I am a person.
Ask me. Don’t prompt me.
Talk to me. Don’t prompt me.
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.
Henry, your words made me to hear the sounds of beautiful colors. I did try to translate this into words. It is not exact but here is a rudimentary match:
Yes, have courage to see us as your equal –
an equal human being.
Have courage to treat us as you treat a friend –
yes, we do want and need friends just like all human beings.
Have courage to see us as the unique human being we are –
rather than only a sum total of diagnostic deficits and difficulties.
We are people.
See our humanity.
We are NOT our diagnosis.
We are NOT what you understand about our diagnosis.
Please stop seeing us through the lens of what you think you know about autism, but instead approach us as you would any other human being because that is what we are – another human being.