Tag Archives: disabled people

Know your Voice, Know your Identities, Know your supports, and Live a Self-Determined Life

An Open Letter to the many primary and secondary educators as well as the many professionals who try to create tokens to Autistic and other Disabled people who they don’t give proper education to own their identities and opinions,

It’s important to create a better way for the Autistic/Disabled children and adolescents of the future adults of the Disability community and the broader community in the world. It’s important as well to create a system where the adults in the Disability community today finally know their voice and their identities count too. People need to develop their own self without any one especially Non-Autistic/Non-Disabled people influencing them that they can’t do much in society. This leads to many of the children eventually living in group homes like many of the Autistic/Disabled adult peers who struggled with the teachers in the school system as well growing up without a chance to learn.

School is an important project for every child growing up. No one should be denied a proper education because many teachers don’t want to develop more patience and spend more time with their students to get them through 12 years of schooling and go to college. When I watch the amount of people entering into the caretaker world for Autistic/Disabled adults I noticed many of the Non-disabled people who work with them even some parents, don’t preserve self-determination. Sadly, I start realizing how the whole primary and secondary education system pretty much sucks in the United States. I am not just talking about the public schools, but the fact that these children are also going to Residential Treatment program schools as well that really are segregative and do suck!! It’s not even just the Disability community which is denied proper education, but many other cultures of people too who don’t get the education they need. This all leads to mental health issues and addiction.

Many educators seem to only care about the most gifted people who are usually non-Disabled or non-Autistic people to finish high school and go to college. It’s only if any student becomes a good advocate for themselves during public high school that they actually do succeed to lead their own life through college eventually earning a decent living. Instead many Autistic/Disabled people wind up going to Adult day hab centers and group homes because society gave up on them. It is a very sad situation that many of these educators and other professionals do not help my many young peers in the Autistic/Disability community to learn responsibility in order to live a self-determined life.

When these people eventually do go to group homes, day hab, and even work in sheltered workshops earning a dollar an hour in some cases, they are treated like children, and act out like children, always acting out negatively. They are considered to be ‘behavior problems’ in society because no one taught them any better about responsibilities while attending their school years from kindergarten through 12th grade. And yet, most of these people have sensory meltdowns too that were always misunderstood as tantrums instead.

Society graduated many of these people with a IEP diploma which just states that they attended school without earning grades. Moreover, these people are told to learn social skills in adult classes when these types of skills should have been taught in public elementary school with the Non-disabled students. Most of these people can’t read or do not even know what it means to understand what they read, to write an essay, to do simple math, to sign their name, or to even know how they want to represent themselves in society.

Our society created a system where Non-Autistic/Non-Disabled people will speak for many of them in the Disability community no matter what the situation entails including telling the world how they should be identified as. Many of these students in the Disability community are never given real choices because many people do not want them to be educated in school and earn a decent wage that can allow them to have independence too. Their education is pushed away from them while they are pushed to agency businesses to take care of them for the rest of their lives. Yes, many of us in the Disability community do need supports, and sometimes agencies help with these supports, but the supports should be given to us as an accommodation to live a self-determined life. We live in an Interdependent world, none of us are totally independent.

There are some people, but not many who’ve been considered lucky to not let this happen to them. However, luck was more of a determination to advocate for ourselves including some non-verbal self-advocates who fought for their rights for supports and independence. Many reached out and others continue to reach out to advocate against a system that society really pushes many Autistic and other Disabled people into: not having their own voice and identities. It’s important to always educate, teach self-advocacy, teach social skills, and teach that it’s okay to identify ourselves the way any one wants to throughout school and adulthood. Most importantly, it’s important to teach social skills in elementary school as well as teaching sexuality and gender identities to everyone no matter if the student is disabled or not. Society is so afraid of teaching any one who is not the so-called normal person in society.

We are all gifted, we can all live our life the way we want and need to, and we can all learn to be responsible self-determined adults with the supports we need along the way. Society needs to accommodate the Disability community with the many sensory and physical things that we need to be accommodated for so that we can live our life like any other person can. In the professional world, Social Workers read in their code of ethics about self-determination all the time, but many Social Workers do not practice this code of ethics unless it is to get a Autistic/Disabled person to obtain their benefits from society as a whole. Benefits are good and are needed for us including myself, but self-determination must always be preserved too. There needs to be balance between the benefits the Disability community receives or will receive, and self-determination.

When society sees a person like myself advocating for myself and working toward my goals of self-determination, they only want to create a token so that this person will speak like Non-Disabled people yet will still be considered Disabled by society. If society wants to really listen to the Disability community, they will need to allow us to speak our minds the way we feel and want to represent ourselves with our identities. It is unfair for the Disability community and most importantly it is an unfair education system for the many people who have been and are in the elementary and secondary school systems. It’s probably why bullying persists in our schools. Society needs to change. Society needs to create an education system where everyone has a chance to live a decent life and learn the responsibilities to live our lives eventually with wages that aren’t sub-minimum.

Don’t wait until they become adults because then it may already be too late! Please do all you can to educate everyone no matter who they are. We need to make the United States better than it is right now. For those educators who have begun this already, I say thank you to you, but help me create any teacher in every school to maintain any student to live their adult life with supports and self-determination.

A few people have tried to make me a token in the past, but it’s important to fight for our own voice to be heard not to be a token. I teach self-advocacy at a part time job, and will continue to teach these basic self-advocacy skills so everyone eventually will know their voice, their own opinions, and their own identities which will always be cherished.

Thank you for reading and hope everyone understands what I say!

OUT, J

Self-Determination is Important and Healthy for a Person’s Life

People live stronger and healthier when living with self-determination. Self-determination is moving toward independence with the support network we all need. However, many people who don’t have a strong support network need to find the inner strength to do it on their own finding people who can help them. No one needs to feel like any person with ableist attitudes will teach them that they are incapable, incompetent, and feel unwanted. Every one is capable, competent, and wanted with a mission to achieve anything they want in their life. Whether you already have a strong support network or you are trying to build one for yourself, it’s important to know that everyone in society is interdependent.

One way of gaining this support network and building your life is through self-directed services from your state developmental disability office. A lot of times self-directed services from each state’s developmental disabilities department helps create situations for people needing a way to live on their own, but with support. This program needs to be encouraged more so people with a developmental disability including those individuals graduating from high school or have been an adult struggling for a long time to receive these services themselves. It helps because as people reach adulthood, everyone lives in the community interdependently, experiencing responsibilities and respect from everyone around them.

The world needs to change by accepting disabilities in life because it’s all a part of humanity! So, when is the countries that are not accepting disability going to take the lead the United States is trying to do right now? I do know there are many Americans that are not accepting disability too. However, many Americans are leading in the fight for disability rights trying to create an inclusive community for Autistics and other Disabled folks.

Individuals in society achieve successes each day as an interdependent person no matter if you have a disability or not. So, why do many people still treat Disabled people either with an invisible disability and/or a visible disability like we are third world citizens who don’t belong with the rest of the community? Many people in the Disability and Mental Health communities live in institutions segregated away from their families and segregated away from the rest of the community without the respect from others. Many people outside of the Disability community throughout the world need to understand disability is a part of the human experience and does not need to be hidden. It’s important to improve the lives of every person in society and give support to the people who need it so no one is left in an institution for the rest of their lives. The most important aspect of our life is to create a situation where each community in society supports the individuals who are in that community.

Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States just reported yesterday that 1:68 people are Autistic in the United States. The media reported this as if Autism is a disease, however only 1 in out of every 68 people are being represented as Autistic. This is getting better, but we need more Autistic voices to represent themselves as Autistic. There is still too many people who hide Autistic people from society. Instead people need to allow Autistics to seek their own identity as Autistic, not being afraid of themselves especially the part that is autistic. Being Autistic is just as important as any other part of a person’s identity. Once we accept this as an identity, we will see the numbers increase more. Everyone in the community is here to help everyone around them. That’s a part of humanity, that’s a part of love for others, and that’s a part of the structure of the Human race. Humanity is a spectrum!! Everyone needs to accept and understand people without fearing the unknown races, religions, and cultures in their society. Thus, fear leads to much hatred, so why fear when you can love.

It’s time to give responsibility, respect, and immediate action to the Disability community young and old to be able to do things on their own by exploring their identity and working out their life with the support network when they need it to fulfill their life. This is important because it gives any person a chance to describe an identity that fits them. It’s essential for any one to have their own way of defining themselves. It also helps with fulfilling a person’s own mission to make a difference. We can all learn from each other by living in the community. There are many ways we can be supportive without doing and speaking for others, by giving choices to everyone.

Remember: Nothing about us, without us!

From The Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band”:

Well the first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry any more,
‘Cause when life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door.
Think this through with me, let me know your mind,
Wo, oh, what I want to know, is are you kind?

Be kind and respect everyone the way they want to be identified as. No one can be disrespected and hurt a long the way. Every one has their chance to live and be a part of the community at large 🙂

As Autism Acceptance Month approaches next Tuesday, Let’s build a strong United Community in the World!

OUT, J

Let’s Give Everyone Their Chance For their Own Success!

Being Disabled is not the same as being able. It’s hard dealing with people who just don’t understand us as being a part of the Disability community. I have met many people who look at me like I am an Able-bodied person, but don’t realize the many things that disable me from the rest of society. Being Autistic has it’s many gifts for me, but I still am disabled by society’s standards. I am very capable of doing the many things like everyone else, but much of society does not understand how to accommodate me. For example, there are different ways I get overloaded and overstimulated that I get very frustrated with and angry because the way society acts. If many people realized it, they could change their perception of how to act.

Everyone is capable of doing whatever they know they can do, but for some reason their is a disconnect between Able-bodied people and the Disabled. Whether the person is on the Autistic spectrum, has Cerebral Palsy, has Down’s Syndrome, is physically handicapped, has a mental health condition, has a rare illness that disables them from society, blind, deaf, etc. People need to remember whether the person is visibly disabled or invisibly disabled, everyone has right to their personal accommodation from the rest of society to do what they love to do.

There is no reason why a Disabled person should be left in the dark by themselves to be pitied or placed in Residential Treatment Placement Centers or Treated differently among the Healthcare system because the rest of society does not understand us. These are unacceptable ways to treat anyone, so why is society always thinking of using pity and torture in healthcare for people with disabilities. It really is very unfair and unconscionable for any Human being to be treated in such a fashion. For instance, just because someone is Autistic does not mean they need constant supervision, but it does not mean we don’t need supervision at all like everyone else. Society does not understand Disability culture, in addition to not being very concrete with Autistics.

Society is too overwhelming for us as a result, where we become very angry, confused, and frustrated because of it. Much of society still thinks that organizations like Autism Speaks will have all the answers and the mainstream media thinks they have the answers too. Instead of seeking answers from anyone, seek answers from those people who are struggling with society; the people with disabilities themselves! There are some Disabled people who may seem Neurotypical, but really are very much disabled themselves. You can’t walk in other shoes until you have experienced what a Disabled person experiences every day from our unique way of being in this so-called Able-bodied/Neurotypical world. Many people just don’t understand and think that they can talk down at us, that we need constant supervision, and that we need constant attention. However, disability is a part of humanity!!!

No one can discover their own self-determination and taking responsibility if the society’s communities does not understand everyone. Self-determination is very important and being included in conversations with the rest of society who talks about us is even more important. Society is overlooking the many factors of what it means for any one to be successful. Success does not mean making a lot of money. Success just means working hard to learning to build our own necessities to live our life and having our own self-worth to just be who we are. In the every end to self-determination, anyone reaps their rewards, with money, but not before the end.

I have found that there are too many professionals and many other people working to help people with disabilities who just don’t understand how to physically and mentally be there for any of us. As being a part of the subcategory, in the Autistic community, which is very broad and diverse of people in the world, many people seem to not understand us at all even a lot of professionals. This is very sad!!! Though, many people are learning lately, there is still much more learning, accepting us, and understanding about autism and disability that everyone needs to know in order to create a better society.

As we are in the middle of March, we are almost beginning Autism Acceptance Month in April, which means we are 3 and a half months until Autistic Pride Day in June. I thank many people who are beginning to learn or are learning, but I think society still has a long road of learning and understanding until they can begin accepting. Much of society is still not very concrete, not very understanding, and certainly not very accepting of Human diversity of what people can do for themselves where any one can take ownership of who they are, building their life.

There are many people in society who just don’t think that Disabled people can be included, have their own voice, and strive for their own success. Some people, but not all, who do take on people with disabilities including Autistic people, use some people in the disability community as a Token, because they want us to spread their word of pity in order to be called an inspiration to us all. This is not right and not fair! However, much of society needs to learn that everyone can be successful in what they know they want to do, can have a supportive network of people like anyone else to live life, and be independent when we need to be.

Stay true to yourself and always remember that no matter what we all our living as Human beings in the vast Human spectrum!!

OUT, J

My Speech from the Day of Mourning Vigil in New City, NY 2014

(State Senator David Carlucci was at the Vigil too and I made a great new connection with him. He is interested in working with Community Alliance For Ethical Treatment of Youth (CAFETY) that I am a Board member of. Video and pictures to come soon…Thank you to so many people who helped me including Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, my committee for the Vigil, the NYC Vigil Committee, my Parents, Skyler the Maltese Dog, and to the State Senator David Carlucci for attending and all those others for helping out or supporting me.)

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network’s Day of Mourning 2014

Today we stand around on the First day of March to gather in a circle and remember those people with disabilities who were abused and killed without even fulfilling their life’s purpose and mission. There were many people who died unnecessarily and without cause. A lot of the names you will see on this Poster, but many names go unnoticed. The Caregivers and Parents who murdered their loved ones were sympathized instead of the people who died who should have been mourned. Justice needs to be served when any life is taken for granted and taken away without cause. Every one has a purpose, every one has a right to live their life the way they know they can be a productive members of society, and be encouraged to do so.

We stand here today as one Human race as we remember at this vigil the lives of those people who could’ve had a good remarkable life, who could’ve gained, and achieved positive things in their life. Achievements that many of us take for granted and knowledge we learn or learned that these people could have had too. It’s unfortunate that the society we live in does not appreciate and respect everyone who lives here. Society needs to change and society needs to realize everyone matters and everyone has a chance to take responsibility for their own lives.

We live, we survive, we have self-determination, we have resilience, we have power, we have strength, we are the ones who will survive even when it’s our final time in this society to make our mark. Our mark is to ensure every Human being lives to their fullest advantage with extraordinary capabilities and intelligence the way we were intended to be built. Every one can use their minds to do anything they want to, it’s just important to remember that we are to use our mind to be creative or invent a fulfilling enjoyment for the world to enjoy. Life is beautiful if you make it beautiful, but life is given to us to help support each other embracing the relationships we already have or will have in the future. In retrospect, we are a community, a very broad and diverse community of Humanity where we built a society to live in. That society we live in is guaranteed to help us be included, be rewarded, and be respected no matter what.

What more can I say? We need to support each other, but most importantly we need to embrace the very fact of our humanity and let us say: Give a Supportive Inclusive Environment a chance and be respectful, courteous, and loving to all those around you. Think twice before you say something or do something hurtful, and enjoy the remarkable world we live in. There are so many people who have so much to offer, so give life a chance and let everyone live their life the way they know how to live it.

Love can go two ways, sometimes it’s one way, but we need to make it a two way street. Love means something when we journey through life accepting people’s missions, people’s gender, people’s disabilities, people’s personalities, people’s sexualities, people’s races, and people’s vision for the world. Everyone lives and everyone has a chance to feel anointed to their respectful wishes on how they want to live their life, experience the world, rectify their past, and live their personal destiny. Not everyone believes in spirituality and not everyone does not believe in spirituality either. That is the beauty of the way we all live in this world. Everyone craves the talented world we live in, to live the dream we always wanted. Now is the time to live the dream we always wanted. Now is the time for people with disabilities to feel accepted to their guided light of the day, and build up a life too. No body should feel hurt, no body should be killed, and no body should feel their life does not matter because we all matter.

As I conclude my opening remarks to this important Vigil, we embark on a new era of guiding people, all people, toward the light, toward sky, toward the vision of clouds in the sky, to move forward and smile at the everybody around you. Thank you everyone for coming to this important part of history in the making for a journey toward hope, toward love, and toward a mission well served. Now I introduce you to our State Senator David Carlucci to say a few words about this Vigil. Thank you…


OUT, J

Transitional 2013 Creates a Fabulous Wondrous 2014!!

2013 was a year of many transitions in our diversified world all over. From the passing of Nelson Mandela to the passing of close personal peers either human or animal. 2013 was the year, Chloe the Maltese dog died. It was also the year I finally stood up for what I want to do and reach out into my nested niche which is just starting to grow. Though it is a constant battle to do what you love and without criticism from others who either pushing something else to do or criticizing in other ways. I have reached into my soul in 2013, to finally do what is necessary to make a difference in this world contributing in ways I know I can. It started many years ago, but I was blinded with wool not knowing what I can really do by having been pushed in a direction that kept me out of the direction I was intended for because of influence.

It’s a slow, long process, but I feel I am able to do it now. Life throws us curveballs, and if you try to swing at it, you can get yourself into a rut. I was trying to hit curveballs for the past 9 and a half years after I had graduated from college, and now I started to finally learn how to hit the ball. My voice is soaring along and I am learning day by day not to let others influence me anymore.

By doing so, the latest puppy in my life is Skyler the Maltese Dog who when I see her every day, gives me an example of remarkable tenacity to jump up to fulfill passion. I am earning respect from the community by starting to teach Self-Advocacy skills and empower the lives of the disability community I am so much a part of because I am Autistic. The Disability community needs to know that there are Disabled folks out there who can and will help the most struggling Disabled people around. If only organizations like Autism Speaks can notice that about Autistic adults who want to help!

Here is a picture of young Skyler (she is a white fluffy animal, long ears bending over, with her head tilted up) Skyler the Maltese Dog is a one in a million, out of the ordinary dog who brings the next phase of a better life:

IMG_0530

Transitions are hard, but transitions are also very good for us to experience in our lives, whether it’s a transition in our life or a transition to go beyond life once our body is time to perish. Changes in our lives glorify our being whether it’s a change in leadership within society, an organization, or within family. Sometimes the changes are good, but sometimes the changes take time to get used to. For instance, when someone dies, a new leadership steps up to the plate to take control. Transitions are hard, but once we are able to control it, it becomes beautiful.

Passing the torch to someone else is important many times over in our lives. As we pass the torch once, we pass it again over and over until the torch has ceased to shine no more or until we need to re-light the torch. Remembering the past is important, but not as important as moving forward with the lessons we learned from the past. Moving on and transitioning our lives every year encompasses our growth in our mind and spirit allowing us to lead our own lives. Life can be complicated especially when others’ influence us. Being who we are is a incredible idea we all should always incorporate every day we wake up. When you wake up tomorrow after a party from New Year’s Eve, remember what is necessary to live your life; love, connections, and emotions that give us the feelings we have all the time. Not to mention the passion and drive you feel inside to make a difference to contribute in this world. Never leave your passion for anything.

The time is now for my passion to thrive. Now is the time for my passion to exist. Now is the time to start teaching organizations like Autism Speaks what really matters, giving as many Autistic adults the chance to help our fellow Autistic peers young and old struggling more than ever. Now is the time for me and all my Autistic peers who are similar to me to help give our struggling peers a voice and that they matter too! No matter where you fall in Human diversity, remember how much you matter and how much you can give to the world too. (If you need someone to read this to you, just remember the last line I said)

Let’s begin 2014 with the year every Autistic person thrives in their lives, living every day knowing they make a difference too!

Happy New Year!!! Be Passionate in what you know you want to do to be happy 😉

OUT, J

Happy New Year!!!