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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Nick Walker

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’re featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with Autistic scholar, educator, and aikido teacher Nick Walker. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? Generally, the first thing I like people to know about me is that my wife and I run a lovely aikido dojo called Aikido Shusekai, in Berkeley, California, with a very sweet and friendly bunch of students. I like people to know this about me because my wife has pointed out to me that the more people know about the dojo, the more likely it is that potential aikido students will hear about us and come train with us. This makes sense to me. My wife is wise. Also beautiful. I like people to know…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Tom Stratton

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’re featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with high school student Tom Stratton. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? I try to enjoy things and see everything from the brighter side. When I like something, like a topic or a hobby, I love it and when I talk about it or do it, I reach a level of happiness that is amazing. People tend to see me as a laid back type B person and a joker, mostly because I tend to joke around in school and with my friends. I like to be the center of attention and I’ve learned that by making people laugh is the best way to stand out. But I’m actually more…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Jack and Jean

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’re featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic parent advocate Jean Winegardner and her autistic son Jack. Please read, listen, and share. Note from Jean: “I told Jack (he’s almost 11 years old) about Autism Acceptance Month and explained that some people wanted me to interview him about his autism to publish on a website. He was totally on board and even went so far as to dictating the punctuation I typed as he answered. In case you couldn’t figure it out, he’s super into cats these days.” What are some things you like people to know about you? I love cats. And I think they are cute. What are some things that make you happy? Well, I was thinking about kittens and they make me…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Lynne Soraya

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’re featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic advocate Lynne Soraya. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? I always struggle with these types of questions. I am an adult woman on the autism spectrum. Evenings and weekends, I am a blogger for Psychology Today. I am the author of a book for teenagers and young adults on the spectrum called Living Independently on the Autism Spectrum. By day, I work for a Fortune 500 company in the midwest.  I am married and have three grown stepsons. They are all neurotypical. What are some things that make you happy? Why? I love music. It’s a legacy from my father’s side of the family. My paternal grandmother was…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Dani Alexis

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’ll be featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic advocate Dani Alexis. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? I’m currently a graduate student in English at Western Michigan University, researching what I’m calling broadly “autism literature, narrative, and discourse.” So far, that has meant everything from analyzing the poetic elements of literature by autistic writers to looking at the terrible mismatch between what we say publicly about ourselves and what is said publicly about us. When I’m not at school, I’m usually enjoying time with my husband and our two very spoiled cats and blogging at danialexis.net. What are some things that make you happy? Why? Figure skating, which feels like complete mental and physical freedom…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Olley Edwards

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’ll be featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic advocate and parent Olley Edwards. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? I am a undiagnosed Autistic UK woman, not undiagnosed due to lack of symptoms or cringe-worthy and naive experiences but undiagnosed due to lack of awareness of gender differences in autism traits by the doctor I saw at that time. I work to raise awareness of gender based traits of AS and support diagnosed and undiagnosed AS (autism spectrum) females and their families. I do this by making short films, writing books, attending talks, and public speaking. I am a single mum of three daughters: ages fifteen, eleven, and six. My eldest is neurotypical, eleven year…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Renée Salas

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’ll be featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic advocate and parent Renée Salas. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? I am Autistic, married and the parent of three awesomely Neurodivergent kids! I am a disability rights activist, author of Black and White: A Colorful Look at Life on the Autism Spectrum, blogger at srsalas.com, writer for Autism Parenting Magazine and contributor to other disability-related resources. I am a graduate of the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities Partners in Policymaking program, and the Community Liaison for the College of William and Mary Neurodiversity Working Group. What are some things that make you happy? Why?  My kids. They have made my life infinitely better and I’m…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Cynthia Kim

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’ll be featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic advocate Cynthia Kim. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? That I’m a pretty average person. That I need a lot of time alone. That I write mainly for myself, but I’m always thrilled when someone says that they’re able to relate to something I’ve written or that it’s been helpful to them. That I love to laugh and under the right conditions I can be fun and easy going and spontaneous. Oh, and I have a blog: musingsofanaspie.com. What are some things that make you happy? Why? Things organized neatly. Serendipitous patterns. Graffiti on freight trains. The way my dog gets so excited when I say we’re…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Star Ford & the Ocate Cliffs Project

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’ll be featuring their answers all April long, right here. Please read, listen, and share. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic advocate Star Ford. Star is the program manager of Ócate Cliffs, a planned mountain retreat for groups of 20-60, located near Ócate, New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo mountains. A group of autistic people are building this retreat center from the ground up.  What was the inspiration for Ócate Cliffs? It ties together many threads in my life from separate origins. A huge one is the experience of being in autistic space and other retreat settings, including Autreat, where I felt incredibly whole and accepted instead of broken and stressed. Other inspirations are my love of the mountains and environmental issues, as well as architecture and building. What is the mission…

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Autism Acceptance Month 2014: Chloe Rothschild

This month we’re asking our autistic community members What Do You Want? What Do You Need? We’ll be featuring their answers all April long, right here. Today we’re having a conversation with autistic advocate Chloe Rothschild. Please read, listen, and share. What are some things you like people to know about you? I have a smile that can brighten a room. I’m a hard worker, creative and fun to be with. Please presume competence and give me a chance. I’m very capable. What are some things that make you happy? Why? Disney, being with my friends, being with my family, and autism conferences make me happy. Autism conferences make me happy because I enjoy seeing my autism community friends that I usually only see at conferences. I feel a special connection when I’m talking and spending time at conferences with my friends and mentors who have autism. I love spending…