I am finishing my M.A. in Critical Disability Studies, a fortunate position which I hope to give back to many others as The Autism Acceptance Project grows again. There are lots of writing deadlines now and April is on my mind…if you haven’t yet seen this video by Drew Morton Goldsmith, take a look before it begins:
I also am presently reading Chris Hedges The Death of the Liberal Class and reserve my opinions as of yet. However, this is a good video to consider in our Economy of Pity and to question just who is running our charities and for what purpose are we trying to “ameliorate”(or control, or sequester) autistic people from or in society? It’s a bigger question, as well, with regards to where we think autistic people do, or do not belong in our economy/nation state. Think about that when April comes raising money to cure autism. This coming month, let’s write and talk about why this is happening.
This isn’t going to be one of my longer posts. I was simply driving Adam to school today listening to this song and thinking how fast April is approaching (for those of you who don’t yet know…April is supposed to be Autism Awareness Month). What kind of awareness are we constructing about autism? Are we supporting a charity model that, for hundreds of years, has oppressed people with disabilities? What about NOT making autistic kids heroes in the name of real equality and inclusion? What about just being, or being allowed to be? What about “flying with everyone else” as autistic people? “I don’t want to be a part of the parade,” well, at least not this kind of parade. How can we think of other ways to support autistic folks outside of the charity model that uses various stereotypes of disability – the tragedy, the needy, the sick, the criminally violent, the hero, the supercrip…? How might we, as “advocates,” avoid being kettled by the charity-model?
I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com), and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.
because finding joy doesn't come without struggle;
because the point is to find it;
because if an autistic person calls autism their way of being, not an illness, then it is;
because every human has value and is a joy;
because despite inhumane acts, I believe in humanity;
but most of all, because of my son Adam.