need more information about this, please visit:

Don’t forget, I have a NEURODIVERSITY PRIDE COLLECTION. There ARE alternatives to the puzzle piece.

Exposing The Aspie World

I am one of those people who seem to have the ability to cut through the drivel that is perpetuated by others.

I saw right through Daniel Jones of The Aspie World. I knew that there was something about him that didn’t sit right with me.

I have created two videos where I react to him. His content is truly repulsive.

1. Sensationalism

His content is chalk full of sensationalism, which is defined as “(especially in journalism) the use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement.”

He uses clickbait titles which plays off the very same theme, essentially taking Autism to a level where it becomes something fresh, new and exciting – at the expense of others. He also pairs up with other YouTube creators who have the same thing in mind. I recently heard that he made a point of insulting “negative” creators at an event tied to the creation of his videos.

2. Self fulfilling prophecy

He creates content to boost his ego. He can’t take critiques from anybody. If you tell him he’s doing something wrong, you’ll be blocked very quickly.

There have been other people in the #ActuallyAutistic community who have called him out and some that have even taken the time to private message him to express their feelings about his content, only for it to fall through the cracks and be disregarded. He has also written a book about a religion (he may or may not) have created and he also promotes his merchandise through his videos.

Edit (July 11th 2019): It’s also alleged that Daniel Jones is even more phoney than he lets on. User “yourfavehatesautismspeaks” on tumblr has added some very interesting talking points to the conversation.

Alex Watts is his producer and “community manager” who decided to send me this on twitter. It’s incredibly unfortunate that they will stoop to tactics like this as a means to communicate with me.

July 12th, still being heckled by Dan Jones “Community Manager”, who fails to uphold himself to any professional standards.

3. Misinformation

If you have the ability to watch my react videos, you’ll notice very quickly that he fails to cite sources for his information. When talking about Aspergers VS Autism, he prefaces it saying that it doesn’t apply to everyone, yet he makes generalizations. Autism absorbed Aspergers in 2015 — Four years before his video came out. He said he will be updating the video, but it’s not like he didn’t have the new information at the time of creation. I also am baffled at a lot of the things he says and he continues to perpetuate his information as fact. It’s not factual. If you can’t cite sources and you can’t show proof to people, you’re only as good as your word.

His videos are presented at different educational events which is a further way to perpetuate fiction.

He has also said that there is a lack of Autistic female youtube creators, which also is not true. Perhaps he said this because he’s not a fan of those who have challenged him and suggested that he change.

Emma Dalmayne created a video back in October of 2018 that I highly suggest you watch.

4. Preaching to Autism Moms

A vast majority of his audience seem to be Autism “Warrior” Moms. These are the type of people who generally won’t listen to #ActuallyAutistic adults in favour of people who are telling them what they want to hear. Daniel Jones has found that they are the perfect audience for him and he uses terms that are generally not well liked by our community like “WITH Autism”, “With Aspergers” — which I find a lot of these parents use. Plenty of them are Autism Speaks supporters as well and won’t hesitate to attach a shiny blue puzzle piece to their social media handles.

In closing:

If you’re not going to listen to the community you supposedly represent and are part of and you continue to promote yourself with the basis of your content being completely untruthful, manufactured, sensationalized and self-gratifying, you’re not helping anyone.

I also believe it’s so important to give a voice to my fellow Autistics and I have done so in this post. It’s not just me who is striving for change and proper representation. IF YOU HAVE AN AUDIENCE, DO SOMETHING GOOD WITH IT!

Please note:

I no longer utilize the term Aspergers in reference to myself as it is harmful terminology. I am maintaining the Aspergers tag on 3 of my posts so they are easily searchable, however I am not condoning the use of this language. 

I was on the radio today!

A dream came true of mine. I was on the radio on my favourite network, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). I met Gloria Macarenko and she was so lovely! I am a HUGE CBC fan and I couldn’t believe I got to go in the part of the building where they broadcast the news, both television and radio.

The radio program was all about a Youth with Autism conference taking place tomorrow and I will be running an Art workshop. This will be the first of it’s kind for me and hopefully not the last.

If you’re interested in hearing me on the radio, the link is here.

If you happen to be outside of Canada, you can always download a free VPN like ProtonVPN and set your location to Canada to be able to listen!

Bold opinions and unnecessary apologies

I added to my anxiety today and it was my own fault. At this moment I am waiting for a bus and the sun is beaming down on the back of my legs. This long awaited warmth is not eclipsing my overwhelming feel of regret and embarrassment.

I learned a very big lesson today: I don’t ever have to apologize for offending people in regard to my strong, personal beliefs. 

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com
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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.

Outspoken, Childfree & Autistic.

Dealing with negative comments is no easy task. It makes my anxiety kick into high gear and makes me question how I feel about myself. I need to remind myself to breathe and realize that the comments don’t reflect how they feel about me but how they feel about themselves. The past few days i’ve had a few people utter the F-word about things I have posted or done.

Photo by Kayla Harris on Unsplash

I posted an unpopular opinion puffins meme from mindyourowneggs on instagram that read “I’M TIRED OF PARENTS COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW TOUGH IT IS TO RAISE CHILDREN” and at the bottom of the image it read “NO ONE FORCED YOU TO HAVE KIDS.”  It prompted a flurry of messages on instagram from an Autistic Mother with an Autistic Child who took it to heart.

As a societal-whole, we make choices and need to deal with the consequences of our actions.

It continued on twitter with more messages towards me, essentially discrediting me as a “small time activist” amongst other things. 

I have been incredibly vocal about my Childfree stance and I do frequently worry about the sad state of our planet. My opinion encompasses all those feelings and I don’t want people to think I am specifically targeting parents of Autistic Children. I posted that meme as a blanket statement. I can’t say that I have much in common with parents of Autistic Children, because I don’t. When I speak, I speak from my heart. Entirely based on my experiences. Clearly, this doesn’t go over well with everyone, but those who have chosen to support me are people I would like to thank for giving me strength to get by. If anyone wants to believe that seeking out allies on social media platforms, by sharing this story, is a negative or “schoolyard” tactic, so be it. Childfree Autistic Adults do exist. We may be going against the grain of what society wants or expects from us, but we are just as valid.

There’s many things about myself I wouldn’t want to duplicate and therefore being Childfree has always been the best choice. How would I benefit from hearing people complain about a choice I have consciously decided not to make? I can’t provide any insight other than saying “Well, you made this choice.”, I can’t. There’s honestly nothing else I can possibly say to satisfy a parent. I still care about the rights of Autistic People as a whole and with that being said, I do what I can with my Childfree stance intact. There are facebook groups for Childfree individuals. There are instagrams, twitter accounts, websites, even Childfree Cruises and the Not-Mom Summit. A community which thrives. I’m not going to stop doing what I am doing because one person thinks I need to be a certain way.


Why “Sensory Friendly” Isn’t always what it seems.

man wearing black headphones beside train rail

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I posed this question on twitter:

The response was overwhelming. It seems a lot of people tend to agree with me.

A number of venues will offer, what they consider to be “sensory friendly” events which they believe caters to those who are Autistic and yes -it does cater to some, but certainly not all.

According to AMC (who works with Autism Speaks) this is how they define their sensory friendly film program:

AMC Theatres in 2007 started the AMC Sensory Friendly Films program in partnership with the Autism Society to bring a unique movie experience to our community! As part of the program the film showings have their lights turned up and the sound turned down.

 

multi colored chairs in row

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My thoughts on something where the lights are on and the sound is down: Terrible. Just awful. For me, not being able to hear dialogue and having bright lights in my face would not be sensory friendly. I function best when the lights are off or there is natural lighting.  Each and every person on the spectrum is different and their ways of mentally processing incoming sensations are all unique to each person. You can’t simply say something is Sensory Friendly and use it as a blanket statement. I believe a better term would be Sensory Aware and a disclaimer that would say something like “this isn’t sensory friendly for every autistic person or person with sensory processing difficulties” would be highly beneficial. It’s just another step towards inclusion or at least a better understanding of what Neurodiversity is.

photo of head bust print artwork

Photo by meo on Pexels.com

Meowbox Unboxing // Art Pictures!

Figured i’d put these together in one post!

Thank you MEOWBOX, you made Buddy & Ruby so happy.

 

 

Here’s some of my art, each and every piece is up for sale so feel free to contact me if you’re interested:

I am 30.

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My Birthday was a couple days ago and I felt as though a new decade in my life deserves a tribute.

 

This past year I have felt like a lot has changed. I’m not sure if it’s for the better or if it’s just me being a persistent piece of work. I don’t feel as though i’m any different than I was as a teenager. Perhaps less of a social circle, more angry and frustrated. Less energetic and definitely more anxious. Those are not the most positive attributes but I honestly believe that i’m trying to live my best life and create some social change.

This year, I was featured in a local newspaper earlier in September. I also have multiple speaking opportunities coming up and I have done nearly 50 collaborations with various brands and attractions. My traffic to my website has increased significantly from last year (1,454 visitors in 2017 and so far 5,243 this year, apparently that’s a 260 percent increase!) which, I firmly believe, is a true testament to my hard work and fierce diligence.

close up of hand over white background

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

I am able to express myself through art, writing, videos, and podcasts. I always said I wanted to start a blog and I feel that I am finally in the right headspace to contribute my voice to a bigger cause. I have only been diagnosed as an Autistic individual since I was 28 years old and now that i’m 30, the clarity and self-awareness continues to grow.

The hurdles I faced as an infant, child, teenager and now adult are just things I need to live with and I am so lucky to have some incredible people on this journey with me.

Older and wiser voices can help you find the right path, if you are only willing to listen.
-Jimmy Buffett

 

Autism Speaks…..

…But apparently, they do not listen!

If you haven’t seen this, you should:

This whole thing is laughable at best.

I was interviewed by a local, community newspaper under the umbrella of black press media. The reporter was incredibly interested in my art, autism and my story.

I specifically told her about my disapproval of Autism Speaks and how their aim is to eradicate autistic individuals like myself. I told her how important this detail was in regards to my own journey.

Every so often, I find myself looking up the title of the article to see where it’s been posted.

To my surprise, a disgustingly sick feeling came over me, It has been posted on the Autism Speaks facebook page for all to see.

The VERY article that had this statement in it:

The goal, Wosk explained, is to help people become more educated about autism — that’s why she spends much of her online time being an activist for autistic people and protesting against organizations like Autism Speaks, which Wosk said spend more time looking to eliminate autism rather than support autistic people.

It had been up for 2 hours with over 40 likes and 2 shares.

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I don’t think any of those Autism Speaks supporters (or even Autism Speaks themselves) even bothered to read my article, because if they did, they wouldn’t have posted anything with an unfavorable mention.

This begs the even larger question of the importance of autistic opinions. I believe that when it all comes down to it, it’s that money rules and we don’t matter.

This was certainly not my first online encounter with this greedy “charity”. Nope. Autism Speaks Canada actually e-mailed me once trying to tell me all the things they do. TELLING me is important to note because they failed to read or even address anything I had said.

 

In conclusion:

Autism Speaks wants to replace and eliminate us. Our voices are not worthy or important to them.