Autism Unveiled: six-week advocacy project culminating on World Autism Awareness Day

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“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism,” Dr. Stephen Mark Shore

Dates: February 18, 2015 – April 2, 2015

Deadline closed – A directory of posts as they come up will be available on the Autism Unveiled project page. For those who missed the submission deadline here’s another worthy project. I don’t need a cure flashblog coming up April 2, 2015, World Autism Awareness Day.

Project Description

The Art of Autism is curating words, photographs, pictures, self-portraits, videos from people around the world who are on the autism spectrum. Each week from February 18 – April 2 the Art of Autism will feature Autistic persons and words, pictures, art or videos that describe that person. It can be as simple as a few words with a drawing or it can be an essay or more. This is not a project that is only for artists. It is open to anyone on the spectrum.

The title of the blog each day will vary depending on the Autistic person or relative who is writing the blog.

Examples of Titles

  • Mom, Animator and Autistic
  • Jewish, Nonverbal and Autistic
  • African-American, Professor, Empathetic and Aspergers
  • German, Bipolar, Nerd and Aspie
  • Incarcerated, Bullied, Creative, and Autistic
  • Single, Christian, Songwriter and Person with Autism

The title can be any group of words that describe yourself but at the end it will include the words “and Autistic” or “and Aspergers.” (or if you’d rather ‘and person with autism’ – or ‘aspienaut,’ ‘aspie’ or however you’d like to describe your autism).  I did a blog about person-first-language (PFL) and autism. A part of the submission is how you refer to your autism.

Purpose

Autism is a current cultural phenomenon with 1 in 68 children in the United States diagnosed on the autism spectrum (Center for Disease Control, 2014). Autism is prevalent world-wide. Autism is not a disease. Autism is classified as a developmental disability. The autism diagnosis is made by observation of behaviors. Autistic people are wired differently. Many are highly sensitive to sensory input, such as sound, sight, taste, and touch. Many are gifted in the arts and sciences.

Autism has no country, religion, ethnicity, education-level, gender, sexual preference, career, or personality. The persistent negative media profiles autistic people as suffering, sick, broken or worse: genetic mistakes. The recent trend to criminalize autistic behavior is disturbing and has affected my own child and his family in adverse ways. My hope is this project will show the diversity in the community and ow autism affects a person’s life experience. The project will feature websites that give diverse representations of autistic people. We hope this project will go beyond autism awareness to autism acceptance.

Dr. Stephen Mark Shore and Jennifer O’Toole and Tito Mukhopadhyay have agreed to kick-off Autism Unveiled on February 18, 2015 with the first blogs.

Diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies” and “too sick” for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until age four, Dr. Shore had much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others. He is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practices to the needs of people on the autism spectrum.

Jennifer O’Toole is the author of the Autism Society of America’s 2014 Outstanding Literary Work and of the bestselling Asperkids series. One of Tony Attwood’s “Top Aspie Mentors” and winner of the Temple Grandin Award for global contribution by a person on the spectrum, Jennifer has advised the President’s Council on Disabilities and keynotes internationally. Her multimedia social education company, Asperkids, debuted in 2013 and now reaches over 250,000 each month, spreading the precious, precocious AWESOMENESS of differently-wired wonderful. She was diagnosed at 34 as an Aspie & is the (very) proud mom of three Asperkids.

Tito Mukhopadhyay was classified as having severe autism. He is the author of many books which provide a unique look into his own autism and experience.

“Performance, visual and literary creativity ARE the least-burdened, most purely emotional way to convey the experiences of people on every point of the human spectrum. Rooted in personal connection, the arts free us all to step into one another’s realities, exposing the juxtaposition of brilliance and confusion that is Asperger’s and the ‘normalcy’ that is quite foreign to so many of us.” – Jennifer O’Toole

Each week between February 18 – April 2, 2014, The Art of Autism will post blogs. The final blog will be posted on April 2, which is World Autism Day. April is Autism Awareness Month.

Autism Unveiled is inspired by a number of advocacy projects such as:

Gee Vero’s Inclusion Project
The Me?We! Artist Collaboration Project
Dr. Brownlee’s Project We are Autism and Aspergers
This is Autism Flashblog
The Autism Positivity Project

and the upcoming flashblog I don’t need a cure – April 2, 2015

The Art of Autism, a collaborative project, has had visitors from 151 different countries and art exhibits across the United States and Canada. This year we look forward to curating an international exhibit in Beijing, China, where some of the writings, art, and videos of this project may be displayed.

Marketing

Autism Unveiled will be a social media phenomena. We look forward to people sharing our vision to humanize the autistic population.

Submission

Send 2 or more words that describe yourself and answer the questions “Who am I?” and “How is autism part of me?” Include a photograph of yourself (or a self-portrait or a portrait made by someone else) with your submission. Self-portraits are not required. Include your state and country of residence as this is an international project and I’d like to plot where the submissions are coming from. Optional (not required but nice to have): Include a website you’d like me to link to and any websites that have inspired you, videos, art, poems, etc. including your own creations.

As with all submissions, the participants own the rights to their art, photographs, videos and words.

Send submissions to Debra Muzikar theartofautism @ gmail.com.

Nora Blansett "Behind the Veil"

“Behind the Veil” courtesy of Nora Blansett

Deadline: February 4, 2015 Midnight

Flyer of the project

A gallery of self-portraits below:

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