In my house we don’t use labels. I am just Henry. Just like my sister is just Olivia. Just like my other sister is just Lily.

I could have many labels. To many people, I do.

I have a tshirt that says “Label Jars Not People”. That says it well .

I choose to identify as autistic. I choose to use this because of community. Not to tell you what I am or what I am not.

I am proud to be an autistic advocate standing up for inclusion. I think all people have the same rights. Labels should not be for separation. People are more than a word. People are complex.

I am not defined by any label. I am just me. I have other disability labels I don’t use. That may change. It is my choice.

I am an advocate. A student. A communicator. A friend. A Nascar fan. A son. An activist. A brother. A teenager. A typer. A baseball player. A traveller.

I am ordinary. I am extraordinary.

I am complex.

I am a person .

About the Author:

In 2012 Henry faced disability based discrimination when he was denied entry to the middle school across the street from his home. Then 12 year old Henry started “I STAND WITH HENRY” to take action against the segregation and low expectations he encountered and to empower others to stand together and demand full access to equal education in their neighborhoods. Henry’s international social media campaign garnered tens of thousands of supporters and he was allowed entry into his neighborhood school after months of negotiation. Henry went on to excel not only in General Education but it Advanced Honors and Gifted classes.He was the 2013 Recipient of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's Award for Service to the Self-Advocacy Movement. You can find Henry @istandwithhenry on Facebook and Twitter.


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