No Stereotypes Here

Archive for the ‘awareness’ Category

>I love buttons, the pin kind that I have a small collection of, and the image kind for links and stuff.  I’ve been busy working on assignments for school, but I do manage to browse a couple of places online, and decided I need a button.  So I made one. 

Feel free to use if you link to here.

And in other news, April is Autism Awareness Month, apparently.  Huh, that time of year again.  I always have fun with this, because I’m in Canada, and usually we have an Autism Awareness week sometime in Fall….

April is a rough month for me, to be honest.  The demands of schoolwork aside, it’s an emotionally rough month.  April 1st is the anniversary of my Grandpa’s death, and that was an event that deeply impacted me.  Each year, when it comes around, I am always struck with great grief.  Some years are better than others, some years I can get by just fine, other years I am struck with depression and anxiety, which shakes me up pretty badly.

Hopefully this year won’t be so bad, but please excuse me if I’m a bit absent a while longer. 

I have written a piece for The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism for April.  I’m not sure when it’ll be up, but I’m pretty sure that it will be, and I highly encourage people to check out all the stories they’ll be posting for this month.



This may seem a bit off topic-ish, especially with the news about Wakefield going on. To be perfectly honestly, I’m not entirely surprised that he’s been found to have changed the children’s data and it really hasn’t changed my opinion about him (see The Triggering of Wakefield). So I’m going to continue on and address an issue that affects a lot of people, not just Autistic people.
Poverty and homelessness is an issue that face Autistic people, as well as people with and without other disabilities. A concern for those with disabilities is whether homeless shelters, women’s shelters and other services are supportive of their disabilities, and uncertainty may be a big factor in whether disabled people access such services. Which kinda creates a cycle unless it’s specified that services are accessible to disabled people.
My government has been working to create unique programs and services for people with disabilities specifically. One of these has been the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), a social assistance program that provides the basics: a little over $500 for living costs such as food, telephone, etc, and up to $450 for rent, per month. It’s basically a safety net for people with disabilities if they are between jobs, or recovering from a bad period, and the program even includes an Employment Support services, and will cover some additional medical costs, such as service dogs, diabetes supplies, breathing machines, etc.
For the other services it doesn’t cover, being on ODSP qualifies people to other programs. There’s a lot of paperwork involved, of course, and it requires people to be as productive as possible while describing their worst days. But one of those programs in my city is the centralized housing list for subsidized housing, since $450 doesn’t get you a decent place to live in this area.
The problem is that there’s a lot of people on that wait list. My city does a magazine, profiling restaurants, venues, and highlighting city issues. In the latest issue, it reports that as of July 2010, there are 1,133 applicants currently waiting for access to social housing. With the given rate of vacancies in the city, it can take at least six months for a three- or four-bedroom unit, or up to eight years for a single-room unit.
Obviously, there needs to be more available units and in the magazine article, the issues surrounding making decisions on where to build mixed-income housing is discussed. However, due to various difficulties (such as the city’s own zoning and building restrictions), it can take up to eight years for many housing units to start being built. In the meanwhile, there’s still a lot of people waiting for places to live and call home.
I faintly recall a few years ago a plan to start a portal subsidized housing. The idea is that people on the housing list can find a place to live on their own and get off the housing list a lot quicker.
It’s like this: say I’m on the housing list. I’ve gone through the application process and have been approved for social housing. Instead of spending eight years couch-surfing or hopping between shelters or enduring abusive situations, I can look around for a place that meets my needs.
After some looking, I find a nice apartment that’s easy for me to access the public transit system, a grocery store, as well as other services, or at least to be able to get to other services. I’m on ODSP though, and can only afford $450 a month, and the apartment is $750 a month.
I talk to the landlord/lady/person, and make an agreement with him that he’ll hold the apartment while I apply to the housing list. Then I fill out a form, asking for support for the other $300 for rent from the social housing program. The landlord/lady/person and I fill out the details of the place, sign it, and submit it. If everything checks out, the housing list approves of it, and there you go, I have a place to live and I’m off the housing list a lot quicker.
Of course, I don’t know all the specifics that this would have to be put into place, but I think it’s better than a waiting game where one never knows when they’re going to have a place to live. Also, it gives the people a sense of respect, dignity and control over their own fate.

Edit: minor editing over the difference between rent and ODSP; I really can’t do math in my head.


I’m going to be extremely honest; there are some things about myself I don’t like, and one of them is how I’m still angry and hurt over the Autism Speaks “Autism Every Day” video, especially the parts with Alison Singer.  However, I understand that she’s changed, left Autism Speaks, and started the Autism Science Foundation.  Recognizing this, I am working towards healing the hurt I feel and beginning the process to forgive her.  I hope that one day I’ll be able to fully forgive her, and I am very glad that I’ve made this decision.  

Because really, there needs to be more science-based knowledge about Autism, and I think that the Autism Science Foundation plays a key part in “providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research” and contributing to Autism Awareness. 

They consider strict scientific standards and values to be essential in Autism research.  This is crucial to understanding Autism as it makes as sure as possible that the results are accurate, and better understanding means better approaches and supports in our communities.  Truly, this is one of the best gifts that can be given to families and individuals on the Autism Spectrum.

Currently, ASF is raising funds with Recipes4Hope, and every dollar raised will go towards science-based Autism research dedicated to discovering better ways to recognize Autism and implement better supports and enhance the lives of Autistic persons.

With the hope of a better future for all Autistic persons, I encourage everyone to contribute as you wish, to donate if you can, and to spread the word as far as you can.  

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it a lot here, but I also do quite a bit of artwork, and sometimes I let people see my work. For the past month and a half, I’ve had a lot of my work at the Kerry’s Place Autism Services Resource Centre in Belleville, Ontario, as part of the Spectrum Art Show. I kinda started the Show five years ago when I worked for KPAS.

Tomorrow, November 30th, I’ll be at the Resource Centre from 2pm to 6pm for a “Meet the Artist” event. I’m being presented as an Autistic artist and Autism advocate.

If any of my readers are in the area, and have the time, it’ll be awesome to meet some of you!

(yeah, a little last minute, I know. I’m sorry)

Jeanne Holverstott has written an awesome post on Autistics Speaking Day, from the perspective of a service provider.  With her permission, I’ve reposted it here.

Now that there is some distance and time from November 1, 2010, Autistics Speak Day, I have had time to reflect and put the experience in context.

In many ways, #ASDay was really any other day. Each person who moderated (thank you to the @TheCoffeeKlatch for allowing me to do so) and who participated in the Tweet chat brought their thoughts, feelings, experiences, two cents, and expertise.  For those who are on the spectrum (i.e. @TMBMT, @CorinaBecker, @Heather_Sedlock), #ASDay was a moment in the spotlight. Not the interrogation spotlight that makes your heart race and your body sweat. Rather, the sharing spotlight, the all-eyes-on-you and what you say because this is a time to learn.

While listening to those in spotlight, I was amazed to read many Aspies and auties continually reminding everyone that their personal experiences captured their perspective but did not speak for the entire community. As the old saying goes: If you’ve met one person on the spectrum, you’ve met one person on the spectrum.

I was amazed by this contextualizing of personal experiences because it allowed the space for all voices to be heard equally. When I think about the public persona of ASD (a topic I’ve mentioned in my blog post, “Keep Your Clothes on, Jenny; Autism is Better than That”), Temple Grandin is the most well-known person on the spectrum. Many NTs use her as the paradigm for all experiences with ASD. #ASDay was in direct contrast. I spoke to many individuals on the spectrum who shared their life’s story while knowing it was only representative of their particular color on the spectrum. In so doing, they encouraged me to seek out others and ask, beg, and plead for their opinions on a particular subject, too. Crudely, I could compare it to a chili cook-off: Taste all the flavors. But, don’t pick just one. Get all of the recipes and savor them all.

I can only imagine what this day meant to individuals on the spectrum. I felt like part of a larger community that was often silenced and misunderstood. I tweeted as an “autism specialist” and had my spectrum of knowledge broadened (pun intended), but this is a selfish perspective. Those individuals on the spectrum, who countered the idea of being silent for a day to increase awareness (Communication Shutdown), were the main characters. And they were gracious, well-intentioned, determined, and respectful. They shared their day-to-day experiences in ways that people take for granted and can’t even begin to fathom.

#ASDay became more than just another day. It was a large-scale dialogue about daily struggles, successes, and challenges that we didn’t know about, couldn’t guess about, and, perhaps, never dreamed of. Lifetimes of day-to-day experiences congealed to document what it’s like to be a person with an autism spectrum disorder. #ASDay was a living, breathing, and talking personal and community history book with pages filled by unsung heroes with powerful stories.

I am glad I read a few pages.

[Nov 24, 2010 Update: updated the list of participant blogs]

Yesterday, November 1, was Autistics Speaking Day, and it was a resounding success!! I am completely speechless trying to describe it; I keep using the words “incredible” and “awesome”, but truly these are weak words to accurately express it. The responses and contributions from everyone greatly exceeded my expectations.

I will be honest, when I proposed Autistics Speaking Day, I thought that at best it would be myself and a few others, tweeting on Twitter and maybe putting up a few blog posts. And when the criticisms came in, with people saying that much wouldn’t happen, so why bother, I thought of two things. The two things that leads me to be active in the Autism and Disability communities.

I thought “Well, it might not reach too many people, but it’s worth it if I can make even a little difference in someone’s life.”

And then I thought, “Well, you don’t know that for sure, so what’s the harm in me trying?”

Hope for the best, expect the worst, and be pleasantly surprised. And I was totally surprised. I don’t think I have ever been so pleased to be so wrong before. It was great to see and hear everyone online. I want to thank everyone for their hard work.

I’ve gotten messages of people thanking me for putting ASDay together, but I don’t think that’s right. I don’t deserve all of the credit. Yes, I thought of holding a counter to Communication ShutDown, and I thought of the name, and I nearly spammed Twitter getting the word out and explaining it. But on the day itself, what did I do? I did what everyone else participating did, I posted a blog entry, and shared my experiences with others.

I did not do it all; I do not deserve all the praise for the success of ASDay.

It was Kathryn Bjørnstad who started both Facebook groups, the event page, and the more permanent page. It was Melody Latimer that, when we were looking for a shorter Twitter hashtag, suggested #ASDay. It was Kim and Kathleen on the Autism Blogs Directory, Rachel Cohen-Rottenburg at Shift Journal and others getting the word out. It’s LizDitz for following all the responses, posts and media attention. It’s all sorts of people covering it in the news. It’s the Coffee Klatch for hosting such an amazing conversation on Twitter. It was all the parents and professionals who took the time to listen, and supported us.

And most of all, it was every single Autistic person who joined in and participated. It couldn’t have happened without any of you.

I am only one person, but together, we are a community of voices. I hope that ASDay was informative for many, and that the day inspired not only parents and professionals, but Autistics to be involved in processes and decisions that ultimately affect us. We should not be silent when we have something to say. And certainly, we weren’t on November 1st.

Right now, I want to acknowledge all the participants and contributers who wrote blogs, all their hard work that made ASDay a success. November 1st was your day.

(The following list was made possible by Kathryn)

The participants:
1. Action for Autism’s Mike Stanton explains why Communication Shutdown is offensive, and what it is like when autistic people shut down in real life.
2. Alexander Cheezem writes an awesome open letter to Buzz Aldrin.
3. Allecto on dispelling myths about autism.
4. Alysia Krasnow Butler on her own son’s autism diagnosis and her friend’s son’s recent unexpected diagnosis. A beautiful post.
5. Amanda Forest Vivian on problems with the kinds of things non-autistics are trying to “fix” in autistic people. This is really awesome and you should read it if you’re not familiar with the concepts of “ableism” and why it’s not necessary or even beneficial to “pass” for non-autistic.
6. Ari Ne’eman from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network on Communication Shutdown and Autistics Speaking Day.
7. AS Parenting has an awesome article on autism (including nonverbal autism) and advocacy.
8. ASD Mommy-I don’t know this blogger’s name, but it is a good post.
9. A.S.S.G.O. (AS Support Group Online)’s post for Autistics Speaking Day.
11. Brigy Staples on the double standards people use with autistic people.
12. Britt Kravets on social interaction and acceptance for the whole spectrum.
13. Clay on Autistics Speaking Day; also contains Ari Ne’eman’s post.
14. Codeman busting myths about autism.
15. The Coffee Klatch on their Twitter event, which you should totally check out if you have Twitter.
16. Corabelle Li Crol on the power of the Internet and autistic people.
17. Corina Becker’s guest blog on things she knows as an autistic person, and her post on her own blog for Autistics Speaking Day.
18. Craig Thompson posted a video about autism and communication.
19. Cripchick (Stacy Milbern) on the dangers of donating to non-profit autism organizations that are all about profit and do nothing for autistic people.
21. Darcy Reed is an autistic writer who writes beautiful poetry.
26. Estee Klar on the dangers of trying to normalize autistic people with medication.
27. Gavin Bollard on why a day of silence doesn’t work.
28. Gaynell on the harm that society has allowed to be done to autistic people, particularly on physical abuse and restraint. This is an important issue in the community right now.
30. Heather Sedlock on her autistic son’s life.

31. Ian on his experiences with autism.
32. Jennefer explains what she would like people to know about her three-year-old autistic son, referred to here as HRH.

33. Jill with some general info on autism and ASDay.

34. John Elder Robinson posts his support here.

35. John Scot Thorburn on how autistic voices should be heard.

38. Julian Edward Frost posts on his own experience with autism.

39. Karen Baum writes her first blog post on Autistics Speaking Day, for which I am honored.
40. Karin has written several posts for today, which can be viewed here:

41. Kassiane on what she can tell you and explain about living with autism, and being on your autistic kid’s side. and
42. Kathleen on autistic people and communication.
43. Kathryn Bjornstad writes about Autistics Speaking Day and shares a list of participants.
44. Kerry Cohen on her autistic son, who she has written a memoir about.
45. Kevin Healey shares the voices of autistic people.
46. Kim Wombles on supporting autistic people instead of shutting down.
47. Leah Jane on how the Internet made it possible for her autism club to pull off a successful event. and on the aftermath of ASDay

49. Luna Lightning on her own experiences with autism and life in general.

50. Maddy Keene on her experience with autism/Asperger’s.

51. Matt Friedman explains how social media has helped him and why autistics must speak for themselves.
52. Maya Brown-Zimmerman on battles with the early intervention system.
53. Melissa Fields on not feeling welcome in the non-autistic world. http://iamautistic—
54. Nicole Nicholson shares an awesome poem with us for Autistics Speaking Day. She is also sharing other poems, so check them out.
55. Ole Ferme L’Oeil on the wide range of people in the autism spectrum; also includes some awesome links to other important blog posts that you should check out.
57. Paula C. Durbin-Westby shares her e-mail to Buzz Aldrin about Communication Shutdown and Autistics Speaking Day.
58. Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg on empathy and communication.
59. Sandy challenges the idea that verbal communication is the best form of communication.
61. Savannah posts poems about her experiences with autism.
62. Scottish Mum on why Communication Shutdown is not for her.
63. Shanti writes about her life, selective mutism, and her obsessions.
64. Shelly Valladolid on autistic special interests and their validity. I don’t know a better way to put it; it’s a short but good post.

65. Socrates from the New Republic on Autistics Speaking Day.

67. Sunday Stillwell writes an informative post on Autistics Speaking Day.
69. TMBMT on the pain of growing up undiagnosed.
70. Tony Belcastro writes about what autism is like for him and how it has affected his life.
71. Toxicology Doc on communication.
72. Unstrange Mind on what you would have to do to really understand how her autism affects her. Hint: it’s not turning off your computer.
75. Zachary Lassiter on why many autistic people won’t be participating in Communication Shutdown.

76. I missed Nick Walker’s post before, but here it is now.

77. Also missed Jo’s blog post here about the difficulties she has encountered raising a son with Asperger’s.

78. Wendy on alt med, food allergies, and other things.

79. Spectrummy Mummy on her experiences with Autistics Speaking Day.

The Media:
There are some other lists here.

Please, if we’ve missed a post, let us know! We want to acknowledge and thank each person who contributed. You all are awesome!

I’ve been thinking about what to post here for today, shifting through all my memories and experiences.  To be honest, I’m pretty sure I could write a book covering it all.  But the problem is always where to start.

I’ve had my share of troubles through life, and I still do and will have troubles.  But I won’t dwell on them or indulge in self-pity.  Life is full of difficulties, and we all have our own specific difficulties. 

So instead of concentrating on negative aspects, I choose to focus on my strengths and skills.  One of these strengths is writing, and expressing myself through writing.  Since 2009, I have been writing on this blog about Autism, and so for Autistics Speaking Day, I am listing some of the posts that I feel are some of my best work.

If people participating in Autistics Speaking Day would like to comment with their contributing blog posts or other forms of communication, please do so.  I would love to see your words. 

Explaining Asperger’s as Autistic

On Neurodiversity

Regarding Success

Self Advocacy and Disability

Spoons, Batteries and Autism

Blogging as Communication

Language, Disability, and Injustice

The Triggering of Dr. Wakefield

The Propsed DSM-V Changes: Is it a Step in the Right Direction?

What I Want People To Know

The Perspectives of Luck and Autism



I can’t say this enough; thank you all very much for your support and participation.  By sheer response, this day has been successful beyond measure, and it is all due to your hard work and contributions. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you all. 

And here’s to raising Autism Awareness and working towards a better future for all.


  • None
  • Corina Becker: Hi Anonymous person who apparently doesn't feel like giving me a name to address, and thus hides behind anonymity!!! I never said the federal gov
  • Anonymous: I think that it is about time something is being done federally to help those with ASD to get much needed therapies for their disability and YES I do
  • Corina Becker: Hi Janine! Melody reads here? Awesome. I honestly had no idea she was aware of this blog.And thank you so much, I'm glad both of you like the bl