Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Interview with Susan Elizabeth Spann- Autism Acceptance

I am interviewing Susan Elizabeth Spann, age 34. Hi Susan, Thank you for your interest in doing the interview. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a puppeteer, artist, musician, and have a cat and a dog whom I love very much. I am learning sign language, love movies and music and play several instruments. 

What is your life like as an Autistic person? 

As an autistic person, I find social situations to be challenging and I also deal with sensory overload issues. But other than that, I am just like anyone else, except that I have an immune deficiency and ADHD as well.

What is the most difficult thing about being Autistic, for you? 

The most difficult thing about autism is when people who find out use the label against me as an excuse to exclude me from church or something. Also the social challenges and sensory issues. Oh, and being diagnosed as an adult which makes it harder to find therapy and services I need and to get them covered. 

I am really against the idea of excluding people from church, since I am a church organist and choir director! Of course, other types of exclusion are not good, either, but that one stood out to me.

What is the most joyful, fun, exciting thing about being Autistic? 

I am creative, loyal, think in pictures, loving, fun, and most of all, REAL!! I graduated from college with honors. I didn't know I had autism at that time. I think it helps me be more inspiring.

Congratulations! So,  how has the Autism Acceptance Day/Month effort over the past three years affected you personally? If you were not aware of it until recently, what meaning does Autism Acceptance Day/Month have to you now?

I wasn't aware of it before. I am glad it exists because I need more positive influences and stories more now than ever. I hope I can be just as encouraging too. 

What is one thing about acceptance that would make a difference in the world? 

Acceptance would mean safe churches, safe colleges, safe schools, safe jobs, safe world.

I agree about that. Acceptance does = safety, or is a move in the right direction. Thank you for doing the interview, and best wishes for all your future plans.