Wow, I’m still reeling from the #AutismPositivity2012 flash blog.
What an amazing experience.
Monday really was an incredible outpouring of wonderfulness from the Autism blogosphere and beyond. I spent all day yesterday (quite literally) glued to my computer – I did much of the webmaster duties for the flash blog (woot for being good with computers – yay tech support) and spent all day working out kinks, posting links, and reading some of the most powerful essays I’ve ever seen.
The #AutismPoitivity2012 Flash Blog was absolutely a success. We had well over 130 participants, I think the final tally will lie somewhere between 140 and 150, once the dust settles and we manage to enumerate it. There were messages from parents of autistic kids, autistic adults, professionals, caretakers, friends, family, and even a few autistic children. There were pieces from those looking strongly for a cure, and those who wouldn’t go for a cure no matter what. There were people who are happy with their lives, and people who aren’t. There were young people, old people, and people in between. People from all over the world participated, regardless of whether they had a blog or not. It was an amazing coming together of the autism community, to share a collective message: we are here for you, with open arms, to help you through the struggles, and nurture your strengths. Regardless of how people felt about Autism (and personally, I wouldn’t get rid of it for the world – if you haven’t already, please read my post here), they bonded together to provide support, love, and caring to all Autistic individuals. And that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, read, or experienced.
Not bad for an idea which was sparked quite literally only 7 days before the flash blog went live.
Over the course of 24 hours last Sunday, a wonderful group of bloggers hatched an idea. A wonderful idea, to spread the message of love and acceptance and really finish this year’s April with a bang. At first, it was just going to be a few of us, writing letters to “I Wish I didn’t have Asperger’s”, but then the idea grew, and we grew with it. A name was developed, a call for submissions was composed, and a wordpress webpage was born, and set to go live at midnight, Eastern Time, exactly 7 days before the beginning of the event. And then the idea took. People started sharing it. Then the week wore on, and the initial excitement waned. Yet when Sunday evening rolled around, we started getting emails. Wonderful emails from people all over the world, celebrating Autism. Celebrating their friends, family, loved ones, and themselves. Telling the world it was OK to be Autistic. It is amazing to be Autistic. And that no matter what, there is a huge support network out there in the “internet-land” where you can go for support. There are hundreds of people out there who value you, a unique, autistic individual, for who you are. People who understand when the going is tough, who will stay with you when times are hard, but who will also help reach inside you, and develop your strengths, to help you shine and be the best person you can be. They are there to comfort the sadness, and to celebrate the triumphs, and to accept you, exactly as you are.
And in the end, that’s what Autism Acceptance is all about, isn’t it?
And so I’d like to say a huge, heartfelt “THANK YOU” to everyone who participated, tweeted, facebooked, read, commented, emailed, or was in any way part of the event. YOU helped make a difference. And even further, I would like to give a special acknowledgement to the other members of Thinking About Perspectives, whose conversations brought about this awe-inspiring event, and whose superb teamwork, and unrelenting enthusiasm, complimentary skillsets, and extraordinary hard work went into making it happen.
We’re already planning for next year.