50 Inspiring Autistic People of 2011
In my introduction to this series, I said that one of its purposes was to make the case for my pride in my people:
This last part of the series focuses on some of the young people who inspired me most this year. I am ending with them because they give me more than pride: they give me hope.
Glenn Beck interviews Jacob Barnett.
Jacob Barnett is a 12-year-old savant who is studying college physics and was interviewed by Glenn Beck.
Many of the people who appear elsewhere on this list are also powerful and important writers, and there are many autistic writers whose words inspired me in 2011 whose names are not on anywhere on this list because limiting myself to 50 was challenging. These four writers are special for me.
From Quiet Hands:
Flapping your hands doesn’t do anything for you, so it does nothing for me.
I can control it.
If I could just suppress it, you wouldn’t have to do this.
They actually teach, in applied behavioral analysis, in special education teacher training, that the most important, the most basic, the most foundational thing is behavioral control. A kid’s education can’t begin until they’re “table ready.”
I need to silence my most reliable way of gathering, processing, and expressing information, I need to put more effort into controlling and deadening and reducing and removing myself second-by-second than you could ever even conceive, I need to have quiet hands, because until I move 97% of the way in your direction you can’t even see that’s there’s a 3% for you to move towards me.
I need to have quiet hands.
I know. I know.
Note: When I originally linked to "Quiet Hands" I wrote this "Julia's hands, when she writes like this, are LOUD. And that is a wonderful thing." So I could not be more excited that Julia is spearheading the Loud Hands Project for ASAN. Fundraising for this transmedia publishing effort has been going on for just a week and they have alread reached over half of their goal. Please consider adding your donation.
Other significant work from Julia this year:
Many, many autistic people took action to improve the way we are perceived, to make us more safe, and to give us more opportunities this year. These are a few of the ones who were most inspiring to me personally.
Corina and Kathryn were honored at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's Five Year Celebration for their creation of Autistics Speaking Day. ASD is now an annual event that encourages dozens of autistic people to speak for themselves.
Autistic people are funny. Not just funny-strange. Also funny-ha ha. Here are some of the ones who made me laugh hardest this year.
"I have Aspergers but I'm also a badass."