Back in October, Julia Bascom of JustStimming wrote a post reacting to a moment on Glee called “Quiet Hands”, In it, she showed beautifully the struggle that thousands (millions?) of Autistic kids and adults go through every day as society forces us to stop stimming and stop using our hands. For many of us, the way our hands move IS communication. And stopping them from moving is incredibly destructive. Its message is clear: by silencing our hands, you are silencing us. If you haven’t already seen the post (or if you have, since it is always worth another read), please go read it. While I give most of the credit of my starting a blog at all to Nominatissima, whose blog is one of my all time favorites, this one post gave me the final push.
Quiet Hands started a new wave in Autistic self-advocacy, and changed the way many people, especially parents, viewed stims and saw the education system. And perhaps most importantly, it launched the Loud Hands Project, a transmedia (multiple media platforms) project by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network that will begin by creating a website and anthology called: “Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking”. The goal? Give Autistic people a voice that can be shared with other Autistic people (and non-Autistic people) around the world, providing empowerment to individuals of all ages and abilities on the spectrum. As a young Autistic person, who spent her whole childhood assuming that she was broken, defective, and otherwise worthless, unable to fit into the world, and punished over and over again for her stims and Autistic behaviors, having this book and accompanying website and other projects would have been wonderful. The project’s first piece of media, the video they made to go with the fundraising page, is below:
(Also, the creators of this video have done wonders for the disability community in general, by providing not only subtitles on the video, but a visual transcription in the youtube video description, thereby making it accessible to a much wider audience. While I have incredibly good hearing, my auditory processing can get mixed up fairly easily, and so having subtitles so that I can follow what is being said as I hear it (especially when there’s other things going on), is wonderful.)
This is another one of those posts that I’ve been sitting on for months, and as the initial fundraising period is over in 5 days, I decided that I really should get it up here, even if it wasn’t really at my preferred level of quality yet. The project is needed, badly, in this community. Where many of us are raised to believe we’re broken, and abused for our Autistic traits, it is vial that we spread the message to all people, Autistic or not, that we are not broken, subhuman, or invisible. We are important, smart individuals who may communicate in a different way. My parents were and still are big proponents of the “quiet hands” methods. My hands are echolalic (a post for another time, but for now understand that I finger-spell every word from conversation that comes in, and I often finger-spell single words or phrases from my thoughts. My hands literally communicate what I’m thinking and hearing, and it helps me process words and other things), and my parents love to grab my hands and stop them from moving. So despite the symbolism of the phrase “having loud hands”, I quite literally do have “loud hands” that communicate my thoughts and emotions.
The original fundraising campaign was hugely successful, with the initial $10,000 goal surpassed within the first 3 weeks! However that $10,000 was for the anthology. There are many many other, much-needed parts of the project, including building the website, and making a documentary, that can be made into reality with additional funding. And so, if you haven’t already, I ask you to please go look at the Loud Hands Project on indiegogo, and if you can, donate something, however small, to the project. There are other benchmarks for fundraising listed on the website, and the funding is going to an incredibly important cause, and every little bit helps. There are 5 days left in the fundraising campaign, so lets make those 5 days count!
I’ve been trying to write something to submit to the anthology, so we’ll see what comes of that. More information about the project, including submissions guidelines and other important and interesting stuff, can be found on its tumblr page. Thanks for reading this!