The Digital Hyperlexic

Poetry, neurodivergence, book reviews, activism.

Tag: Amy Sequenzia

The Only Way Out Is Through: Or a Bit of the Story Behind Time Travel in a Closet

by digitalhyperlexic

The following is a slightly edited and expanded version of the introduction written for my thesis while studying in Ashland University’s MFA program. I will be defending my thesis this July, and in our introductions we were each asked to discuss a group of around ten texts that form the “literary genealogies” that influenced the poems in our theses . This is also intended as an update since my original #MyWritingProcess post, which I wrote prior to both beginning my MFA studies and my transition.

CONTENT WARNING: Mentions of suicide, physical and sexual abuse, homophobia, anti-blackness, and ABA.


“Everybody communicates. Words are beautiful. Our words have value.”

These words by author and autistic activist Amy Sequenzia are simple, clear, and remarkably profound. Infinitely beautiful, and bigger on the inside.

With my words, I come to you as a survivor, a man with scars both inside and out. I spent my childhood and adolescent years occupying a series of closets, all nestled within each other like Russian dolls. I knew that my family expected me to be a “good Christian girl,” not the oversized, socially awkward, frizzy-haired, hormone-driven, hopelessly unfeminine dork I saw in the mirror. In their eyes, that “me” was absolutely unacceptable, and they reminded me of this nearly every single day until I was eighteen years old. Meanwhile, I hid the physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse that I endured at their hands. They demanded that I keep all of this, too, inside a closet. Read the rest of this entry »

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Coming November 24 from Autonomous Press — The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children

by ravenswingpoetry

Mark your calendars for November 24, y’all. The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children from Autonomous Press is coming! As author and Neurotribes blogger Steve Silberman put it, this upcoming book is:

“Full of practical advice and transcendent ‘Aha!’ moments, The Real Experts offers young autistic people and their families the kind of wise mentorship from tribal elders that was unavailable in previous generations. It’s a landmark book.”

The book features essays by autistic authors and bloggers such as:

More info on The Real Experts is available on the Autonomous Press website.

 

Autistic Activist Amy Sequenza to Pope Francis: “Autism Speaks Does Not Speak for Me”

by ravenswingpoetry

Autistic activist Amy Sequenzia wrote an open letter to Pope Francis. You need to read it. Like, yesterday.

Why? Because in November 2014, the Vatican hosted a three-day conference on autism. Present and speaking at that conference was Suzanne Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks.

Her presence at the conference was quite unfortunate. Scratch that — it’s downright deplorable that she, along with her organization which continually stigmatizes autistic people and does not listen to autistic adult voices despite repeated efforts to reach out to them — gained an audience with His Holiness.

If you’re new to this — i.e. if you’re unfamiliar with the number of issues that autistic adults have with Autism Speaks below are a few reasons why autistic folk (myself included) have a problem with them. In short, Autism Speaks has:

  1. in its advertising, repeatedly relied on “offensive and outdated rhetoric of fear and pity, presenting the lives of autistic people as tragic burdens on our families and society”;
  2. has “supporting dangerous fringe movements that threaten the lives and safety of both the autism community and the general public“;
  3. in its fundraising, repeatedly diverted money “away from local communities“, resulting in less funding for “critical investments in services and supports needed by autistic people and our families”;
  4. in its own budgets has devoted little of its research money to the “the areas of most concern to autistic people and our families–services and supports, particularly for autistics reaching adulthood and aging out of the school system”; and,
  5. in its senior leadership “failed to include a single autistic person” — and the only autistic advisory board member, John Elder Robison, resigned after attempting to reform the organization from inside out and being met with resistance.

(Note: all quotes in the above list are from the “2014 Joint Letter to the Sponsors of Autism Speaks” by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.)

Research scientist, university professor, and blogger Emily Willingham also weighed in about why Autism Speaks’ audience with the Pope is a problem. Also, check out this transcript of Wright’s speech at Unstrange Mind. I also recommend the links below as further reading to understand the problem: