My name is Christian Ranieri and I am a 9th
I said a long time ago that I would not only be an real student In a school that supports me but also a self advocate for those lost in segregated settings echoing the dreaded lives of people in the world that are like me without the right supports.
This is not directed at anyone in particular. It is about several people I’ve met throughout my life. I sometimes need to remind myself that being me means following my own agenda and not pleasing the ones who will not be part of my story.
Should it matter that some of us are labeled intellectually disabled? Read the definitions, look at us in a realistic way and ask yourself; Does it matter? Aren’t we all worthy?
This is for every person who embodies the meaning of motherhood. This is for the ones who nurture and protect, who never consider their lives more important than the lives of the ones being nourished, educated, protected and loved.
Autism is not a set of deficits. Autism is complex and all of us can self-advocate despite the difficulties we might face. Autism is life. I am Autistic, I self-advocate and I am happy.
Respect for one another is one basic quality if we want to have meaningful conversations and relationships with other human beings. The ableism that disabled people experience is a form of disrespect.
But after watching Wretches and Jabberers, a film about autism and self-advocacy, Henry’s way of interacting with the world changed radically. He realized that he had a voice, could use it, and had a right to participate in discussions about his education and life.
After “Non-speaking, ‘low-functioning’” was published, lots of people wanted to hear from me. I met so many amazing people, autistic bloggers with so much to share and the smartest people I know. Parents of autistic children also valued my words.
Henry wrote about inclusion for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network,
Autistic advocate and poet Amy Sequenzia's message of acceptance and respect for young autistics for 2012 Autistics Speaking Day. "There is nothing wrong with being who you are. You are perfect in your uniqueness."
It is a mistaken idea that we, autistics, lack empathy. It is also a myth that we are not social. My friends and I, we understand and respect differences. And we understand that we all have a lot to contribute, in a diversity of manners.
Our three week Roadtrip has begun. Syracuse, then on to New Hampshire and the Autism Summer Institute.
Our first Change Leader is artist and disability rights advocate, Larry Bissonnette. Larry's art, writing, presentations, and films are changing perceptions about disability around the world. His quote in Wretches & Jabberers, "More like you than not" says it all.
Autism Speaks: Time to Listen by Autistic Self-Advocate Amy Sequenzia
Marcus Titus, top U.S. breaststroker, rallied for change and got it. USA Swimming will allow the use of hand signals to accomodate Deaf swimmers at the summer Olympic trials.