AtAutismHWY.comwe don’t just walk the walk or talk the talk we also chalk the chalk! We CHALK what we believe IN......
The AutismHWY we roll on is chalked UP with street art for diversity. Calling attention to artful texts that need viewing in a mainstream festival environment. Enlightening dismal societal Autism views that have darkened the last century for Autistic people and those of us that love them.
Turning on bright lights and Autistic thought bubbles for people is exactly what we are ALL about!
This will be the 4th time participating as a street Artist for Autistic rights chalking at the LARGEST CHALK FESTIVAL on the planet! The Pasadena Chalk Festival which falls on Father’s Day weekend each and every year for the last 23 years here in the heART of our San Gabriel Valley! 2013 was my first year joining all of the amazing talent that congregates at this spectacular event. My designs have always consisted of; spectral colors fitted together like paint draping our brains in a colorfully neurodiverse learning curve!
I chalk what I believe in and I believe in Autistic people. They are and have been valid world citizens on this planet from the beginning of time. That was really spelled out for the world last summer when the best selling book ‘NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity’ written bySteve Silbermanhit the streets. I believe in this book so much…I laid it right down for all to see…
This year’s Pasadena chalking event is this weekend and once again I will be chalking up what I believe IN. I will be replicating The Movie Poster for the amazing NEW Documentary ‘Connected: A Film About Autistic People’produced by Charlie and Leonora Collura directed by Sonia Suvagau. I had the pleasure of attending it’s screening at the Life Fest Film Festival in Los Angeles at the end of April. I was completely wowed and reviewed the film here. Such love, light and reality. Something that is all too often very hard to find in the Autism industry. As we have repeatedly told our readers: Easy to find when you go to the source…Autistic people, of course!
Just last week the documentary was screened at the Hoboken International Film Festivalin New York and was among the 4 nominees for Best documentary film of the entire Festival!! I could not be more excited to be chalking my spin on this beautiful Movie Poster. A film full of amazing vignettes that don’t just ‘scratch the surface.’ This film is built upon thousands of hours of work and the deep layered connections that are indeed like a fine painting. Decades of connections built by Autistic people for their grid on their infra structure at their speed. It is perfectly and ‘Naturally Autistic’ as the name states. Let’s hope my ART can do that, JUSTICE!
No posing or pretending to be anything but simply and wonderfully themselves…presented stunningly as they are. BRAVO to ANCA Naturally Autistic, to the entire team of amazing people on screen and behind the scenes. I only hope my chalk rendition of your masterpiece honors you ALL. xo
AutismHWY is blessed to know so many amazing Autistic activists and advocates. This has been THE biggest and best result of our 5 year history. Our GIFT. Thank you to the Autistic community and it’s amazing emerging culture!!
When our HWY first merged on to the internet… we did not know WHAT to expect. So many things being said about Autism. From every direction, from too many angles. It was an Autism informational ‘freeway congestion’ of overload. What do you listen to? Who do you listen to? What weight do you assign to those words you are rationally hearing? Much like the moment of diagnosis. Filtering through what seems to apply to you and your loved ones and what simply does not. It is not a simple task and in fact a very fluid one. Remember to always be flexible and fluid in this ongoing informational filtering process.
The voices in Autism come from many places. Too many places. Many of these places with fiscal motives behind them. Voices filled with pain, pride and ego. Voices filled with humanity. This is where we took our major right turn…
At AutismHWY we turned to the voice of Autistic people. The voice of the people that understand the mechanics of the Autism engine. The specialists! If your child is a Mercedes…well then you know the mechanic he or she may need for fine tuning. This IS the AutismHWY after all folks. The insights and hidden Autistic information that cannot be gleaned from “professionals” OR “parent-bloggers” comes from one place and one place only.
The decades long movement of Autistic people uniting has grown rapidly in 2015. Major collaborations amongst them like the Boycotting of Autism Speaks and the forming of Autonomous Press seek to spread their truths on an ever widening scale. Signal boostings of their information by allies will continue to grow. Their story being centrally cited in the award winning N.Y. Times bestselling book NeuroTribes by the wonderful and well regarded journalist Steve Silberman has increased visibility. Some cages have definitely been rattled. Shaken up to the point of Autism Speaks finally placing two Autistic adults as seated board members after 10 yrs. in existence without them. Let’s hope these seats are equally functional and not just pretty place-cards on the Autism Speaks table.
The future of Autistic people lies in the hands of Autistic people. The AutismHWY dictates it.
The traffic has been too congested with the previously written road rules. Non Autistic road rules that don’t apply to the Autistic engines they seek to mainstream. We need Autistic guidelines to merge with professionals and parents. These highly specialized people deserve the expert mechanics that will get us all back on the HWY together peacefully. Autistic people and parents of Autistic people must start merging together on 2 lane HWYs….1 way HWYs are no longer working. Together we can change the future for Autistic people their parents and the professional community that supports us all.
This is the GIFT we desire for ALL of our FUTURES!
Those are all signs I see as I traverse the internet these days on the AutismHWY. Signs, I believe we should all know are there even when we don’t literally see them. Autistic people and non Autistic parents of Autistic people trying to communicate respectfully. Ha, the impossible dream you say? Perhaps, but my readers know I am the eternal optimist even in my ‘darkest’ moments. When concepts are being driven on this “AutismHWY” by thinkers coming from differing directions without set guidelines we are bound to have many offending-fender benders. Not to mention the full blown pile-ups due to communication gaps! One wrong turn and you may find yourself teetering over a cliff. Our vehicles all have different engines and as drivers we all have unique ways of driving those engines. Sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it? So many analogies to say we are all on the same life path yet we view things in distinctly different contexts.
That’s a road block.
In real life when we have a fender bender or major collision we have it repaired or replace the vehicle and get back on the road. Back on the HWY with the same drivers coming from all of those differing directions. It should be the same way in conversations that seem to crash. Autistic adults and non-Autistic parents have the ability to partner with each other for the greater good. To benefit the generation of Autistic people already here and those in coming generations because, they are coming. Shouldn’t we be ready? Shouldn’t we be listening closely and amplifying crucial information to the professionals and the general public!? Why then, do I always have conversational “fender benders” with other non Autistic parents that refuse to listen to the concepts of my wise Autistic friends?
That’s a major road block.
Which happens more and more. When Autistic people voice their concerns and grievences over attitudes and words that harm them they are scoffed at. They are demonized and called names. Non-Autistic people react childishly. They become confused by concepts that they have never before considered or taken a look at, from an alternate view. It is quite startling for some. I have seen people become defensive, paranoid and worse. It is truly dumbfounding to see the amounts of resistance and rhetoric used to battle this new information. As if they refuse to see the Autistic light.
Autistic traffic merging in.
Autistic people want to help! Please make room on your informational HWY for them, they are indeed the Autism experts. See their lights and signals on the AutismHWY. If they turn on their “hazard lights” in conjunction with something you have said or implied. Please examine that hazard. If you do not easily understand the hazard seek to define what it may have been and work to avoid harmful ”hazards” in future conversations and travels. We all know that Autism revolves around the challenges of communication. So let’s acknowledge that and try harder not to go round and round an incessant traffic circle of dialogue going nowhere. Let’s make the best effort to understand each other’s differing angles and perspectives on life and Autism.
Best and safe practices.
Knowing the landscape and anticipating what other drivers may do. Two of the most important factors to safely traverse our world regardless of our individual modes of transport. At AutismHWY we have been dreaming of a world enlightened by Autistic people. Not a world of non-Autistic parents and professionals refusing to hear their concepts. In 2015 we now have books honoring Autistic people like; Steve Silberman’s NeuroTribes winning accolades and awards across the planet. We have Autonomous Press created by a coalition of Autistic people working with a few non-Autistic allies to amplify their words of guidance with books like The Real Experts edited by Michelle Sutton. This is where we need to be. Understanding the differentials in Autism thought and practice. We that are not Autistic, owe it to Autistic people to put our own egos aside and LISTEN. Stop being offended or defensive and truly LISTEN.
Ignoring the signs will not prevent collision.
All drivers are aware that we must pay attention as we travel, our very lives depend on it. We cannot ignore hazard signs on the HWY so why do we do it in conversations? Conversations that can be literally life or death for some people. Honor that. Be respectful of people even if you are not understanding their concepts immediately. Do not rush to dismiss them and minimize them (which is so often the common reaction!) Truly examine what was said. Percolate on it and work on seeing past your own lane on this HWY of life. Expanding our horizons in thought and possibility will open up the world for the Autistic kids on the rise.
From our view~The best kids and folks on the planet.