The Autism Acceptance Project
Recently I was reacquainting myself with a blog called The Joy of Autism, which I was frequenting when I was blogging more regularly. It's a blog about the joys of raising a child with autism, and was a stepping stone in my path to neurodiversity. While I was there, something caught my eye: a circular looking symbol with the words The Autism Acceptance Project.
Intriguing! So I clicked and there was the Autism Acceptance Project. It's a Canadian based organization, founded by the author of The Joy of Autism blog, and very much in-line with my own thinking. Though, this particular project focuses more stringently on the art of autism than I would, it's still very much something I want to encourage.
If you want to learn more about TAAP, and see some interesting art in the process, check out this video. There's a lot of encouraging information there.
Due to this video, I found this essay, Don't Mourn for Us by Jim Sinclair. Here are some very telling excerpts:
Therefore, when parents say,
I wish my child did not have autism,
what they're really saying is,
I wish the autistic child I have did not exist, and I had a different
(non-autistic) child instead.
Read that again. This is what we hear when you mourn over our existence. This is what we hear when you pray for a cure. This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.
That does not mean the child is incapable of relating at all. It only means you're assuming a shared system, a shared understanding of signals and meanings, that the child in fact does not share.
Grieve if you must, for your own lost dreams. But don't mourn for us. We are alive. We are real. And we're here waiting for you.
We need you. We need your help and your understanding. Your world is not very open to us, and we won't make it without your strong support.
For a long while I've related to connecting with an autistic child to building a bridge. You've got to build a little, they've got to build a little; you've got to cross a little, they've got to cross a little. Sometimes, you have to do most of the work. Sometimes, they're ready to help. Nobody can do it alone, but if connections are to be made it must be done. This essay, written by an autistic individual, confirms that theory, reinforces it, and gives me hope that someday more and more people will be willing to make the effort.
It is my goal, and the goal of The Autism Acceptance Project and the Autism Network International (run by Jim Sinclair), to open up our shared world for autistic individuals; not just for them, not just for us, but for all of us to share a better, more hopeful existence together.