Dear #ActuallyAutistic activist friends: I know that many of you have been through a rougher than usual time in the advocacy space these past two months. I have several bits of encouraging news to share that I think will give you hope for your own efforts.
But I am exhausted now, so I will not share anything specific today.

Just know that changes can come.

My good trouble is slowly paying off. My friends are brewing a revolution and we see its effects around us.

Some of our big dreams are possible and realistic.
Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

I don't have faith. 😝 I am certain of nothing.

What I do have, is hope. For me, hope is seeing a logical possibility.
Given a number of things that happened this week, things that were the fruit of many years of good trouble, I want you to have the hope that at least one country in the world will table legislation to ban ABA within the next three years, and others will start the process too.
I want you to have the hope that a Black nonspeaking autistic teenage boy can be formally appointed to serve as an advisor to respected professionals in the mainstream autism industry in 2021.
I want to give you the hope that the former director of a national autism organisation who once wrote an essay defending "gentle ABA" will renounce all ABA by December and start encouraging the national head of an ABA organisation to do the same.
I want you to have the hope that #ActuallyAutistic people, parents and professionals can work together to provide access to AAC in countries throughout the world.
I want you to hope that #StopDropStim can go mainstream.
Good night for now. May you be blessed with the right quantities of melatonin and cortisol at the opportune hours. Image
Here's a random pic to mark the first update to this thread. Tonight at sunset there is a very special Zoom meeting. It a milestone event because of who organised it and who is going to be there. Two small white flowers wit...
The professionals are from SASLHA, and the name of the nonspeaking autistic boy is...
A black and white photo of ...










SASLHSA Special Interest Group on Autism









The majority of people in this Special Interest Group are Speech & Language Therapists (or Speech & Language Pathologists, as Americans call them), and academics in that discipline, with a special interest in autism.
I was nominated to the group, and when they asked who else we all throught should be in this group, I nominated Zekwande and his CRP, Nicola Sowah. Another member of the group seconded this nomination, and it was accepted.
So last night we began working on the vision and mission of the group. It's still under construction, but the goals basically boil down to this:
To change this profession (and later also other professions that work with autistic clients) so that they will be BASED ON WHAT AUTISTIC PEOPLE SAY WORKS FOR THEM


To work with all the the necessary authorities, powerful people, etc. AGAINST WHAT AUTISTIC PEOPLE SAY IS BAD.
I mean, errrr... this seems like the obbbbbbvious thing that a professional body like this should be doing in respect of autistic clients/patients, right? Only... this obvious thing is not happening in the equivalent professional organisations in any other country that I know of.
So I think that for a bunch of professional (mostly) white women to be voluntarily taking direction from a 14-year-old nonspeaking Black autistic kid is kinda a big deal, actually.

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More from @ekverstania

23 Feb
Have you noticed that autism industry professionals who say that their favourite autistic writers are Temple Grandin and Carly Fleischmann usually haven't read anything written by any other autistic people, and even those two were several years ago?
"But I've learned soooo much from working with people with autism!"

"Like what?"

"Like patience!"

🙄 "What have you learned from autistic people about dealing with the body-mind disconnect? And autistic burnout?"

"I haven't heard of that."
Dear Autism Industry Overdogs

There's something different about learning from a position of power compared to learning along with equals, or subordinating yourself to someone's tutelage. Most of you people have a LOT to learn.…
Read 9 tweets
19 Feb
Well. That was 5 days ago. It's over 40,000 YouTube views now, and thousands more on Facebook. Maybe some people are starting to #LISTEN to nonspeaking autistic people? 😊
By the way, @Communica1st have been inundated with requests for translations into many other languages. The Spanish version will be out shortly, with five or more other language versions soon after.
The main reason why CommunicationFIRST are handling the translations with their own partners is that ableism and inaccuracies can creep into translations, and each language has its own nuances in that regard, so every translation gets vetted.
Read 4 tweets
12 Feb
There seems to be confusion. I'll clear it up:

Sia said she wanted to work with CommunicationFIRST; she offered to sponsor an intro to dispel misinformation; she promised she'd add a content warning and remove the restraint scenes.

The short film #LISTEN was not paid for by Sia.

Sia broke all her promises. The production was done by disabled people, with the exception of the filmmaker, who is not disabled, but he had a disabled brother (now deceased).

Sia has an enormous fan base. The movie presents harmful stereotypes and practices in a manner that some fans love it so much that they are watching the movie twice. Because they weren't provided with the correct information, they can't see the harm. They just see a sweet movie.
Read 10 tweets
10 Feb
The production and launch of Sia's movie Music has left people divided. These are the main groups:
1. Those who listen to what nonspeaking autistic people say and who want to amplify their words.
2. Those who just want to say their own thing and don't care much what nonspeaking people say.
Read 20 tweets
24 Jan
Autistic Strategies Network - 2021: A year of increasing collaboration [THREAD]

We begin 2021 with a number of programmes and projects in the pipeline. These are some of our focus areas for the year, on the continent, in our country and in our province:
AFRICA: Autistic advocacy
We’re building relationships with autistic activists throughout Africa and with cross-disability organisations serving communities in African languages to support autistic strategies in ways that draw from the best of African values and culture.
AFRICA: Ableism
A meeting with the head of the Health Department in the Western Cape identified ableism as the single greatest obstacle to better health services for disabled people in the province.
Read 19 tweets
24 Jan
This alarming message came through on WhatsApp this morning from Johan Pretorius of DeafBlind SA:
"With the predicted stormy weather in KZN, Mpumalanga and Limpopo please do take care. Avoid unnecessary traveling and be careful during dangerous weather conditions by staying indoors."

(Keep reading; that's not the big problem yet.)
"I am currently making enquiries with our local police about accessable emergency contact number with local police stations all over South Africa. The usual phone call number 10111 is not accessible for Deaf and DeafBlind persons."

Read 4 tweets

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