You see, as I write this post there are Autism Hub bloggers on the way to San Diego. From 2 countries, from 3 states we are converging at University of San Diego to participate in and present to the "Work With Me, Not On Me" conference.
At this conference, there will be discussion of all kinds of aspects of Autism, with an emphasis on how we can provide appropriate and effective education and supports to autistics over their entire lifespan.
Issues of movement, of language, of societal inclusion, of self-image and self-esteem, of fulfilling potential - all of these will be discussed, with respect for autistics as a guiding principle. While I understand the need to look at many different facets of autism and ways to promote a positive outcome for autistic individuals, I am proud to be contributing to this school of thought as I feel it can directly benefit autistics in the long term. There are those who disagree with the importance of toning down the rhetoric, of using positive terms, of emphasizing strengths, of dispelling myths about autism. I submit that we can accomplish these goals without ignoring the challenges of autistics, and while fully respecting the efforts at overcoming the myriad disabling aspects of autism. My good friend, Bev, may have put it best when she wrote in an open letter to parents:
"But I am not your enemy. If you have a child on the spectrum and are hoping to cure him or her, hoping to get rid of the autism, I don’t want to argue with you. Most likely, you and I don’t even use the word “autism” to mean the same thing. If you are one of these parents working to change your child, know that I am working, too. If your quest to change the course of autism fails, perhaps the quest to change societal attitudes will fare better. In which case, your autistic child might have a less hostile world to live in.Thanks for that, Bev.
That is why I do this."
So today, then, is a quiet day (all quiet...) that precedes a whirlwind of activity. I have always been a huge fan of quiet days around the house, and the proverbial apple seems to have not fallen far from the tree. A little while ago, I walked by J's bedroom and saw the following scene:
Apparently, he is going to read all of those books. There are probably 30 books there. Don't put it past him - he devours books at an amazing rate.
Some other members of the family can't even muster the energy required to be read to. Evidence, Baby C:
So I will continue to work on the various presentations and discussions we will be part of at USD over the course of the day, my fellow bloggers will complete their journeys, and tomorrow we will converge and hope to begin to help some parents, self-advocates, and professionals understand who we are, what we stand for, and why we do what we do. Understanding, of course, that this group is anything but homogenous and represents a huge diversity of opinions and emphasis on different topics.
We also may have a surprise in store. More on that later.
It occurs to me that over the next few days there may be many new visitors to the Autism Hub and to this blog. For those newcomers, here is a brief tour of some good posts from this week that I consider "recommended reading":
Joel Smith writes about how certain autistic strengths may, or may not, translate into employable skills.
Alex blogs about his new personal best in 5K.
Amanda Baggs discusses some difficult communication issues.
Kristina Chew has numerous good posts this week - I would recommend this one about the importance of riding a bike.
Kev writes an Open Letter to those who aggressively promote the vaccine hypothesis.
Club 166 gives a day in the life of the typical autism Dad. Notice its a pretty good day.
Bev recommends some new PECS cards.
Estee celebrates her son moving to 1st grade. This hits home, as J also finished K this year. He tells everybody all about it - I mean everybody. Not much fluff, just in a loud voice with a sidelong glance - "I graduated Kindergarten!". This is currently his pat response to any question asked in public by a member of the community.
Michelle Dawson asks why Autism Speaks seems to have trouble with epidemiological figures.
Ari asks for input for the Autistic Adults Planning Committee.
There is more, so much more for people to learn about from reading these pages.
I'd like for any interested Hub Blogger to consider pulling your favorite post, on whatever topic you wish, and re-post it tomorrow. I have reason to believe that we may have a good number of people wanting to take their first look at what we have to say, and it seems that this might be a good opportunity to put our proverbial best foot forward. If you would like to do so, please re-post your favorite blog entry sometime tomorrow, the earlier the better.