Autism Interview #69: Tom Iland on Law Enforcement, Self Discovery, and Advocacy

Diagnosed with autism at 13 years old, Thomas “Tom” Iland has worked hard to achieve his goals: learning to drive, living on his own, graduating from college, obtaining full-time employment and having a girlfriend. Tom recently left his career as a certified public accountant (CPA) to educate, inspire and motivate people affected by autism and other learning differences. One of only 4,000 Distinguished Toastmasters in the world and a member of the National Speakers Association, his mantra “Know Yourself. Love Yourself. Be Yourself.” has been featured in keynote speeches in autism conferences around the country and is among the topics in his award-winning, bestselling book, “Come to Life! Your Guide to Self-Discovery.” This week Tom shared advice about advocacy and his background as a public speaker, including training individuals on how to interact with law enforcement.

Autism Interview #63: Russell Lehmann on Never Giving Up

Russell Lehmann is an award-winning and internationally recognized motivational speaker, poet, author and advocate who happens to have autism. His words have been featured in the USA Today, LA Times, NPR, Yahoo! News, Autism Speaks and archived in the Library of Congress.

Russell currently travels the country spreading hope, awareness, acceptance, belief and tolerance in a raw and dynamic fashion, while also setting his sights on erasing the stigma and stereotypes that come with having a disability. This week he shared some of his experiences as an autism advocate and poet.

Autism Interview #60: Michael John Carley on the Current State of Autism

Michael John Carley is an internationally-recognized autistic author, speaker, and public advocate. He is the founder and first Executive Director of GRASP, the largest organization in the world comprised of adults on the autism spectrum. He’s also the former United Nations Representative of Veterans for Peace, Inc. He’s been featured in many national publications and media outlets and has written several books on autism. This week he shared his perspective on the current state of autism in America, some of the differences between his experiences and those of his autistic son, as well as advocacy tips for parents.

Autism Interview #55: Haley Moss on Growing Up with a Positive Autistic Identity

Haley Moss is an artist, author, and autism advocate attending law school at the University of Miami. Her work is nationally recognized, and she is the author of “Middle School: The Stuff Nobody Tells You About” and “A Freshman Survival Guide for College Students With Autism Spectrum Disorders.” This week she shared how she grew up with a positive autistic identity and offered suggestions of ways parents and family can improve autism acceptance and advocate for their loved ones on the spectrum.

Autism Interview #46 Part 2: Courtney Johnson on Autism Advocacy

Courtney Johnson is a writer, public speaker, and Chemistry Ph.D Candidate on the autism spectrum. Courtney manages the website AutismAchiever.com, where her goal is to share information she has learned through her varied life experiences to help individuals on the spectrum reach their full potential. Last week Courtney shared some of her personal experiences growing up on the spectrum. This week she discusses her advocacy work and how parents can best advocate for their children.

Autism Interview #42: Erin Clemens on Autism Acceptance

 

Photo by Peter Brown

Erin Clemens is an author, speaker, consultant, and advocate on the autism spectrum. She recently presented at a TEDx conference on “The Natural Rhythm of Stimming.” This week she shared some of her personal experiences as someone on the spectrum*. She hopes that by sharing these experiences, people can learn from what she has been through, and apply it to what may help others on the autism spectrum.

Unconscious Patronization

Do you consider yourself an autism advocate? Are you advocating in ways that the autistic community would appreciate? How do you know? Reaching out to the autistic community takes a dose of humility, but that’s only the first step. To what degree and the manner in which we reach out is even more important. The basic seeds of advocacy must begin on a foundational respect for the humanity of individuals on the spectrum.