Speaking out and Educating On Behalf of Autism

Friendships are something our children do want and our children do need. In fact I would even postulate that it is something all on the autism spectrum need or there wouldn’t be that outpouring of attention to social media and Internet interaction that makes the lives of so many on the spectrum so much better. I also don’t think that stopping social media for one day will teach the neurotypical world what it is like to have autism and what it is to be isolated and alone.

The truth of the matter is for neurotypicals if they don’t have social media they can just go out their front door and easily start up conversations or speak to a friend. Autistics don’t necessarily have that option. I think the analogy would be if there was a day for physical handicap awareness. The amputee gives up his prosthesis for a day to teach the ablebodied what it is like to live without a limb. But the ablebodied still has all their appendages, the only one who can’t walk or feed themselves is the disabled individual. Nary a person learns a thing and the physically handicapped is punished. It quite frankly is a dumb idea. For November 1 to be a success in any way shape or form, unless you are the charity hawking your idea of course, then every NT would have to sit alone in a room without any human contact what so ever. That is just not going to happen.

By the way, I for one will NOT be participating on that day (as if you couldn’t tell by now). I will be using social media as I do every day to try to educate people around me to understand autism and what our children feel. As far as I am concerned it makes no sense. Having been also very isolated when my children were very little, there was no social media, support groups and outlets for parents of special needs children, I know what it is to be so very alone and quite frankly I will not go back there again.

I know and understand the chasm of loneliness and separateness from society and have neither need nor use for it, for any purpose. The only thing to come out of isolation is selfdestruction.  It does no good to turn off your connection to the world. Isolation, even for the shortest amount of time, creates depression and if someone is very fragile even the smallest amount of depression can be devastating. I think to turn off your life is foolish and not well thought out at all. The truth is what should be happening is an outreach not a shutoff.

I also have yet to hear of any large push among neurotypicals to isolate themselves. Oh yeah some celebrities want to get on the autism bandwagon, heaven forbid they get left behind, bad publicity there. Some proudly announce to the world that they gave $5 for autism. I am so glad that these celebrities could part with so much money to help our cause. The sad thing is that only ones who seem to pushing this idea are the very people who know about isolation and they are members of the autism community. No offense too, but just because some world renown autism advocates think its a good idea doesn’t mean they are right either. They only know their perspective and their perspective alone. They do not speak for everyone. I am quite capable of making my own decisions for my children. I don’t need their blessing anymore than I need the blessing of the psychiatrist who keeps telling me that collegeman should go for vocational training instead of law school like he wants (that, of course,is a post for another day and it will be a doozie).You also teach nothing by removing yourself from society.  

I also have no patience for cheap promotional gimmicks. I don’t need a special button showing the world how wonderful I am because I gave $5 for autism. I give to autism every waking moment of my life apart from what comes out of my bank account, and that amount is my business alone. I do not need kudos from the world. You also don’t need a “day” to give to an autism charity or any charity. Just open your damn bankbook and give something.

Meanwhile come November 1, I will be on twitter as usual and on facebook. If anyone needs help or an answer to a question, or a virtual HUG, I will be there just like every other day.

Join us @TheCoffeeKlatch for a 24 hour Educate for Autism event. No one has a right to silence us and no one is going to. Join #AutisticsSpeakingDay on twitter.

“Are you aware of what Autism is? 1 out of 110 kids are. Monday November 1st is a day of awareness for Autism. Some people will be shutting down their computers in an effort to express the frustration due to lack of communication skills by many on the spectrum. We commend their effort. Others, like The Coffee Klatch will be speaking out and speaking loudly in a 24 hour interactive forum on Twitter. The Event is called “Communicate to Educate – Speak out and Speak Loudly” The event is to be moderated by prominent people in the autism community who will be sharing their experiences, resources and incredible knowledge. We in the special needs community know to well the disorder known as Autism – it is those that do not that we hope will take a few minutes of their day and join us. With 1 in 110 kids diagnosed with Autism – almost every family will be impacted by the disorder with someone they know or love – come and be educated – meet some great people and say hello.

Go to ; let it access your twitter account; put your refresher button down to 5 seconds; join in the chat; bring ideas, thoughts, musings and information. Share and educate. From Monday 9am thru Tuesday 9am.

See you Monday.
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Elise Ronan
The purpose of this blog is to document the practical and realistic approach taken over the decades to help our two sons grow, and develop in order become all that they are entitled to become as human beings.
Elise Ronan

Elise Ronan

The purpose of this blog is to document the practical and realistic approach taken over the decades to help our two sons grow, and develop in order become all that they are entitled to become as human beings.

0 thoughts on “Speaking out and Educating On Behalf of Autism

  • I agree with Springingtiger & aspergers2mom, as an autistic (lost/regained speech as little kid) adult — no offense intended to any parents that disagree! 

    I’m reasonably sure both of my parents are autistic, and they say I communicated even when I couldn’t speak, primarily with my eyes and actions; while my non-autistic ex couldn’t read me at all, the autistic I dated had no problem.  So the idea of emulating auties by not communicating feels similar to deciding that because I only know English, I can imagine what it’s like to be an immigrant by speaking nonsense words nobody can understand.

  • Personally I agree with aspergers2mom and I can’t see the point in shutting down for the day. I am sure the idea is well intentioned and not supposed to be condescending. The Coffee Klatch lineup for the day looks great full of people I respect, sadly I haven’t joined it because try as I may I find the forum impossible to follow.

  • As with everything else in the Autism community there is division as to what is best, perhaps the reason is in the diversity of the disorder itself. I am the founder of The Coffee Klatch and respect the opinions of all. There is validity to any attempt to raise awareness for Autism and I respect and welcome all and wish the “Shut Down” campaign much success. It is our position, based on the wishes of the many adults on the spectrum, advocates and parents who have reached out to us ,as well as our own personal opinions that shutting down communication is not the answer. I actually feel that the “Shut Down” effort is in large population doing quite the opposite, encouraging those with a voice in Autism to speak even louder. My goal is to encourage those who truly want to understand the challenges and struggles as well as the incredible brilliance and gifts of Autism to be educated by the the best advocates, experts, authors, therapy providers, parents and most importantly those on the spectrum, to come together in one place for an entire day to “Communicate” I am very proud of the overwhelming response to our invitations to those to be Guest Moderators. The line up is impressive. We have chosen to do the event totally on Twitter verses our Blog Talk Radio to ensure that everyone has a chance to interact. With education will come compassion and acceptance – It’s time. In the end we all have the same goal – to raise awareness. And on November 1st 2010 whether you shut down or shout out – we will all be working towards that goal. ~ Marianne


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