Monday, November 18, 2013

This Is Autism (Paula C. Durbin-Westby)

Written by and originally published at Paula C. Durbin-Westby

In response and to counter the woo of Autism Speaks' "national call to action"
some amazing Autistic activists and parent allies have dedicated today to a This Is Autism flashblog. Entries are pouring in. I encourage my readers to visit the Flashblog many times to see what's new.

I am not going to post an individual links list here, since that is already being done at the flashblog itself.

I am going to post a few photos of what autism is around here. Autism is me. Some of these are old photos, some might be new. I am not being very word-oriented today because I have spent so many words on other blog entries this week, and because I had to make PHONE CALLS this morning, so used up all my words on that. The photos are all of me, except one with my son, not because I am all fixated on myself, but because I don't have the energy and the what-ever-it-takes to ask people for permissions, cull through all sorts of photos and images. I also have not posted most of these before and just thought I would like to. 

Many thanks and much pride in my community this week. We WILL turn around the "dreaded disease" paradigm and make a place for ourselves as equal participants in this world that claims to be "about us" while denying us access and input into policymaking about us.

Autistic woman holding stuff shark named "Sholfin." One look at her expression tells you she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to Autism Activism.

Tools of the trade- an image of two glitter-spangled headphones. What the well-dressed Autistic Activist wears to National Policy Summit Meetings about autism. Can also be worn to write scathing articles decrying CRPD violations of the rights of disabled people to have a seat at the "national policy table."....

Autistic woman wearing red. Red headphones, red fleece jacket with red hoodie and colorful red scarf. Red lipstick. Hood up provides sensory protection and also shields from the cold around here. Thoughtful, slightly pleased facial expression is because of having just read yet another well-written article from an Autistic theorist, researcher, or activist.

Autistic woman wearing red headphones and holding a different stuffed shark, "Hammie." Autistic adults need not be afraid to carry our stuffed animals or other objects with us. Hammie was borrowed from my child, but I've become rather attached to him.

Autistic mother and her child. Mother wearing headphones. Child looking happy, safe, and secure. Happy to be with an AUTISTIC MOTHER, he does not believe at all that our family is victimized by some sort of sinister anthropomorphization of autism.

Photograph of Autistic mom taken by happy child. The photo is blurry but I really like it. The essence of the photo is not in how still the youthful photographer stood, but in the way he captures the inner joy that is being felt by both parties to the encounter (the child photographer and the mom subject).

Self-portrait with sun-stripes. Partial picture of face with sun rays altering the photograph. Note the intense "Autistic look" in the eyes. This does not mean I am in a little inaccessible world of my own. It means I am focusing my eyes differently than most people do. It does not bother me at all to do this. I find it relaxing.
Autistic woman wearing pink fleece scarf and yellow decorated headphones. The perfect combination if one wants sensory control, not too much cold, and a non-scrapey texture overall so that one can get back to writing blog entries with a minimum of distractions.

This is Autism