The event featured a presentation by Autistic teen, H, entitled “Dear Teacher: A Letter from Harrison”. H talked about supporting self advocacy in the classroom and strategies that teachers can use that embrace understanding and acceptance.
The film follows Autistic adult Laura Nagle and her struggles and triumphs in navigating a world that is not always friendly or supportive to Autistic people. Those in attendance enjoyed Laura’s unique perspective and humor in this award winning film. Immediately following the screening was a Q & A with the film’s coproducer Leah Kelley and myself, Lei Wiley-Mydske, AWN’s Community Outreach Coordinator and Director of the Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Lending Library.
Our discussion covered many topics beyond the film and H’s presentation. Questions from attendees included the topics of how to successfully support Autistic kids in classrooms, the price of compliance based therapies, how organizations like Autism Speaks work against the Autistic community and how to aid groups like AWN, the library, ASAN and other Autistic led and local organizations that support Autistic children and adults in our communities. We discussed the importance of Autistic culture and instilling a sense of Autistic pride as essential in developing confidence and selfworth in Autistic individuals.
I believe the event was very successful, based on the amount of requests we have to do another one, and also because we actually ran well over our allotted time!
I’d like to thank the StanwoodCamano Community Resource Center in Stanwood, WA for the use of their wonderful space and for being huge supporters of the library! Special thanks also to the folks at The Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Washington State who came all the way from Seattle to support AWN, the library and this event, and who generously shared their wisdom and experience by answering many of the questions from those in attendance!
Thanks to all who attended, supported and promoted this event. We were excited to see everyone from parents, grandparents, professionals, teachers and self advocates and activists in attendance. Thank you to the wonderful Leah Kelley and the Amazing H, who truly made this event possible.
Here are some more photos from the event!: