It's Time to Take Back April! Autism Acceptance Day and Month. 2017: Two events- April 16-30, going on NOW at https://www.facebook.com/events/791509497664189/, and first half of the month event here: and https://www.facebook.com/events/228087247600054/ ACCEPTANCE, not "tolerance," not "I accept you but not your autism."
My name is Kiley Quinn. I am thirty-two
years old and am active in a number of autism groups in the Portland,
Oregon area and a few international online groups.
What is your life like as an Autistic
My life has changed considerably since
diagnosis. In the past I was quite anxious and kept to myself. Since
diagnosis, I've learned to listen to my body and use sunglasses and
ear plugs when necessary and have gained considerable
self-confidence. I've even been able to do public speaking, which
made me physically ill when I was younger. I find that the more odd
in appearance I am (i.e. not trying to “pass”) the less likely I
am to fall into the “uncanny valley” of behavior that is just NT
enough to be off putting to people.
What is the most difficult about being Autistic, for you?
People are so unpredictable. I can
accept the randomness of things like sensory environments and the
weather and prepare for them, but the randomness of people's
moods continues to surprise me. The good thing about this
randomness is that people are also unexpectedly kind.
What is the most joyful, fun, exciting
thing about being Autistic?
Each special interest is as wonderful
and exciting as falling in love. I am currently passionate
about drawing, playing string instruments, and my favorite TV shows.
How has the Autism Acceptance
Day/Month effort over the past three years affected you personally?
Autism Acceptance Month is bittersweet
to me. I feel some resentment for the way things used to be in the
world when I was growing up. I feel happy about the improved
awareness, and I feel highly motivated to work hard to increase
acceptance, particularly when I come across the (thankfully
decreasing) percentage of parents and educators who are resentful
about autistic children and the challenges they face.
What is one thing about acceptance that
would make a difference in the world?
I would most like to see more
respect for different communication styles, verbal or computer
augmented, and awareness that there are many different types of
intelligence and skills that are not visible at first glance. Even
the most severely impaired person is special in some way and can find
something to be passionate about with a little help from others.
Do you have children or other family
members who are Autistic?
We are all autistic in my household. I
long suspected my husband was autistic before I realized I was. He is
quite blunt with flat affect and has a classic engineer personality
type. The official diagnosis cycle began with my oldest daughter,
followed by myself and my younger daughter. The beginning of my
parenting experience was rocky, with health problems and a lot of
dysregulation on my part. I have challenged myself considerably to
meet my children's needs. The more I learn about my girls, the more I
learn about myself, and I hope to use what I've learned to help
others. Kiley blogs at neurodiver.blogspot.comCheck back for her posts since her blog is relatively new. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Kiley. :)