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International Belgrade Book Fair
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An Autistic Dream


By Sara Gardner
January 22, 2008
Almost forty-five years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that one day African Americans would enjoy equality, and today, Barack Obama is running for President. I believe Dr. King would be proud. Because of his dream, and the incredible drawing-together of blacks and whites alike to gain civil liberties for minorities, the United States of America is a very different place today than it was in 1963.I, too, have a dream.

A dream about acceptance and equality. A dream that one day autistics will not have to hide our true selves in fear and shame. A dream that one day parents will proudly say "my child is autistic" and look forward to understanding and support, instead of denial and exclusion. A dream that a man will say to his colleague, "I am autistic" and begin a dialog of communication and kindness, instead of back-stabbing and rumor.

I have a dream that research efforts will be spent on learning ways to communicate with autistics, rather than "cure" them. I have a dream that families will stop seeing their autistic children as typical children with a disabling flaw and begin to see them as they are: fundamentally different – neurologically different – and thus these families will start to see all the positive differences as well as the more difficult-to-understand ones.

Our brains are wired differently. Change our brains and you change who we are. I have a dream that one day, autistics will be judged – not by the size of their amygdala - but by the content of their character.But, unless autistics are willing to come out and say "I am autistic" this dream will never become reality.

Unless parents are willing to tell their children "you are autistic" this dream will die. Unless people are willing to stand up, and insist that autistics have basic human rights to freedom of expression – expression that just might include rocking and flapping and twirling around – then autistics will forever remain in the shadows.Families will continue to hide autism from their children and acquaintances. Adults will continue to hide their autism from their co-workers and friends. All without ever realizing that their condition isn't really "hidden". All without realizing that the "typical" people know intrinsically that there is something very different about them. And that they are being labeled whether they choose the label or not.

So, I say – choose the label of Autism. Choose truth. Choose reality. Autism is not a bad word. It's a neurological difference. Autistics have made, and continue to make, incredible contributions to our society. We need autistics. And autistics need to be accepted and respected. Dream along with me, that one day, "autistic" will be just another word, and not a pejorative. That one day on a playground, a child will tell his companion, "I'm autistic" and the other child will say "Cool! Come on, race you to the swings."

Sarah is a member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.


23.01.2008

All news:

On Empowerment
Assistive Technologies
Press Conference
Wishes could come true
Seminar on reforms of social protection system
National Conference on Gender Equality
Mobility International Seeks Young Adults
Wal-Mart settles with applicant with disability [USA]
First Contestant with a Disability to Compete for Miss USA Title
INFO - CENTER
INACCESSIBILITY IS DISCRIMINATION!
UN Convention on PWDs rights
Conference on National strategy for Youth
Bits and pieces from Slovenija
Meeting with Bozidar Djelic
Focus group “Social services for PWDs“
SHARE SEE Grantee Training
Make a date
It's Okay to Stare... Then Engage a Question!
Sombor hosted workshop "sex, gender, disability"
Dancing Beyond Disability
Seminar HUMAN BEING AND ITS ENVIRONMENT
Project From Alternative to Standardisation
The regional group of experts in social service provision for people with disabilities
Youth Regional conference
Are we going to Europe?
Disability Guide to Disneyland Paris
POI Conference "From cause to the result: New approaches towards disability"
Open Letter to the Government, Members of National Assembly Competent Institutions and Policy Makers
Centre plan for disabled actors
An Autistic Dream
MEETING ON DISABILITY ISSUES IN SERBIA
A PARAGIDM SHIFT FROM 'CHARITY' TO 'RIGHTS AND DIGNITY'
Transport benefits
New Visa rules
Disabled rights champion honoured
Map of the World
Serbia is going to sign UN CRPD
WORKSHOP IN CAIRO
Seminar on Women with Disabilities
Adaptation of living environment for Persons with Disabilities
Program „Contact Organisations from the Civil Society”
Community Living for Disabled People Must Be Made a Priority
Celebrating 3rd December
Celebrating the 3rd December 2007
FILM FESTIVAL OBSERVING 3 DECEMBER
National Umbrella Organisation mark 3rd of December
ENDING OF SHARE SEE TRAINING PROGRAM
SHARE SEE IV MODULE – NISKA BANJA
IMPORTANT DAYS TO CELEBRATE
To Ministry of Labor and Social Policy
SHARE SEE training in Predejane
Recognising the Rights of Girls and Women with Disabilities
SHARE SEE IV MODULE IN SMEDEREVO
Creation the Local Plans of Actions in Disability Area
SHARE SEE IV MODULE – BELGRADE
TODAY IS THE DAY OF UN
Goodbye mouse hello voice controls
Elena Pecaric
Award
AWARENESS RISING
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF POVERTY REDUCTION
ADA RESTORATION ACTION CENTER
WHERE IS SERBIA
Disability Rights Treaty on Verge of Making History?
The Days of European Heritage in Belgrade, 20-30 of September
Council of Europe in Zagreb
Seoul Declaration
Virtual interpreter turns speech into sign language
Strasbourg Freedom Drive
UN Convention
Jagodina hosted the Third Table tennis tournament "Jagodina Trophy"
Hungary ratified UN Convention
Convention on Child Protection
UN convention on disability rights reaches milestone in signatories
IIIrd INTERNATIONAL SMILING CHILD FESTIVAL
Your dressing room on the Internet
Chosen home life a basic right for disabled people
SPORT RESULTS
What Can They Do?
III Module of trainings accomplished
SHARE SEE trainings
Project with young activists finished
Special EUROBAROMETER 263 “Discrimination in the European Union”
Seminar on Independent Living in Macedonia
It's Deaf Awareness Week 7-13 May
International Day of Families (15 May)
European Coalitions
Social services in South East Europe
Test on Autism
UN Headquarters, New York, NY
Presentation the UN Convention in Belgrade
Presentation of UN Convention on rights of persons with disabilities in Jagodina
SHARE SEE training in Belgrade
SHARE SEE training for Leskovac cluster
SHARE SEE Module II in Nis
The U.S. Embassy has a pleasure to invite you
SHARE SEE trainings Module II
I N T E R V I E W
GATEWAY
DYSGRAPHIA
UN Study of Violence Against Women Finds 50% of Disabled Women Experience Abuse
Launch of the Year of Equal Opportunities
Interesting events
Survey reveals social attitudes to disability
Homes that Meet Life’s Changing Needs
Awards for the best Campaign, PAs and users within the PASS project
Design for Everyone, Disabled or Not
STRATEGY
EDUCATION FOR MEMBERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN NOVI SAD ON BASIC FACTS ON DISABILITY ISSUES!
AWARDS COMPETITION
UN Convention adopted
Tribune on UN Convention in Novi Sad
Round table in Sarajevo
Evropean Union and Persons with Disabilities
Promotion of International Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
PASS presentation in Bosnia and Herzegovina
International Day of Disabled Persons
World Congress on Disability
N. Korea puts disabled in camps
Universal Design
European Conference in St Petersburg
UN reward to Poland
SHARE SEE Training in Belgrade
Antidiscriminatory practice in Norway
SHARE SEE Training in Leskovac
UN Convention
DISABLED PEOPLE FROM SPANISH INDEPENDENT LIVING MOVEMENT HAVE CANCELLED THEIR LOCK IN
8th Session of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Rights and Dignity of Persons
UN AGREES ON DISABILITY TREATY TEXT
Geneva, 23 August 2006
SHARE SEE Training in Smederevo
SHARE SEE Training in Krusevac
UN Convention - 13 August 2006
Independent living hope
8th Conference of the European Union of Supported Employment
The implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy goes on
Independent Living seminar in Tirana
E-ACCESSIBILITY TO BE THEME FOR INTERNATIONAL DAY
New CIL branch
CIL Sport Competition
United Nations takes a big step towards accessibility
Social service for PWDs in the Republic of Serbia
New EU diversity spot airing on MTV
Study visits in Brussels for delegates of disabled people organisations from the Western Balkans on 27-29 June 2006
Poverty
EDF Annual General Meeting
Brochure on CIL 10th Anniversary



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