The Connection Newspapers (Virginia)
Members of The Tribe, a group of young adult nonspeaking autistics from the Washington, D.C. area, participate in a University of Virginia seminar on autism, and meet with state and local politicians.
“Gaining a fellowship, Jaswal created the seminar, ‘The Science & Lived Experience of Autism.’ It put 20 UVa students ‘on the front lines’ as Jaswal said, to examine studies in autism and work with stakeholders to create questions that reflect the interests of the autistic community. Jaswal included nonspeaking autistic peers along with his UVa students in the seminars. The autistics participated not as research subjects but were asked for meaningful comments on class readings, what was important in their lives, and input for study and advocacy program designs.”
Diego Peña, author of Anatomy of Autism: A Pocket Guide for Educators, Parents, and Students, shares how autism impacts his daily life as well as his plans to be a self-advocate. Diego is included in a general education class at his elementary school in Ventura County, California, where he has received very positive support.
“Autism controls the body,” Diego wrote. “Autism lives in the brain, which makes us act differently, but don’t confuse that with intelligence. I am strangled by my motor system and experience raw impulsivity. It’s hard to wake up knowing that every day is hard, but I love to fight for success!” he relayed. “Life with autism has taught me love and compassion towards everyone.”