Posts Tagged ‘Disability advocacy’


From Guilt to Acceptance of a Smaller Role in Autistic Advocacy

February 21, 2013

So we have been dealing with many guilty and unhappy feelings lately. Let me be clear first: NO OTHER AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCATES ARE IN ANY WAY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR FEELINGS. We haven’t, fortunately, read any posts by any advocates we know, that suggest that autistic people who aren’t involved heavily in self advocacy are bad people or not serious about wanting better representation in society. We haven’t been more involved in advocacy for several reasons. We are currently in school pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics. We have had many difficulties in school which are mostly unrelated to subject matter. Though this semester, we have had trouble with some of that as well.

These guilty feelings are doing absolutely NOTHING to help us. Well duh. They are directly NEGATIVELY affecting our concentration. They pervade our waking thoughts (not all the time, but even a few times is too many!). They are unwanted intruders.

We feel guilty about having arrived late on the scene of autistic self advocacy. This is true mainly because prior to our diagnosis, we had no contacts with self advocates, nor any occasions to learn about the movement. Had we known, we probably would have tried to get involved sooner.

Again, we must reiterate our prior assertion that NONE OF OUR GUILT SHOULD BE BLAMED ON ANY OTHER AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCATE! Our current life circumstances (primarily being in college) mean we don’t have as much time or energy to dedicate to advocacy. We just have to embrace a less visible, but no less important and significant and MEANINGFUL role in the process.
There will ALWAYS be a need for advocacy in the autistic community.
Our advice to anyone feeling a similar sense of guilt,


An Anecdote about Caricatures and our Birth Name

November 8, 2012

We were not born with our current system name. When I was born, my parents bestowed the name “Sohini” on me. It means “adorned” or “decorated” or “girl with a pretty face.” It wasn’t really the meaning that I had a problem with, but rather the image the name brought to my mind. That image was the following: a pretty girl sitting by a windowsill or outside in a swinging chair somewhere in India, doing nothing but looking pretty and being subservient to all others. She spoke very little except when spoken to, and did this or that or whatever she was told, without question. She had no formal education. Of course, this is a gross stereotype, but the ones who created this image making it is autistic and was very young when this image was created. The only reason we can think of for creating this image, is so we could have an EXCUSE not to like the name. Looking back on this, several years later, there really was NO rhyme or reason to us creating that image WHATSOEVER. It’s just an interesting bit of our history at this point. Made sense at the time, I guess.

People often make caricatures for ideas, images, words, and people that they don’t like or disagree with for whatever reason. Then, they use these caricatures as “justification” for not liking or agreeing with whatever. This anecdote about our birth name is just one example of that. It happens all too often concerning the disability communities. People have these caricatures of individuals who cannot function independently or whatever the case may be. They think of the words autism or downs syndrome and they have these images in their minds. But we in the disability communities are far more than caricatures! We have emotions, we have passions, we have voices that people need to hear!

Athena and Andrea


Disabled Girl Jailed in Pakistan

November 4, 2012

Whoa. This is ridiculous and outrageous! As advocates, what can we do, if anything, to help this girl and her family?

At the very least people should write to their elected officials and ask them to speak out about it. We must make our voices heard around the world!



Pakistan police have decided to decline requests for bail for the eleven year old Christian girl who is accused of blasphemy on the grounds that releasing her would endanger her life and her family. The young girl is held in a state of shock and has not been able to say much to the police.

Christian human rights groups of Pakistan society are enraged and demand that the girl, who reportedly has Down’s syndrome, is released.


On the other hand, Muslim groups in Pakistan are now insisting she is burned alive for supposedly burning a Koran.

As a result of the controversy surrounding the case, Pakistan law is under scrutiny for imposing inhumane sentences on Christian citizens. Many Christian families who lived in the same neighbourhood as the young girl have also reportedly fled their homes in fear.

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