Guest Blogger: Terra Starr Smith, Counselor, Podcaster, Writer, Follower of Joy.
Belong – to go along with.
How do we cultivate a sense of belonging in our autistic loved ones and especially in autistic persons of color? What steps can we take to practice inclusion and acceptance? It starts with extending full humanity to all autistic individuals. We must allow people with autism to show up fully as themselves in all spaces and offer the financial, medical, and mental health and community resources to families who help support autistic individuals. We must do the anti-racism work in our schools, communities, and business places to address critical gaps in those offered resources and continue to build local, state, and national policies that seek to make it easier for those with autism to fully participate in their communities. We need to fully fund public schools and allow teachers and students to have what they need to imagine a truly inclusive setting. And finally, we need to center autistic voices and follow the lead of Black activists and parents like Maria.
The most fundamental human need is to belong. As Dr. Angelou stated “The price is high. The reward is great.”
Support of Autism
Our hearts were full as we read this Washington Post piece about a young man named Ryan Lowry. Ryan is autistic and his recent outreach seeking a job (and the response it received!), speaks to the goodness in this world. No doubt there will be many who take “a chance” on Ryan. He and others living with autism are more than worthy.
Word to the wise. Our differences make us stronger and better. Let’s champion and celebrate the acceptance and inclusion everywhere.