My story does not fit neatly into the common perception of Autism. I’m socially shy, but I love being on stage. I love my personal routines, but enjoy scrambling societal norms and breaking down barriers. I’ve watched the tv show Friends at least three dozen times from start to finish, yet I seek out expereinces that challenge me in new ways.
Autism may be a part of me, but it does not define all of me. It lives as a roomate with my personality, named Snamuh (sna-moo) and my emtionally creative fire, Phoenix. These three aspects of my being must work together so that I might have the autonomy and sense of self I wish to have. Life is largely the art of learning to fall, so that we may learn from our failures, adjust our line of sight, and continue on in a way that makes room for every type of person.
I started on this advocacy journey in 2003, when my son and I were both diagnosed with Autism. The early days of Autism advocacy was an exhausting fight for awareness and acceptance. Much like the famous “acid tongues” of the members of the Algonquin Round Table, my candour and criticisim of societies suppression of people with disabilities was welcomed by some, but resisted by most. I spoke loudly, but I loved louder. Today, Autism advocacy has pushed through barriers, allowing us to focus on inclusion and the presume comptence movement, bringing non-speaking and limited speaking advocates to the table.
My hope is to use my 3 Shoes Perspective to enhance the conversation about autism and to help parents, teachers, and people with autism feel included and heard.