Autism Interview #77: Bennett Gaddes on Spectrum Codes and the Current State of Disability Advocacy

Bennett Gaddes is the chairman of Autistic Self Advocacy Atlanta and co-founder of Spectrum Codes, an advocacy group with the purpose of preparing neurodiverse individuals for careers in technology. He is especially interested in creating accessible technology. This week Bennett discussed his involvement with Spectrum Codes as well as his perspective on the current state of disability advocacy.

Autism Interview #76: Terra Vance on Functioning Labels, Employment, and Diversity

Terra Vance is an industrial and organizational psychology consultant and the proprietor of Acumen Consulting, LLC. She specializes in diversity, inclusion, multiculturalism, and poverty dynamics. She is also the author of the Unapologetically Aspie blog on PsychCentral.com and founder of The Aspergian, a collective for autistic voices, a showcase for autistic talent, and a directory of resources to assist NTs and NDs with navigating autism and thriving with it.  This week she shared some autism advocacy tips as well as her experience leading diversity initiatives as a business consultant.

Autism Interview #75: Amber Perry on Disability Advocacy

Amber Perry is an ASAN Chapter Leader and Representative for the Lane County Chapter of the Autism Society of Oregon. She started Central Oregon Autism Support Team (COAST) in Central Oregon and was a member and webmaster for the Bend-Redmond Asperger’s Support group. Today she is an active self-advocate and community and Kindtree volunteer and pending member of the Kindtree Board of Directors. This week Amber shared a few important topics for disability advocates.

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 #51: Brent White on Autism Advocacy

Brent White is autistic, dyslexic and multiply neurodivergent. He designs and directs adult programs for neurodivergent young adults for a non-profit in Berkeley, California. Programs include an adult transition program for the he designed for the Berkeley Unified School District. Brent White is a grassroots researcher, scholar and advocate. This week he shared some insight for non-autistic parents and other autism advocates who are trying to support their loved ones in the most respectful and meaningful ways.

Why I Can’t Call Myself an Ally (and Neither Can You)

autism ally

It’s a point of contention between some people on the spectrum and neurotypical autism advocates. How we advocate really is just as (if not more) important the intention to simply advocate at all. In particular, let’s explore the right to identify as an autism ally and the traits needed to genuinely support those on the spectrum. Not everyone who calls themselves one is really on the side of autistics. In any disagreement, a dose of humility and introspection is needed if anyone is expected to learn anything or if any progress will be made (See my previous post: The Roles and Responsibilities of the Neurotypical Autism Advocate). This week I’m asking neurotypical parents to review why autism advocacy issues exist and consider ways to improve their efforts. The more I read and listen to people on the spectrum, the more I learn about better ways to support and accept them. Let’s listen to autistic advocates and be open to change.

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.