A photo of Jordyn Zimmerman, a smiling white woman with long curly brown hair.

Jordyn Zimmerman on This Is Not About Me, a Remarkable New Film

[image: a photo of Jordyn Zimmerman, a smiling white woman with long curly brown hair.] Jordyn Zimmerman is the subject of the phenomenal new documentary This Is Not About Me. Her story is one example of the difficulties non-speaking autistic people endure when they aren’t given appropriate communication options—and also how they can blossom when communication becomes possible. We interviewed Jordyn via email to talk about themes from the new film, as well as her own experiences and hopes. You can watch the This is Not About Me trailer, and rent the film, at thisisnotaboutme.film. Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA): You are now pursuing a Master’s degree. Can you talk about why you chose this educational path, and your career goal? Jordyn Zimmerman (JZ): As you see in the film, I had many experiences which made me who I am today. I want to change the system so students do…

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The First Tendrils of Communication

Photo © Shannon Des Roches Rosa [image: Orange and purple flowers among green leaves.] Cal Montgomery montgomerycal.wordpress.com twitter.com/Cal__Montgomery For Mel Baggs and Phil Smith, who knew, and know, communion with the wild places better than I can imagine. Do you remember how you learned to communicate? If you communicate pretty typically, odds are it wasn’t perfect, but it included something like: you reached out socially, and people reached back. You looked at them; they gazed adoringly back at you. You smiled; they smiled back and waved. “Hi, Baby! Hi! Oh, what a beautiful face!” You laughed; they reveled in your chortles and giggles and were silly in the hope that you would laugh again. You cried; they held you and comforted you and tried to figure out what was making you miserable. You called out at night; they pulled themselves out of exhausted slumber, scooped you up, and blearily cuddled…