watoto2bwetu2binitiative-3338637

Autism in Kenya: An Autistic Advocate’s Perspective

M. Kelter, Interviewer theinvisiblestrings.com Content note: mentions of restraint, ableism Netplus Kenya has been hosting an online series of moderated discussions in an effort to address high levels of stigma against people with disabilities there, stigma associated with long-standing cultural practices. This series is called the Watoto Wetu Initiative. It’s next installment is this Saturday, August 28th, and will feature autistic activist Karen Muriuki sharing perspective on the urgent need to minimize life-threatening stigmas so that families can begin improving outcomes and quality of life for autisic people and other vulnerable communities.  I communicated with Karen to ask about this speaking engagement and about the challenge of sharing information in areas where traditional beliefs define how many perceive and react to autistic differences. M: What is the main theme of this event and who is the audience these presentations are intended to reach? Karen: The event is about the need…

wemovetogether-9200854

We Move Together: A Review of a Wonderful Book on Disability

Cover of the book We Move Together [image: Book cover with an orange background. An illustration of the lower halves of five folks is at the top: A yellow guide dog, a person with brown skin using a cane, a person with brown skin standing with their hand on their hip, a person with white skin and crossed ankles standing with their hand on their hip, and a person with brown skin using a wheelchair.] Review by Kate Ryan We Move Together is a new picture book by a diverse team of authors (Kelly Fritsch, Anne McGuire, and Eduardo Trejos) who have come together to write a love letter to the disability community. It is, in a word, fantastic. It is empowering, it is interesting, it is understandable, it is relevant—I could go on all day about how much I love this book. Unfortunately, as I discovered to my dismay, it…

nasturtium_pansies-5360359

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…

20181113ericamilsom01-5677170

Welcoming Autism Into Pixar’s World: An Interview With Loop Director Erica Milsom

For people in under-represented communities—autistic people included—there is nothing quite like seeing “someone who moves like you” in mainstream storytelling. We talked with Pixar’s Erica Milsom, who wrote and directed the lyrical SparkShorts film Loop, about the importance of listening to people who actually inhabit the worlds creators want to bring to the screen, the power of storytelling and representation, why it matters that Loop’s autistic character Renee is both a girl and a person of color, and the importance of connection on a purely human level—especially between people who communicate or act differently from each other. Loop writer and director Erica Milsom. Photo courtesy Pixar. [image: A white woman with a silvery-gray bob and clear-framed glasses.] Content note: mention of children of color killed by police Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism: Erica, I just want to thank you so much for agreeing to this interview, and for the work…

anna-and-amanda-at-exhibit-at-main-library-9-1-17

Notes From Your Friendly Neighborhood Inclusionista

Shannon Des Roches Rosa twitter.com/shannonrosa I want to make this as friendly as possible, so I think it’s important to start by clarifying terms: Inclusion, my lovelies, is a real and basic human right, and it simply means autistic and other disabled people have the right to be out and about in the world, and not segregated or hidden away as used to be the default for their community members. Inclusion does not mean forcing people like my high-support autistic son to be in places they don’t want to be, that aren’t set up for them, or in which they aren’t welcome. But even when we embrace inclusion as a disability rights baseline, my son still doesn’t get to do all the things—but that’s because of accessibility barriers, not because inclusion itself is a flawed concept. Even though The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) installed accessibility as the law of our…

Disability and Inclusion Strategies During COVID-19

We recently co-hosted a webinar on Disability and Inclusion Strategies During COVID-19 with Magical Bridge foundation, to address some of the issues disabled and autistic people and their families are struggling with right now. Jill Asher from Magical Bridge moderated, TPGA’s senior editor Shanon Rosa ran the questions, and our panelists were three disabled parents of chidren with disabilities: Our own editor Carol Greenburg, and disability consultants Anne Cohen and Deborah Vick. We hope this is the first of many useful sessions! Video and full transcript below. Jill Asher: Hi everyone. Good morning, or good afternoon wherever you are. My name is Jill Asher. I’m the executive director and co-founder of Magical Bridge. We are so incredibly grateful to have you join us today as we discuss disability and inclusive strategies during COVID-19. We hope everyone is safe and health and sheltering in place right now, wherever you are. A…

24488743-elementary-pupils-in-geography-class-with-teacher

An Inclusionist’s Manifesto

Photo © Mundial Perspectives | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: A white teacher with shoulder-length straight dark brown hair holding up a globe to a group of young students of varied races, several of whom are raising their hands, all of whom are seen from behind.] Tim Villegas www.thinkinclusive.us I spend a lot of time thinking about inclusion. Most of this energy is spent coming up with ways to explain inclusive education clearly and succinctly so that everyone understands what it is and why it is essential. Because, to me, it is one of the most crucial things we can do for students (disabled or non-disabled). Here’s the challenge. You probably already have thoughts and opinions about inclusion. Maybe you have already decided that the cognitive difficulties or level of autism your child has, would not be appropriate in a general education classroom. Perhaps you have a notion that inclusion…