Her name is Amy Sequenzia and she is an autistic self-advocate who also has epilepsy and cerebral palsy. She writes poetry, published three small books and writes articles on autism, disabilities, being autistic and is a strong advocate for Autism Acceptance and improving the lives of autistics.
Amy doesn’t speak, she types to communicate. And communicate she does. Her advocacy for the rights of autistics is being heard loud and clear with each passing day. She claims that “big” autism organizations speak about cures and fundraising, but do very little for autistics. A case in point is Autism Awareness month in April, which is celebrated worldwide. Amy says, “Autism “Awareness” Month is a frustrating and sad month for Autistics, because it excludes us, while portraying us in a negative way.” she says that this month was chosen by ” by non-autistics to raise “awareness” about our existence. But most of the conversation does not include us, autistics, and the outcomes of such conversations do not improve our lives.”
Amy strongly believes that Autism Awareness should be highlighting the lack of resources, services and supports that autistics face. She feels that the entire message is based on the ” deficit model; because it emphasizes what we cannot do and does not talk about how we do things – differently.” Yes she says to research, but that should focus on helping autistics who undergo complications of the digestive system, or with sensory overload, those who can’t communicate. Money shouldn’t be spent on finding a cure that doesn’t exist, but instead it should be used to improving the lives of autistics.
Amy sums it all up by saying that Autism awareness should be more about increasing Autism Acceptance.And, “Autism Acceptance is about understanding that we are different, not less; it is about seeing us as fully human, as whole people. ” Instead of awareness , accept us, she says, that way the potential in each autistic will come to the fore so that each one can contribute to society in larger numbers.
Says Amy, “I believe all that because I know we are the true, and only, Autism Experts.”