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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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

 

Sadness and Joy

Last night, The Autism Acceptance Project drew closer to its end with a concert by Michael Moon. People were “sad” they said, because the month-long events are drawing to a close.

There is some sadness in me too. One thing I came to learn: when there is a safe environment for autistic people to come out, they do. I met more autistic people here in Toronto than I knew before. I felt last night that we had a mini Autreat going on and at the end of Michael’s concert he had us all singing Alleluia. I’m not a religions person, nor was this sung in a religious context, but surely this is what it was all about: Thank God we are all here, together, and we believe in each other. Humanity oozed in the room. Difference was transcended. We were all equal with the music. As the battles are fought outside, much needed peace swathed us inside.

I have two potential new autistic board members – one who is non verbal and uses a keyboard. It’s all about accommodation and how people can participate and not about how they cannot.

As the year continues, we will continue our talks with government; we will get autistic people into the schools as we plan our series of talks on the inside – familiarizing students and teachers with autism from the source.

As well, I will be talking at a few conferences across Canada next year.

We have a growing membership and our website will soon change to keep people up-to-date on the news and our efforts to increase opportunities and better education and services for all autistic people and their families.

Next fall, we are focusing a lot on education and science in autism. We have been asked to produce a magazine as well…TAAProject is hardly over even though the event is drawing to a close.

Thanks to all who participated in the event this year – coming a little closer to promoting a healthy dialogue about autism, even among the fury, perhaps coming closer to viewing autistic people, well, just human. Thanks to all the parents who brought their older autistic kids out (21 and above) who really want vocational opportunities for them. While TAAProject can’t do everything all at once, we understand the need to integrate everyone.

I was thinking about the Combat Autism Bill today, the name which is very unsettling for me, as a mother. I squirm at the thought of my son asking me about why he has to be combatted when there are real issues to contend with, like bullying in the school yard, isolation from being different. Real issues that we COULD transcend if we promoted tolerance and educated others about how to accept autism. I was thinking how we need to form a group of scientists without stigma, how we must reword our scientific questions: Research FOR Autism and the like. Lord knows we don’t want to combat our kids who are intrinsically autistic. We want to help them, enable them.

I wanted a perfect ending... Now, I've learned, the hard way,
that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning,
middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment, and making the best of it, without knowing
what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.
--Gilda Radner

2 Comments:

Anonymous Camille said...

I look forward to TAAP's next projects. It's wonderful that you had so many autistic people come to your events. The Combatting Autism Act is just sick on so many levels, starting with the name.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't you want to combat the very disorder that robs your children and loved ones of the ability to communicate effectively with you and the rest of the world?

Is it wrong for people who fight to cure Muscular Sclerosis to do so simply because some people with the condition have simply accepted their diagnosis. Isn't it better to spare the next generation from a similar fate?

5:22 PM  

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