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Austism Retreat for Christian Households
Thanks TenXMom... that's not bad! I also had someone suggest CMAC (Christian Mom's of Autistic Children). Still pondering!
This paper is about how many high functioning autistic people are trying to
make their own dreams a reality today.
I am an adult with a diagnosis of high-functioning autism. I have now been
active in the autism self-advocacy movement for about four years, gradually
growing in this world. I sometimes write papers like this one or give lectures, and
I am happy to provide my inside experiences and insights for those who find
them useful. I also run an Internet-based support group for people like myself,
namely those on the autistic spectrum, and it makes me extremely happy to
realise that the group helps people and enables to people who help
themselves. It is also the best self-help I could have wished for; the contact and
friendship I have with my autistic peers is immensely valuable to me.
It appears that providing such, and similar, things causes many people to
respect and appreciate me in a certain way. Parents look to me for advice
about their autistic children and I am happy to help if I can. But sometimes,
parents expect instant expertise from me because I am supposed to know
everything about autism - after all, I live it. But the most I can offer is the
personal experience and insight of just one person - me - completed with what
I've heard from the many others I've met. That does not make me an
authoritative expert on autism (as if anyone really is, with everything that still
needs to be researched). I do not provide definitive answers; at best I provide
leads so that you can find the answers yourself. This paper should be read in
The paper starts off with a history of the autism self-advocacy movement
including pioneer organisations such as Autism Network International (ANI) as
well as an overview of autism self-advocacy initiatives currently being set forth
around the world. There exist parallels between these initiatives and the larger
Disability Pride (e.g. deaf community) and Psychiatric Survivors movements. The
autistic community stands with one leg in each of these two movements and is
not succeeding in taking much advantage of either. As a result, autistic culture
today is largely where deaf culture was a century ago.
The Internet is for many high functioning autistics what sign language is for the
deaf. I will describe my Internet support group (Independent Living on the
Autistic Spectrum) and will list some key insights this group's members have
brought forth over the years, as an illustration of the effectiveness of the
Internet as a communication tool for autistic people.
Then, from my experience both in having a relationship with another
autism-spectrum person and in having extensive contacts in the autistic
community, I will theorise about both similarities and fundamental differences
between autistic interaction and "neuro-typical" interaction.
The paper concludes with a vision of the future - what an Autistic Utopia might
look like, which will never be achieved but provides clues as to which direction
to work towards.
A word about the term "autism" - The autism spectrum covers a wide range of
diagnoses and a wide variety of individual makeup. The word "autism" is often
reserved for the most severe forms of handicaps within the spectrum, whereas
so-called milder forms are designated with the terms Asperger's syndrome or
PDD-NOS. In my opinion, the terminology and the distinctions between the
different terms are arbitrary. It is also cumbersome to have to distinguish
between all the categories in a paper like this one. Therefore, in this paper, the
word "autism" means the entire autism spectrum, and people who are "autistic"
might as well have a diagnosis of Asperger's or PDD-NOS.
This author also does not subscribe to the concept of person-first language as
it pertains to autistic people, because most autistic adults report that the
condition affects their entire being, and therefore they would be someone
completely different if they were not autistic. Autism is not an appendage, but
an inseparable part of a person's makeup (note 1).
A note about the author's first name: it is indeed spelt Martijn. This Dutch male
first name rhymes with "fine" and "sign".
Introduction: establishing autistic culture through self-advocacy
Culture requires self-advocacy
As will be shown later in this paper, a culture and community for people on the
autistic spectrum is still in the process of being established, currently lagging
way behind other disability cultures. The movement did not really get off the
ground until the Internet became widely available, as the Internet is essential in
the facilitation of communication between adults on the autistic spectrum (note
The closest I could get is:
Christian Autism Understanding Support & Education
free weekly dinner menus, recipes, & grocery list
Crystal... thanks for that great name idea! Not bad at all!
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