I am a speaking autistic woman. Even so, I rarely have fluid access to my speech. Often times I have in mind something I would like to discuss with a friend so as to get their thoughts and ideas on the topic, but even though I know what I want to discuss the words are not available as speaking words. Oh, I know the words – they are in my head – I just cannot get them to come out of my mouth at will.
Autism is a developmental delay. This is particularly important when it comes to our youth who are at the age typical youth graduate from high school and launch into their adult life. Typically developing youth are ready to go off to college or become employed in a full time job upon high school graduation. For a few, this happens immediately upon high school graduation, but for most it takes another process where they work a job, attend higher education, and move away from the family home – either all at once or a little at a time so that over the next few years the high school graduates find their starting place in the big wide world.
Common Threads Family Resource Center in McFarland, Wisconsin, USA is a wonderful organization meeting the complex needs of individuals on the autism spectrum and other significant challenges. I work for and have been connected with Common Threads for many years and am so happy to let you know we have been selected as one of the 200 finalists in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist® program! Our submission, along with the other finalists, are live on Facebook and anyone who gets the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook application can log on and vote for our cause. I am asking you to please vote for our MEANINGFUL EMPLOYMENT project, but first, let me tell you a bit about this venture.
Many any individuals with classic autism seem to have neurological movement differences. When these movement differences play out in our bodies, it is easy for onlookers to see, as we may get stuck in one position or in repetitive movement. Sometimes there can be difficulty in getting a body movement going, and at other times once our body is in motion, we cannot stop even if we want to.
I recently presented to a room full of people on the topic of Autistic People and Literacy. A few days later I again presented to another group of people on another autism related topic. It doesn’t matter the autism topic or whether the group I am presenting to be educators, therapists, or parents of children with autism – I am almost always approached by someone wanting to know how it is that I do not look or act anything like the autistic children they know.