The Great Chicago TASH Adventure

I am sitting now in the airport, awaiting my flight home to Vancouver via Portland.

It is a welcomed quiet; an empty space to pull together my thinking and reflect upon the many ways I have been nudged and influenced this week. I have a few hours before I hit the busyness of home and work to consider the impact of my experience.

I was in Chicago for almost a week – presenting at and attending the National TASH Conference. I have had amazing conversations about ableism, inclusion, communication, dissent, advocacy, self-determination, access, neurodiversity, activism, and the disabilities rights movement and more…

I met, hung out, and conversed with people whom I greatly admire: Ibby Anderson Grace (of Tiny Grace Notes (AKA Ask an Autistic) and one of the Chicago based organizers of the TASH Conference), Ariane Zurcher (of Emma’s Hope Book), fabulous Autistic activists like Zach Richter and Emily Titon (contributor at Disability Right Now: About us, not without us), and long-time disabilities rights activist, Corbett O’Toole.

These conversations have impacted me and I now must consider things from different angles; I can see new ways to shift my language, and to continue to take action over issues of social justice! It will be hard to leave behind the camaraderie of being with this community – and the Micro TASH events that grew out of our grassroots connections… but I am grateful for theses people and my passion is kindled anew!

I want to tell the full story of this experience – let it all drip out of my fingers to be captured on my computer – but there is too much to recount – and I don’t want to become immobilized by the impossibility of this task.

I took more taxi rides in this short time that I have probably taken in the last 15 years. I was besotted with Ariane and Ibby for reasons – too many to count – but feel I must share my admiration for their bravery in stepping into the street to hail a cab. Much to their amusement, I watched and snapped photos tourist-style from the safety of the curb.

hailingacab.jpgI was present for Peyton Goddard’s opening address. Here are my visual notes:

PeytonGoddardnotes1.jpgAnd, for those who might be interested, here is a link to Peyton’s site which has the recording of her speech:

And… I have doodled a bit more on the long trip home… once again taking in the quotes from Peyton’s address that are embedded in the image. I was also thinking about Zach’s words to me that doodling is a creative and generative stim. I love that!

PeytonGoddoardBW.jpgI attended a presentation by Tracy Thresher, Larry Bissonette and Sue Ruben and was finally – finally –  able to purchase a copy of the film Wretches and Jabberers.

Ibby, Ariane, and I presented in a panel discussion: Autistics, Friends, Family and Educators: An Interactive Panel on Relationships and Multimedia.

Here is a cool view from behind the presentation table as people were still filing in:

behindthepresentorstable.jpgAnd too… there was the hanging out and socializing and late night conversations… and new connections with people I hadn’t expected to meet. I will likely have more to write… but just a little later… Consider this to be Part One!

This post is part of the T-21 blog hop. Please click on the linked image below to visit other participating blogs:


30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

©Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2013)

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
This entry was posted in ableism, Activist, Autism, diversity, Neurodiversity, perspective of others, Social Hangover, Visual Notes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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