Photo by Ron McClenny (edited)
I have undertaken to post a piece of writing, or a video or some other artefact every day from a non-speaking autistic person who uses words or word-linked symbols to communicate. I’ve been doing this for a while now on Twitter, so this blog post is a catch-up and an amended duplication of what I’m posting there.
I feel that this is necessary, because non-speakers are being suppressed around the world, and deserve to have their words amplified. I also find that many autistic self-advocates who speak reasonably well actually only know what autism is like for them and others who have much in common with them. I hope to share what I have learned from non-speakers so that others like me can join me in spreading the word(s) and making connections.
I will gradually start working on a blog series to elucidate the reasons why many autistic people do not speak, and to point to what autistic people themselves have said helps them communicate.
I also recently registered a domain for a group blog to share the words of non-speaking South Africans. The name was provided by a 17-year-old non-speaker from Pretoria. (More about that later.)
I’ll share only the words of non-speaking and unreliably-speaking autistics, and I will not limit myself to those who feel the same way as I do about being autistic. I feel like I am censoring by only focusing on word-based communication, but I hope that through the words it will become clear that words may not reflect a person’s best means of communication, and that there are many ways of communicating beyond formal therapist-led AAC.
Here’s the first post in the series.