So many things have happened during the last week. H and I have had amazing adventures and the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people in Disabilites and Neurodivergent and Autistic communities. The lovely and effervescent Cara Liebowitz is one of those fabulous people, and she has given me permission to publish her words here:
As I leave DC, I reflect on the things I learned at TASH. In no particular order:
1) The combination of the loud volume of my voice, the particular cadence of my voice, and my New York accent make my voice extremely recognizable, which is handy for my faceblind friends.
2) Neurodiverse young people are the best. Particularly Emma and H. I think a youth caucus should be started at TASH. Also, I am saddened that in many circles, I am no longer considered a youth.
3) This may be the most important one: I am more comfortable, many times, with neurodiverse people of all variations than I am with other CPers. At TASH, no one told me that the way I talk or the way I move/express excitement or fatigue was wrong. No one told me I was too loud, no one told me I was interrupting, and no one told me I needed to shut up, except in the very very nicest of ways when it was absolutely necessary. That means a lot.
4) Related to that, flap!clapping is the best thing ever and I love that everyone has their own unique way of doing it. My version is particularly spazzy and often involves my entire body.
5) The Social Model of Disability in Education panel with Ibby, Leah, and H brought me to tears in a good way. It felt like it was my entire life and all my experiences wrapped up and put in a panel. I hope that H’s “Dear Teacher” piece will be posted online so I can send it to all my teachery friends!
6) Leah’s demonstration of shoe tying during dinner was, I think, the highlight of many people’s TASH experiences.
7) I would pay a very large sum of money to have Ibby as a professor.
8) Emma is a future pop star. She’s even got the moves.
9) Interdependence is a reality, and a wonderful one. I saw so many people helping each other and understanding each other’s access needs.
10) On the flip side, TASH and the hotel themselves were shit with accessibility of all kinds.
11) Ibby and Kerima are tied for the people in my life who give the best hugs.
12) I am now the proud owner of a beautiful wand, thanks to H. My goal is to make a cosplay outfit specifically so I can show off my wand. Neurodivergent geeks unite!
Please be sure to check out Cara’s blog That Crazy Crippled Chick ♥
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)