January 28, 2020

Donation request–Autistic People of Color’s Fund

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 2:20 pm by chavisory

Hi all! As you may or may not know, I’m also a social media volunteer for the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN Network). One of the community resources we make available is the Fund for Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment (or the Autistic People of Color’s Fund for short). The fund exists to provide direct, individual financial aid to autistic people of color for a variety of needs, due to the disproportionate barriers accessing services and community support often faced by autistic people of color.

In the past week or so, we have received a record number of applications for assistance.

I and many other autistic people have written often about how the financial priorities of the biggest and most visible autism organizations fail to support our actual well-being. If you’re able and would like to contribute in a way that will support the quality of life of autistic people materially and very, very immediately, the link for more information and how to donate is here.

January 15, 2020

Institutionalization and Daryl Hannah and autistic people like me

Posted in Marginalization, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 6:20 pm by chavisory

[This post is slightly expanded from a recent Facebook comment]

A friend posted this article about Daryl Hannah this week, which is a few years old, and which I enjoyed very much despite the totally melodramatic and unnecessarily stigmatizing headline (which she probably had no role in choosing).

And though the fact of Hannah’s autism, and the fact that autistic people can and do succeed at counter-intuitive, high-visibility careers like acting, is old news by now (and Sense8 has sadly reached the end of its run), I think it’s especially worth drawing attention to one aspect of the article, because it bears on an issue that is still very much under discussion in the autism community.

In particular, the childhood history Hannah relates really highlights how the gulf between autistic people whose parents and professionals say need to be in institutions because of the severity of their autism, and those of us who they say are “mildly affected” and just can’t understand, is just not what they assume it is.

Daryl Hannah is someone who could well have been institutionalized, had her parents believed the doctors who recommended it. And then anything that happened to her there, any deterioration of her condition, any given set of skills or knowledge she failed to acquire as a result of institutionalization, would have been used as evidence that she belonged there and not as evidence of injury by institutionalization. She’s probably right that she’d still be there today.

And today, she’d be being held up as an example of someone whose condition was so severe, whose daily living skills and ability to exercise autonomy was so lacking, that it was clearly understandable to institutionalize her, rather than someone who’s so outrageously successful her autism obviously can’t be that serious. Or that even if she is, she shouldn’t talk about it or use that label for herself because it takes attention away from autistic people with more intensive support needs.

When really the only difference is in the kind of chances she was given.

I know I’ve quoted my high school math teacher before, who said “A lot of times kids will ask me, ‘When am I going to use this?’ And the answer is, ‘Probably never.’ But if you don’t learn it, you definitely won’t.”

Someone never genuinely given a chance to live and grow in their own community, never will.

Daryl Hannah narrowly avoided institutionalization. And for all that some factions of parents and autism professionals will say that this isn’t really about autistic people like me or Daryl Hannah, for as different as they say I am from autistic people who they insist really do need to live in institutions, frankly, if it could’ve happened to Daryl Hannah, it could’ve happened to me.

I don’t think somebody else’s kid really does belong in an institution because their support needs really are greater than Daryl Hannah’s, or mine. I think they deserve to live in their communities as much as she or I do.

I think the rest of us would be as fortunate to have a chance to know them and have them in our lives as much as we are for the pleasure of having Daryl Hannah’s art in the world instead of having her locked in an institution while we’re told why she really belongs there.

January 5, 2020

Conscientious objector resources & alternatives to military service

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 3:09 pm by chavisory

I did not hope for this to be my first post of the new year, but as the situation in Iran and Iraq has quickly become more volatile and concerning, this is courtesy of a friend of mine who wanted to put this information out there without being credited by name.

If you are currently in the military and concerned about deployment or considering claiming conscientious objector status (which I did not know, but apparently you can pursue even after you have enlisted), or you are not currently enlisted and seeking alternatives to military service, below is some information that might help.

With hope for a more peaceful new decade for us all…

***

“If someone you know is in the military and wants to make sure they’re not hauled off to kill or die to boost Trump’s approval ratings, here’s some basic info and a hotline # for pursuing a conscientious objector discharge:
https://girightshotline.org/…/conscientious-objection-disch…

“If you know someone who hasn’t enlisted yet but is considering it as a way to get healthcare, free college, job training, etc, the Quakers have help finding other ways to get those needs met. We need Medicare for All and free college, but in the meantime, scroll down for free downloads and regional guides on what’s out there now: https://www.afsc.org/resource/alternatives-military

“And if it comes to it, while the maximum penalties on the books for going AWOL are brutal, but they haven’t been used since 1945. In practice the Pentagon only charges 5% of soldiers who quit, and only 1% receive any sentence. Compared to being asked to kill innocent people or get killed in pointless war, getting out is both the right and the smart thing to do. http://nymag.com/…/…/what-happens-to-most-awol-soldiers.html