This past week was the marking of the third year of this blog… no fanfare needed… because there is so much work that needs to be done.
And I am busy – so busy – with working at my wonderful job as a special education teacher – with parenting my spectacular son, H (now 15) and my fabulous daughter, Nika (now almost 21 and winding up her 3rd year of university).
I am busy with connecting and hanging out with Craig the Amazing – and so appreciative of this man’s endless support of my sometimes harebrained schemes – and his patience and encouragement and faith while I work to make lofty goals and dreams a reality. And… if that wasn’t enough… he laughs at my jokes! So yes, I am blessed to have the prefect husband!
This week I am also busy preparing my presentation as a part of the Autism Strand on Supporting Transition to Adulthood for the CEC Conference (Council for Exceptional Children) in Philadelphia on April 9th – 12th. So – once again I find myself with much too much to do – but honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way!
When I consider this journey and my own work to bring about change, I am also grateful to the community of Autistic people and wider neurodivergent and disability communities, and the educators and parents and others who are working to support them.
And this has me considering activism – because there are these moments that are incredible highs: there are some shining moments – some real wins as a community.
And there are also real lows: times when it is not glamorous – or exciting – when it feels like it is one step forward and two steps back. There are times when I am discouraged – and I wonder at the loftiness of these goals to build support and acceptance for neurodiversity and well – to make the world a better place.
There are moments when I question if I am jousting at windmills Quixote-style and I wonder if this work is fruitless…
I think there may be times when we all feel that way…
But what I am coming to see is that it is the maintaining of the goal through those doldrumesque moments the clinging to a vision that things can be different that is critical in these times.
This is not hard when we are riding the wave of a new plan – or reveling in the high of a recent success…
But change is slow and activism is not easy… and it is important to consider how we maintain ourselves in the non-glamorous slogging of hard work and the seemingly endless perseverance that is required.
I will continue to look for ways to nourish and take care of myself and my friends and family and those within our community as we continue on. I am grateful to those who are encouraging and looking out for me (and others) as well, like my friend Corbett O’Toole, who would remind us all that activism alone is really hard and activism with others makes it so much more fun and supportive and silly and sing-y and… well, sustainable…
My Plan A is to remember that Acceptance is an action word and that activism is hard work… and that even little steps are a part of maintaining the trajectory of change.
My Plan B is to stick to Plan A, because I am committed to Social Justice and the future of my son.
And frankly… there is no Plan B
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 (2014)
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