I want to draw attention to another post made by Kerry Magro on the Autism Speaks blog. Mr. Magro, who apparently is interning for Autism Speaks and will be a senior at Seton Hall this coming year, outlines some of the challenges involved in obtaining “reasonable accommodations” in a college setting. During his description, he provides many helpful insights from his own experience of striving towards independence, with and without support.
Mr. Magro's post is straightforward, accurate and informative, which puts it in stark contrast to nearly all the other posts made on the Autism Speaks blog, including many posts made by non-autistic individuals under the banner of “In Their Own Words” (oh, the irony of it all). These other posts have dealt primarily with such matters as the challenge of being a parent to an autistic individual, the challenge of being the sibling of an autistic individual, the challenge of being an autism researcher working with mouse models, and the challenge of baking autism advocacy cookies. But when it comes to addressing the actual challenges and rewards of autism itself, that mantle is successfully assumed only when Autism Speaks resorts to that rarest of events, publishing the words that come straight from an autistic individual (oh, the doubled-back irony of it all).
It would be hard for me to overemphasize how much this culture can actually learn about autism simply by allowing autistic individuals to speak for themselves and in their own words. Hey, Autism Speaks, are you really listening?