November 1, 2010

Use your words

Today is the "Communication Shutdown," a day in which many have agreed to stay off Twitter and Facebook to support people with autism. The idea is to limit our communication, to support the many people with autism who have trouble communicating every day. I learned about this on Facebook a couple weeks ago, and it sounded like a good idea.

Then I read a post called The Autism ShoutOut! by Sunday Stilwell at Adventures in Extreme Parenthood. Sunday is a wonderful blogger who is also in the autism parenting jungle. She explains why she is not participating in the shutdown, instead choosing to use the opportunity to promote autism awareness. I thought that sounded like a good idea, maybe even a better idea. But I hadn't really decided until I read John Elder Robison, Aspergian and autism advocate, on Facebook this morning:
There are two communities today: Autistics Speaking, and Silence for Autism. I don't understand why two groups propose opposite actions on the same day. Speaking favors spectrumites who CAN speak for themselves. I'm all for that. At the same time, I do everything I can to promote research that will help our autistic population who CAN'T speak, today, or any day. In doing that, I believe I support both groups.
I responded:
They are on the same day because one was in reaction to the other. Like you, I support all groups of people on the spectrum. But today, I am not quiet because my goal for my son is communication (spoken, signed, or otherwise). And, when he cannot speak for himself, I will do my best to speak for him.
So today, I am not quiet. I am thankful that I have the power of my voice to help my son find his. I hope that I can use my words to support others who are raising and teaching children with autism.

Last year, Eric Duquette graduated from high school as salutatorian. He has autism, and his speech has been an inspriation to many. Duquette said, "Daniel Webster wrote that 'if my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest....For me, learning to communicate did mean regaining all the rest."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments! Respectful disagreement always encouraged.


Related Posts with Thumbnails