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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Human Rights Violation In Sudbury

Here is a story from Another reason why we have to keep advocating:

> Autism is classified as a neurodevelopmental
> disorder
> that manifests itself in markedly abnormal social
> interaction, communication ability, patterns of
> interests, and patterns of behavior.
> Shocked and disappointed was how we at
> felt when one of our members sent us this TRUE story
> about the terrible treatment a local women who is
> also
> Autistic received from local retailer, Black Cat
> Too!
> I am an autistic adult living in Sudbury, and use a
> wheelchair.
> Being autistic means that I have many sensory
> differences, as well as social skill difficulties.
> Thus, when I am out in public I wear headphones all
> the time, in order to deal with the busy world.
> Otherwise would not be able to leave the house at
> all.
> Friday March 17th, 2006 after a long workout at the
> YMCA, decided to go to "BlackCatToo" where I have
> gone
> for YEARS to get magazines. In fact it has been the
> only place I ever buy magazines (autistics are
> creatures of habit). I buy Adbusters, Shambhala Sun,
> and some Yoga magazines once a month and when can
> afford them.
> This time was actually also looking to see what kind
> of running/triathelon/marathon magazines they had,
> since am training for a marathon and during my
> training period, I have entered many local races to
> raise funds for several non-profit organizations
> locally. I will be pushing my wheelchair through
> four
> seperate 5KM courses between May 2006 and July 2006
> here in Sudbury to raise funds for our local
> charities..
> I did NOT touch any magazines, I had NO TIME to,
> before the 'problem' started.
> When went in there, turned to the left (where the
> budhist and yoga magazines are) and sat in my
> wheelchair listening to my walkman (which is what I
> ALWAYS do, in EVERY store that have gone in alone...
> am terrified of having the workers at stores talk to
> me, so the walkman drowns them out, and they
> eventually notice the walkman and realize am
> listening
> to music and leave me alone).
> Well, very soon after entering (within one minute)
> the
> man behind the counter was yelling the following
> words
> at me:
> "I said HELLO to you and I EXPECT my customers to
> I started to cry. I said I have my walkman on
> because
> i want to drown out the voices of people, because I
> am
> autistic. Talking to strangers sends me into a panic
> and then I need to leave the store.
> The man continued and said - well HERE in OUR STORE
> we
> EXPECT people to BE SOCIALLY POLITE and you have to
> say hello back.
> I said I am autistic and I have difficulty talking
> to
> strangers and that I fear this means I cannot shop
> here if I have to talk to strangers, all the while
> my
> anxiety increasing as I needed to try to explain
> this
> to the man behind the counter, with the hopes that
> if
> I was able to help him understand my disability, he
> would let me shop there.
> To which he replied:
> this incident happened at exactly 11:30 AM Friday
> March 17th, 2006 at the Black Cat Too store.
> Now, I fear that I cannot get the magazines that I
> want, because to go to Chapters, I would need a
> seperate Handi-Transit ride booked just for that,
> and
> it would add $4 to the cost of my magazines. The
> Black
> Cat Too was easily accessible from the YMCA where I
> am
> allready 3 days a week.
> Furthermore, have always believed in supporting
> local
> independent shops, rather than the big 'box stores'
> like Chapters.
> This leaves me feeling very much like I could be
> making a complaint to the Human Rights Commission
> about the fact that the store will not serve
> autistics
> and tells us to "go be autistic somewhere else",
> (which IS a violation of the Human Rights Code under
> discrimination due to a disability).
> Now I realize that my magazine purchasing days are
> over, and am going to have to settle for reading
> things online only.
> Am very sad about this incident, considering I have
> been a loyal customer of Black Cat Too for a decade
> (since 1996) and this has never happened to me there
> before. I do not understand why they changed their
> policy and expect those of us with communication and
> sensory disabilities such as autism to 'go be
> autistic
> somewhere else' merely because we do not know how to
> be socially polite enough to talk to strangers.
> To learn more about Autism please go here and here.
> TalkSudbury has communicated to our member that we
> WILL BE purchasing subscriptions to her two
> favourite
> magazines. ON US! Greater Sudbury should rally
> behind
> this individual and voice your collective disgust
> with
> the way she has been treated in her own city.
> Absolutely SHAMEFUL!


Blogger Sharon said...

That is SO awful! And she was able to communicate her problem to the saleperson and he was still ignorant and rude!

What will/odes happen to those with little or no verbal skills? It scares me about the futures of my boys and everyone else with ASD.

9:39 PM  

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