All opinions and views stated on this site belong solely to Corina Lynn Becker, and do not represent or reflects the views and opinions of any organizations, unless otherwise specified.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preparing to be Loud

In my previous two posts, Real Communication Shutdown and Autistics Speaking Day, I proposed that on November 1st, instead of shutting down our online communication, that online Autistics be loud. 

The idea is that since NTs are taking part in Communication Shutdown, and are at least going to not be saying anything on Twitter and Facebook, that we should take the opportunity to share our experiences and our strengths, and what it's like to be autistic.

While this is certainly a response to Communication Shutdown, whether it is a counter-event or protest of the Shutdown depends on whether or not you agree with Shutdown.  This can be a complementary event, an alternative event or a counter-protest event.  We can agree to disagree on the details about this.  What matter though, is that people participate.  

This event is open to EVERYONE, in every country and region.  You want to take part, awesome! Go ahead; on November 1, tweet, post on Facebook and/or blog. 

When I proposed Autistics Speaking Day, I merely thought that it'll be myself plus a couple of others participating.  However, it turns out that there are a lot of people who feel the same, and different names for it, from Autism ShoutOut! to our Autistics Speaking Day. 

The name for it doesn't matter.  This is a day that is supposed to be about spreading Autism Awareness, therefore it's OUR day.  It doesn't just belong to me, it belongs to all of us, and what matters is that we stand together to raise Autism awareness. 

As I've said before, I would like the day to acknowledge our difficulties, yes, but also share our strengths, our passions, our interests, our "obsessions", while being mindful of the subject matters, as some subjects are triggers for people. 

I'm not one for organizing this into an organized event; I'd rather this continue to be a very free-form event where people participate as they choose.  As for me? I'll be online, on my Twitter that goes to my Facebook.  I hope to post here as well, perhaps link to some of what I consider my best posts.

I will also be dedicating an hour of my Twittering for The Coffee Klatch at 2pm EST.  

If you'd like a little more organization, Kathryn Bjørnstad has set up a Facebook Events page for Autistics Speaking Day

Also, I believe the Autism Blog Directory is complying a list of Autistic blogs and participants, if you'd like to share with them. 

Thank you all very much for all your responses and support!!  I can't wait to hear you all on November 1st!


  1. Kathleen and I are looking forward to supporting our friends on the spectrum on November 1. :-)

  2. Hi Corina,

    My name is Marianne and I am one of the Communication Shutdown Team. I wanted to thank you for suggesting the Autistics Speaking Day. We really are so happy to see that you have been able to rally people in a productive way.

    We also believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and respect that even though our execution may be different, our intent to help people with autism is the same. By awareness (an often misused term), we are actually aiming to generate more understanding and acceptance for those on the spectrum. And if your supporters use this day to share their experiences, we would love to pass these on to further educate our supporters. With permission, we could feature their stories on our Facebook, Twitter, on our website and through press releases to the media.

    Also, in terms of donations, we understand that not all of our partners may be desirable for some of your supporters as they are run by parents and not people on the spectrum. e.g. some of the early intervention centers. So if you are interested, and would like to nominate suitable organizations, we would be happy to add them as a partner and make it possible for your supporters to donate funds to a specific group in their area. We really want to make a difference to worthy groups that unfortunately struggle to get sufficient funding.

    And just to clarify a few points, we understand these sites are important tools for people with autism so we are in no way suggesting that people with autism shutdown and be silent. We simply believe that if NT's (especially those who have no prior engagement with the autism community) go without the social networks they increasingly depend on, they will feel a sense of social disconnection which will encourage a greater understanding and empathy. We also see the badge as a sign of solidarity and hope that when NTs go quiet, autistic voices can be louder on Nov 1.

    So I can really see how both events can complement each other as we do seem to share the same goal. We just want to see positive action and avoid the negativity which really doesn't help anyone in the end.

    Anyway, thanks for reading and I very much look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Corina.

    I think your idea is fantastic.

    However the choice of words "since NTs are taking part in Communication Shutdown" is problematic.

    The fact is that the Comm Shutdown event is not an "NT" event because just as many "Auties" are participating in the Comm Shutdown event as "NTs".

    Secondly your blog is about celebrating neurodiversity which I think is fantastic, but I respectfully believe you do the ASD community a disservice by promulgating an "US" and "THEM" mentaility by using the term "NT" as a descriptor of a group of people. This seems contra to your underlying position you promote here on your blog.

    Just a couple of points for you to consider and made out of respect for your great contribution via this blog which I enjoy reading.

  4. Hi Marianne! Nice to see you back here.

    I'm pretty sure your comment on your methods of raising awareness and understanding for autism has been addressed in previous comments and previous posts. I highly suggest that you read them.

    As for my supports, I cannot presume to speak for them. If you want to highly and post their stories as a part of your event, you should probably ask them yourself.

    On the topic of the donations, it would perhaps be better if you asked autistics from the different countries themselves. I'm not providing an alternative donation list because I believe that autism awareness doesn't have to be about the money. I gladly raise autism awareness for its own sake.

    Other participants, however, have been compiling alternative lists. Perhaps you should ask them. I simply do not have the current resources to do your research for you.

    As for negativity, I think that you might have missed the part about sharing our strengths, passions, etc and defeat negative stereotypes. Which includes the one about Autistics being disconnecting and not communicating. I would rather people stay on social networks and talk to us to get an accurate understanding of autism than participate in an exercise that is based on assumptions and has the potential of generating pity.

    I for one don't want your pity. I want true understanding about what it's like to be me, and you can't get that by shutting me out.

  5. hi again ajt320,
    I'm tired, so I'm going to be a little more blunt than I usually am.

    It seems contradictory until you realize that NT stands for neurologically typical, which usually refers to non-autistics.
    My more prominent usage of it and the stronger "us and them" language, as you've put it, comes from the feelings that both myself and others have about Com Shutdown. In that we feel that we are being excluded.

    Thus, as the excluded, we have created our own event.

    As for your statement that auties are participating in Com Shutdown, that may be true. Other than random persons on twitter spamming my mentions, I haven't met anyone who actually is participating, and that includes NTs as well as Autistics.

    Either way, it still doesn't dismiss the fact that we feel that Com Shutdown is designed for persons not overly familiar with Autism, and thus excludes us.

  6. Thanks for the suggestions Corina. And sorry I realise it may have seemed like I was directing my comments solely at you, but I was also attempting to address the comments made by others on both posts. I was simply trying to involve you, not exclude you. So yes, we will be asking individuals if we can give their voices a greater reach and share their experiences. And to be fair, I never offered pity. Empathy and sympathy are very different and we have only ever aimed for empathy.

  7. Hi Marianne,

    It did seem like you were directing your comments to me, since you began your comment with "Hi Corina," which is usually used to be specific on whom you are addressing.

    The problem is about the pity, is that while you are trying to generate empathy, the method of which you are doing so is incomplete and does not provide sufficient knowledge for people to be able to emphasize with autistic people. Also, given the free-form direction, the exercise is not structured correctly to provide an accurate simulation to direct appropriate responses, thus creating a large probability of generating pity rather than empathy.

    It's pretty hard to have empathy for other people when you know very little about them, but easy to pity someone when all you know is that they struggle.

    Hence, why I proposed Autistics Speaking Day, to provide real information about autistics that's not based on assumptions and gives people a better understanding in order to build empathy.

  8. Hi, Corina!
    I'm with you 100%, gal, and ... uh-oh, I'm an autism mom. ;)

  9. Hi Brenda!! Glad to see you with us! Don't worry, you're allowed to support us :D

  10. In response to Corina's point, we hope to give our supporters a real understanding of autism by sharing with them, any of your positive experiences or challenges. If you would like to contribute, please email me at marianne.harvey@communicationshutdown.org

    Many thanks and hope you have a great Autistics Speaking Day.

  11. By the way, Corina, I don't have any account on facebook and Twitter, do you think I can use my blog?
    Maybe if I write a post, I can give you the link?

  12. Oups, in switzerland it's already the 1st of November, but I have to go to bed!

  13. @Old Ferme l'Oeil, yeah, sure!!! I have a post scheduled for 1am EST, or else link it here and I'll pass it along!

  14. There's an old proverb, shallow brooks are noisy

  15. and the squeaky wheel gets the greasy. So what's your point?

    I proposed ASday to raise autism awareness, and it worked. Over 400 autistic people contributed for it, sharing their thoughts, feelings and stories to people who might otherwise not have known. We had an ongoing discussion going for 24 hours on what it's like to be autistic, difficulties from childhood, difficulties in communicating, academics, how to access supports, how to get a diagnosis, sensory and stress issues and family relations.

    I slept soundly last night knowing that hundreds of my fellow autistics made a difference yesterday.

    What did you do to make the world a better place for autistic people?

  16. I blogged about what a crappy movement neurodiversity is and how we should work hard to find a cure for autism. The world would be a better place for autistics if the ND movement would just disband.

  17. For the sake of a civil discussion, I'm going to simply agree to disagree with you on the matter of a cure. However, I will point out that you are still very much mistaken about the Neurodiversity movement. It's not an organized movement, there are no appointed leaders, there is no membership, and so it can't be disbanded.

    The Neurodiversity movement is a movement of thought that there is a large diversity of human neurology, and that applies the disability rights movement to autism specifically. This means that we have human rights, including the right to education, supports, freedom to live where we chose, and freedom to practice religious beliefs.

    Even if your wanted cure to autism was feasible, you've said it yourself, it's very likely to not occur within your lifetime. So, what's the harm in ensuring that autistics have human rights?


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