There’s a lot going on. There’s the #BoycottAutismSpeaks movement amplifying the voices of autistic people against Autism Speaks, and calling A$ out on their behaviour. There’s a petition against People magazine demanding an apology for printing Autism Speak’s article, and there’s a petition against Google for its involvement with Aut10k – Autism Speaks’s genome research project.
There’s a problem with a lot of these petitions. We’re disorganised, making a scattershot approach at persuading sponsors to stop giving money to Autism Speaks by tweeting at them when we hear about their involvement. Our petitions frequently contain wording that’s problematic for some intersection of the Autistic community with another community or identity. Can we even be sure that we have a reliable list of companies to target?
I’m aware that we need well-written, professional looking petitions backed up with facts, and a frontperson to deliver them who is confident in approaching businesses for conversations about Autistic representation. While I feel I could probably write a reasonable petition or two, given enough time, I lack the experience and the spoons to front a campaign.
I could, I suppose, try to bring some of these petitions to the attention of bigger organisations in the hopes that they will offer to help improve the tone and wording, and possibly front for or with those who have less experience. I don’t know how successful I’d be at that, and all the time I’m thinking about the dent this will make in my precious spoon drawer.
There are other options. I can focus on my writing here, although having material that I feel I can say more than a few sentences about isn’t a given. I could do outreach, packaging bite-sized pieces of the Autistic experience into images and setting them loose on the web in the hopes that it improves public understanding.
There’s even an idea in the works for a small web app that would provide a way of visualising a (very simplified) spectrum to allow Autistic people to create their own graph images to display their unique skills and challenges. I hope this kind of image would counter the idea that autism is a sliding scale of functioning labels. The idea is inspired by Shades of Slander by Alanna Rose Whitney, who describes a simplified spectrum in the form of a radar chart detailing traits in a set of segments.
There are so many things I want to do, so many things that need doing, and so few spoons with which to do them. Right now I’m stuck in the grasp of a paralysing indecision and fear of failure. I’m reaching out. What can I do? Where will I do the most good? Comments welcome.