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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…

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You Can’t Have Neurodiversity Without People With Intellectual Disabilities

How The Self Advocacy Movement Is Integral to the Success of the Neurodiversity Movement Ivanova Smith. Photo courtesy author. [image: A Latvian-American person with short dark hair and glasses. They are smiling and posing near a house on a shoreline, at dusk.] Ivanova Smith @lauralovesian1 With all the anti-neurodiversity stuff going around right now, I’m going say this: Intellectually disabled (ID) Autistics have been left out, that is true. But how? When people want to take away forms of communication like Facilitated Communication (FC) and Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), which is what anti-neurodiversity people want, that is is a form of silencing. That is how autistics with ID have been left, out because their form of communication has not been respected! Saying AAC users’ communication is not real and is fake is what is really silencing people. By not supporting behavior as communication, that is how people are being silenced. By…

Autonomy First! Accessing Good Supports Without Sacrificing Your Independence

Spectrum Disordered www.facebook.com/asdisordered We’ve all heard or experienced horror stories about accessing services and supports. Often the idea of receiving services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), including autism, conjures up images of institutions—visions of Willowbrook. Or, ideas of what is “optimal” for us look like segregated lives, or “intentional” communities where the true intent is to lump us together under the guise of “keeping us safe.” Regularly, the idea of seeking supports to live in one’s daily life carries an expectation that the cost will be any and all independence and autonomy in having positive control over that life. These fears are rooted in fact and truth, both of how things were and in some cases, continue to be. But that does not mean they are a universal truth! There are a lot of really great disability support providers out there! Unfortunately, there are also plenty of…

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Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

Today would have been Rosemary Kennedy’s 98th birthday. In her honor, we are are featuring autistic writer Kate Ryan‘s review of the book Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson. —- Rosemary Kennedy [image: Black-and-white photo of a smiling white young woman with dark 1940s-style coiffed hair.] Growing up in the Boston area, I knew about the Kennedys.  It seemed to me, as a child and an adult, that everyone knows about the Kennedys, and their big, boisterous Catholic family that would leave such an impact on Massachusetts and the world. About their political aspirations and horrific assassinations, about their charitable foundations, about their triumphs and tragedies.  About Jack and Teddy and Eunice and Rose. Until recently, however, I have known very little about what is perhaps one of the saddest tragedies to come out of the Kennedy family: that of Rosemary Kennedy. A new biography by Kate…

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Stop Isolating Autistic Adults and Calling It “Community-Based Housing”

Kit Mead  kpagination.wordpress.com Photo: Mike Wilson. Creative Commons license. [image: White paper houses with different colored doors & windows.] Introduction Less than a month after I wrote a blog post on the media misrepresentation of Autistic people like me, I’ve gotten wind of yet another case of journalism that misrepresents Autistic people – and in this case, community living too. The article is courtesy of Rolling Stone and the Atlantic reprinted it. I could link to it, but it’s one of the top results if you google “Rolling Stone autism.” Here are the two main premises of the article: High support autistic people can’t live fully in the community. But group homes cost too much. We should fund farm-based settings instead. The Medicaid settings rule in 2014 that declared most farms and compounds for disabled people segregated settings ruined many parents’ hopes and dreams. So… it’s unethical (because it is…