Today (Yesterday for people who live in my timezone) was supposed to be a day of silence on the web. It was supposed to mark (or model?) the concept of people on the spectrum having communication difficulties.
It's not working.
There's quite a lot of opposition to this idea - here are my thoughts...
People with autism are not silent. We do have communication challenges but we overcome them. In fact, computers are one of the best tools for overcoming these challenges and it's amazing how much has been said recently by so many people whom others believed couldn't communicate at all.
Why would we want to be silent?
Isn't silence a mark of respect for someone who has died?
We haven't died. In fact the new-found freedom of the technological age has given us new life.
The rapid shift from slow letter writing, to email and then to instant messaging has had the effect of making us louder and giving us a chance to be heard. Not that we couldn't always be heard. If you were willing to listen, you could always have heard us. It's just that now we're a little more difficult to ignore.
Now, instead of trying to analyse gaps in conversations to look for an "in", we can just "jump in" to a forum, post our comments online or even start our own blogs and discussion topics.
If we really wanted to model how people on the spectrum were treated in everyday conversations, we could all talk online but you'd simply ignore most of what the person on the spectrum says. Just talk over them, offer unsolicited and "rude" advice - and if you feel like it, simply move your conversations away from them.
That's a more accurate model of how our inter-personal communication goes but it's nothing to celebrate and a model like that wouldn't help anyone.
Instead, I think we should just keep going on, as if this is just another ordinary day. Be ourselves and be thankful that social and technological advanaces mean that our voices are getting louder.
It's not silence at all.
Increasingly, our voices are being heard.
Some other voices from Autistic "Speaking" Day.
Corabelle from Aspie-Girl-World
Rachel from Journeys with Autism
Hartley from Hartley's Boys
Matt from Dude, I'm an Aspie
Add yours to the comments...