“People with special needs should be accepted into society along with everyone else. The value of a person shouldn’t be solely fixed by his or her skills and talent or lack of them. It’s how you strive to live well that allows others to understand your awesomeness as a human being.” – Naoki Higashida, autistic nonspeaking author.
April is World Autism Month. Life can be isolating and lonely for people who cannot express their basic needs or experiences in a way that the rest of the world understands. Over 50 % of autistic people are nonspeaking or partially speaking, and the Autistics Worldwide Facebook Group has put out an appeal that, as an Autistic or as an ally, this April should be about acceptance rather than awareness, and to leave out the puzzle pieces, burden talk, the colour blue, and miracle cures from the dialogue.
Action in Autism, a non-profit organisation that strives to improve services and resources for autistic people and their families, is asking people to respect, acknowledge and accept neurological and communication differences, and to join Autistic people, their caregivers, and families, educators, and concerned professionals for a silent Bring and Share, from 10 am to 12 am at the Action in Autism Centre, 105 Haig Road, Park Hill, on Saturday 10 April.
Those attending will be encouraged to use only alternative means of communication – signs, gestures, pointing, tapping or drawing – for the duration of the event. Following the two hours, Disability Rights Lawyer and Academic Willene Holness, as the keynote speaker for the day, will address those in attendance.
There is no prescribed fee, but a donation of R50 per family would be highly appreciated. Action in Autism does not receive funding from government and relies on donations and support from the community for the continuation of their Early Intervention programme, Adult Skills, and Business Hub and support and advocacy services.
The central focus of Action in Autism is to improve the quality of life for people with Autism Spectrum Condition and their caregivers. The organisation builds partnerships between Autistic people and provides information, services, learning, and research to the community.
The organisation’s flagship programmes are its Early Learning Intervention Centre and Walk-in Resource Centre, and the Shahumna Centre, a Skills Transfer and Business Hub for Autistic adults. Speaking is not the only form of communication. Honor and accept those who have communication and social difficulties, and join the Autistic community at the Action in Autism Centre on 10 April.
If you would like to support Action in Autism through donations in cash or kind or through volunteering, or if you would like to join the Silent picnic, please call 031 563 3039, or email email@example.com.
For more visit: actioninautism.org.za