Tag Archives: TASH

Autism and Human Rights

Peyton Goddard gave the keynote address at the 2013 TASH Conference in Chicago on December 11th, 2013.

You can watch, hear and read a transcript of her speech ‘here‘.  Peyton does not speak, but instead types to communicate.  I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the TASH Conference and hear her speech.

“Understated and devalued, I was segregated and secluded, walled-in for controlling decades, and repeatedly traumatized by bullying abusers.”

Peyton describes her existence prior to learning how to communicate through typing.

“I’m less. I’m freak. I’m throwaway trash. Daily, for decades, I try but cannot be the person you want me to be.”

“Your answer was to fix me, to change me to be what you feared not. To cure me of being ME. I reply that YOU were less than I needed.”

Read that again – “I reply that YOU were less than I needed.”

“Segregation is the beast whose bite cheats us all. The isolation of people different renders you and me strangers. Reality is that you are me and I am you.”

At the crux of any prejudice is the idea that “I” am different, separate and, ultimately “superior”.  To live with this delusion, we must keep ourselves apart from those we believe “inferior”.  If we live together, in a world that embraces all humans, we lose our superior/inferior status.  This is the world I strive and hope for.  This is the world I want my children to inhabit.

*For more of Peyton’s wisdom, read her book, I am intelligent.  I interviewed Peyton and Dianne for the Huffington Post.  You can read that interview ‘here‘.

Peyton and Dianne Goddard ~ TASH 2013

Peyton and Dianne Goddard ~ TASH 2013

The Conversation That Isn’t

The biggest problem with the conversation regarding autism and Autistic people is that it is largely had without the inclusion of those who are being discussed.  When Autistic people attempt to join the conversation they are often told – the very fact you can speak removes you from the conversation because you are not representative of those who cannot and those who cannot speak are believed to have little if nothing to say.

When someone who is Autistic and does not speak, types to communicate, they are often discounted as not really being able to type, even when they are able to do so independently.  One of the many google search terms that come up repeatedly, leading people to this blog is “Carly Fleischmann fake.”  I continue to find people’s adamant disbelief, even when shown clear evidence of ability, baffling.    For those who do not know who Carly Fleischmann is, please go to her website and Facebook page.  She is a non speaking Autistic teenager who defies all the stereotypes about what it means to be non speaking and Autistic.  People insist that she is an anomaly, but go to a conference like TASH, Autcom, the ICI Conference or go to the resources page on this blog and read the many blogs and written works by non speaking Autistic people and you will quickly see that not only is Carly not a “fake” or a “hoax”, she is not an anomaly; she is in good company and one of many.

“…. a tendency among professionals to band together when their expertise is challenged and to deny resolutely the existence of evidence which, if admitted, would force a reevaluation of established practice.” ~ Speechless by Rosemary Crossley

Rosemary Crossley on the topic of IQ tests, writes, “Tests of intelligence purport to assess how well you take information in, and what you are able to do with it, on the basis of what comes out.  If nothing quantifiable comes out you are untestable.”  She then goes on to say, “What is surprising is that the results are assumed to reflect what the child and teenager are thinking and what they are able to learn, and are used as a basis of making decisions about their futures.

So we continue to have a conversation about Autistic people, yet when those who can speak do so, they are discounted as not representative of those who cannot, and when those who cannot speak, type, they are doubted, believed to be a hoax or an anomaly and not representative of others who share their inability to speak.

Does anyone else see a problem with all of this?  Anyone?

Me and Em at the ICI Conference in July, 2013

Me & Em