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Acceptance Reigns at the 5th Annual Chalk Festival

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Another incredible, indelible year connecting ACCEPTANCE to the heARTS and minds of all that show up for our annual chalk party. Each year the momentum feels  reinforced, more powerful. The labor of colorful love that has been the AutismHWY.com Chalk Festival has transformed itself year after year. It’s as if our platform was being built in the early year stages. Sponsors, Artists and friends joining together to spread out a foundation for this loving pragmatic platform. A foundation on which to build and connect Autism Acceptance skyscrapers. Autistic people and their loved ones working together to infrastructure positive life force resonation to the community. Real people, real Autism, real Acceptance, real FUN. Amplifying the Autistic voice and connecting to their experience in order for everyone to innerstand Autism.

 

Can you imagine anything more divine?

 

Our Artist’s can. Just have a look….

WOW, I SEE A SKY-SCRAPER! Pro chalker~Randall Williams knows what we are doing!

WOW, I SEE A SKY-SCRAPER! Pro chalker~Randall Williams knows what we are doing!

 

 

Rissa P putting down her POWER!

Rissa P putting down her POWER!

 

SUPER HEROES TOUCHING GROUND all day! This winner by Stacy Nalapraya.

SUPER HEROES TOUCHING GROUND all day! This winner by Stacy Nalapraya.

AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCACY NETWORK

AUTISTIC SELF ADVOCACY NETWORK logo chalked by Daniel Obejas!

Last Year's B.O.S. Winner Lesley Perdomo...honors Artist Daniela Jaime with a rendition of her personal autism awareness pony design!! SO COOL LESLEY!

Last Year’s B.O.S. Winner Lesley Perdomo…recruits her nephew James and sister Ana as “Team Perdomo” to honor Artist Daniela Jaime with a rendition of Daniela’s  pony design!! SO COOL LESLEY!

GUS MORAN'S AWARD WINNING STYLE!

GUS MORAN’S AWARD WINNING STYLE!

100% CORRECT! Chalked by ASAN

100% CORRECT! Chalked by Daniel Obejas of ASAN

ANDY DREISEWERD UNITES with US!

ANDY DREISEWERD UNITES with US!

RISSA P's AWARD WINNING MASTERPIECE!

RISSA P’s AWARD WINNING MASTERPIECE!

 

 

 

CARING MATTERS what an awesome message!

CARING MATTERS what an awesome message!

ASAN's Daniel Obejas recites his powerful poem: Points in Space.

ASAN’s Daniel Obejas recites his powerful poem: Points in Space.

SO VERY TRUE!

SO VERY TRUE!

SO HAPPY ANGELO GUZMAN BROUGHT HIS DRAGON GAME!

SO HAPPY ANGELO GUZMAN BROUGHT HIS DRAGON GAME!

 

BEST OF SHOW by professional chalker MOE NOTSU.

BEST OF SHOW by professional chalker MOE NOTSU.

THE LONARDI FAMILY MASTERPIECE!

THE LONARDI FAMILY MASTERPIECE!

 

ARTIST'S FAVORITE by ADRIANA SALGADO

ARTIST’S FAVORITE by ADRIANA SALGADO

Daniela Jaime's world!

DANIELA JAIME’S super fab ponysona’s of some hela rad Autistic gals   !

 

5th yr. participant! KING Jeremy of J.J. Jewelers

5th yr. participant! KING Jeremy of J.J. Jewelry

                                                                                                                                             

 

Building this Acceptance platform has been so much easier than we ever imagined it would be. The collaboration of generous souls that have given their time and energy to support our efforts throughout the years have become the concrete that empower us. Empower and facilitate us as we gel together with this ascending movement. Adding the City of Covina’s embracement to all of that and we have truly built a warm, loving and comfortable day to share in UNITY for all Autistic people and those who truly respect them. A sunny So Cal. day full of FUN, equality, appreciation and the freedom to be Autistic. Quite powerful.

 

It feels like a new day is near, a day where we can all consult our Autistic friends when we need to know how best we can make the population more comfortable and successful. A day when all of society will know that Autism is a normal part of humanity and that Autistic people are highly valued members. We are ALL differently, equally human.

 Subsets of normal swimming with heart in a very colorful and wonderfully diverse ocean of normalcy. 

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Filling in the Blanks

 

 

 

As a mom to an incredibly cool Autistic teen I do this a lot. Fill in the blanks. The blanks in thinking that my neurotypical mind had never considered before giving birth to my Autistic son! Perhaps, that is why the infamous puzzle piece was assigned to Autism decades ago. People weren’t and still don’t fully ‘get it’ when it comes to what being Autistic means. How Autism is an integral part of a person. How it shifts a person’s perceptions, physically and mentally. How can we be expected to innerstand one and other’s thought processes and sensory issues without help from each other? Autistic people and non Autistic people come from differing points of view. One mind set cannot transform the other, and shouldn’t. Even if it was possible! I feel that Autism has  become the focal point in aiding society to re-embrace that ancient knowing. The knowing that we are all from the same human family yet, we are all genetic originals and we act accordingly. Through technology we have the proof of this written into our own DNA codes. When it comes to considering the Autism Spectrum this concept should be from where we all begin.DSCN2169

 

Communication and thinking are rapidly evolving. Wrapping our brains around the inherent different communication and perception styles we all have is the key. Within this “thinking evolution” we are moving toward a new freedom. The freedom of fully understanding and embracing how integral these differences in people are and have been for humanity all along.

I fill in the blanks by speaking with my Autistic friends.  No, not the kids in the morning circle at my son’s day camp or the students I have come to know through his years at school. Autistic adult friends whom I  have come to know and respect as equals.  Friends I have made on-line and in real life!  Not assigned friends but, true friends. Friends I love and treasure more than people I have known my entire life. Friends that have enabled me an astounding glimpse into Autism and of life itself. The perspective that does not come naturally to my mind. The perspectives from their brains. The natural perspective of my non speaking son’s brain. Fascinating and life changing. It is an amazing thing; being so connected to a child without spoken words. Feeling so close to that child yet, just not able to fully comprehend all you would like to. It’s an even more amazing thing when the perspectives of Autistic people aid you in that regard by filling in the blanks! Putting words to what was sensed and experienced. Absolutely opening your eyes to something completely unconsidered. Rounding out the reasons things occur, or don’t occur. That’s the ”whole picture” perspective Autistic people proudly bring to the world and to the parents of other Autistics.IMG_0546

 

Talk about lighting up neurons!! This is why I so passionately defend and try to amplify the voice and experiences of my Autistic friends. I know how crucial their information is and just how valuable it can be to the masses. How life changing it can be for parents trapped in their own pity and grief. Most importantly how life-changing for the Autistic children of these parents still focusing on their pain and a perceived societal shame. This is why I become so frustrated when parents and organizations dismiss my friends beliefs and words with such disrespect. Autistic people have spent years trying to have their voices added to the conversation about Autism. The conversation about their own lives.

 

The most glaring example is Autism Speaks, the fully funded, most advertised Autism organization out here. An organization that decided to speak for people they don’t speak to. If you have followed this blog you have seen the current Boycott of Autism Speaks and that site HERE. Autistic people have asked Autism Speaks to consider their varied concerns  repeatedly. SILENCE…is all they seem to receive. Silence that we do not see as golden! Autism Speaks presumes to support all people on the Autism Spectrum yet they are at odds with Autistic adults and have been for many years. Ironically using the slogan that it is “time to listen.” I continue to ask myself how this ridiculous irony is not a well known fact? That the world’s largest Autism organization will not address Autistic people, their concerns or their boycott. Long unwilling to share the AutismHWY with the  passionate Autistic people driving the neurodiversity movement. Great people tirelessly working toward erasing the stigmas assigned to their lives by society and most certainly Autism Speaks marketing practices. Working together to gain civil rights and through their writings teach parents to nurture and do no harm to the Autistic generations to come! It is time for Autism Speaks and everyone else to listen to the great insights of our friends on the spectrum !

 

Is there anyone that needs to fill in the blanks more than AUTISM SPEAKS??….

AutismHWY.com would love to see Autism Speaks fill in the blanks!

AutismHWY.com would love to see Autism Speaks fill in the blanks!

 

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To Sesame Street with LOVE

 

 

This is a part of today’s #EducateSesame Flashblog.

 

Dear Sesame Street,

You make us feel good. You have always made us feel good. As a child of the 60′s I have watched you lovingly embrace diversity openly. What a refreshing concept it was. Sweet, honest, educational, diversity- authentic entertainment for children. You were one of a kind then and after all of these years, you are still very much one of a kind now. You always seemed to get how to discuss diversity without condescension. I was 8 yrs. old when you arrived on my street with your urban celebration of the world and of life on it’s learning curve. Exposing us to the lives of other children around the world, full of color and difference! Numbers, letters, love and life’s lessons, what could be better? You always evoked good feelings, great vibrations. Truly nothing anyone would ever object to. So unlike much of the children’s programming that followed and much of the programming being created today.

Why do anything else? Whoever celebrated SAMENESS?

 

So why are you hearing objections today? Objections that have to do with your decision to team with Autism Speaks?

 

Because apparently you have become complacent when it comes to your research. To write this letter I did my own research on the beginnings of your Children’s Television Workshop. 45 yrs. ago I was just happy to watch Sesame Street without questions. NOW, not so much. You were the first to extensively research your audience’s habits and to scientifically harness the “addictive qualities” of television viewing. You purposely set out to research your way into the homes, hearts and minds of families in this manner. You did that, quite successfully.

 

*From Wikipedia: Sesame Street was the first children’s television program that used a curriculum with clear and measurable outcomes, and was the first to use research in the creation of the show’s design and content.

 

So what happened? As a company that has succeeded greatly because of extreme research and focus groups, did you fail to research your newest partner, Autism Speaks? The way they characterize Autism to the world from their extensive media platform?

 

Did you research the fact that they 

DO NOT LISTEN

 to the very people they claim to support? That thousands of Autistic adults hate the way Autism Speaks claims to speak for them. Without even knowing them…without even trying to know them? That Autism Speaks will not even publicly address Autistic people about their grievances?

 

 

It is so uncharacteristic of what we have come to expect on Sesame Street. Especially when it comes to something as important as neurodiversity.

 

As the mother to a beautifully diverse Autistic teenager and the friend to amazing Autistic people I beg you to DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are many wonderful Autistic people and organizations that will partner with you to get the correct educational materials out there in regards to Autism. After many years of hammering Autism over the head, depicting it as a tragic burden on the human race- don’t allow Autism Speaks to fool you. Using you and your amazing business model to legitimize their “new found” stance of acceptance. They must undo the stigmatic damage they have done to the people on the AutismHWY by themselves. Ask them to be true partners and to  finally acknowledge and apologize to Autistic people. To do the only authentic thing. INCLUDE Autistic adults in their research and policy making.

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Please do not assist Autism Speaks in spreading information about Autism that does not come from Autistic people themselves. We beg you to not work with a company that is known for excluding the Autistic voice that has so much to offer. We ask that you amplify the Autistic voice and stay true to your original plan of only including and highlighting authenticity on Sesame Street!

 

Respectfully,

Kelly Green

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Free Speech and the Right to be Curly

 

Free speech is a very complex concept. It sounds so appealing, so simple, so easy. Upon examination we often find it troubling, never simple and hardly easy. It actually has a life all it’s own. A simple concept? An unalienable right? A tool people use to manipulate, buy, sell and control others? All of the above and much, much more… use your words

 

 

In the very invested community supporting and “claiming to support” Autistic people there is a long running volatile debate. A debate that people are deeply entrenched in.  I have boiled it down to this: Parent’s and other’s rights to curse Autism and Autistic people versus the rights of Autistic people and their allies to speak truths about the deadly harm that, that enables. When groups of people use hate and rhetoric to stir up unrest for others that is evil and has very dangerous and scary affects. Those are the roots of all bigotry and hatred which cause death and dehumanizing devastation. We know this to be true. When parent’s “free speech” about their child’s Autistic neurology sounds like hate speech the fires stoking this debate will rage on!

SPREAD the knowledge!!

 

 

 

Let me use this silly analogy to illustrate this not so silly problem.

Imagine that I constantly heard people talking smack about curly hair, how I and all other people with curls just didn’t fit in to, or belong in this world. That we were defective and needed to be fixed in order to truly matter here.  Theories espoused everywhere that curly haired people were just too difficult and hard to understand, holding no real value in society. Never ending disparagements thrown around about how much curly haired people were disrupting families and how it was a colossal burden having to deal with our wavy difference!  That we were causing our loved ones to go through divorce, bankruptcy and ruination epidemically. Rhetoric concentrating on trying to “straighten us out” to be more like everyone else (indistinguishable from our straight haired peers.)  Imagine that ridiculous rhetoric permeating out into society, into the schools, our communities, over the airwaves of the media spilling out onto the internet globally. Everywhere I and other curlies went … consistently bombarded with negative words against our unique DNA, causing us to believe that we were less than everyone else because of the way we were born.

 

It’s no different for Autistic adults out here in the world and on the internet…hearing this “hate speech” that is declared free speech that should not be judged. Parent’s and others right to express their painful feelings at the expense of Autistic people’s well being…and sadly their own children’s. Mom’s and or Dad’s saying that Autism and their child that lives with Autism, make them feel desperate, like jumping off of a cliff or that Autism can go and~  “F” itself. Painful.

 

Even MORE PAINFUL when Mom’s and Dad’s take those “words” to the next level with violent actions against  Autism by taking their Autistic child’s life. Seemingly in partnership with this parental freedom of speech and belief that with more supports murders committed by caregivers would not happen. Has this horrid story been told so many times with sympathy for the abusive “caregiver” that the general public actually believe Autistic people and others with differences are better off dead? Don’t people understand that this sick cycle of rhetoric and protected hate speech paves the highways for murder and abuse ? That defending these violent hate actions and free speech rights to curse Autism seem to say that it is okay? That it should be understood? Protected as free speech?  Seen as one’s right to express how Autism makes them feel due to a lack of services? Surely one can see this very scary cause and effect. This horrifying slippery slope.

 

What if my Mom had been hearing those free speech messages of hate against my unique DNA and the over riding societal belief that I was an unmanageable, curly mess? What if she was so sick of combing out my curly hair one morning and felt she had no services to straighten it all out? Knotted, gnarled, frustrated, late for work, completely overwhelmed….and instead of taking me to get a pixie hair-cut on the weekend (which she actually did in 1970) she snapped and killed me?

 

Would people understand…and say it was all the fault of my unruly curly hair? That they understood perfectly how this could happen. That if we only had more straighteners in place surely it never would have !?

You can only be what you are.

You can only be what you are.

 

 

Imagine how absurd? …………………………………………………………INDEED!

 

Free speech is not without a cost. People need to refine their ideas surrounding the value of the words they choose. Who’s lives do your words value and who’s lives do they devalue?

 

Imagine how Matt Young felt when he saw this BUS AD CAMPAIGN? 

How would you feel to know that people “bought in” to the idea that you should NOT EXIST?

Desensitized, dehumanized, devalued and devolved?

Matt was damn mad and he and The Autistic Self Advocacy Network , Washington chapter did something about it. Awesome!

 

We can all do something here. We can be mindful of the way we speak about Autism and each other, our children and friends. None of us should be cursed for being Autistic, curly or any other damn thing!

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