Saturday, December 22, 2007

The First Protest and Protest Diary

====As I posted on AFF after the walk=====
On Sunday October 24, 2004, I protested the NAAR walk here on Long Island. I was nervous. I am fairly sure I was the first person with aspergers to challenge their beliefs openly. They all see themselves as the autistic community. We are the *REAL* autistic community and it is time to set the record straight.

At first I was hesitant. Why walk?. A majority of people doing the walk Have LFA Children. But as I read thru NAAR's web site,I became even more convinced that to protest was the right thing to do. For Example here is a link:

The article supposedly takes the viewpoint of a younger brother of a child who has aspergers. The tone and character of this so called letter was disgusting. It describes the horror of the parents realizing their child has aspergers. How they dread that the younger one might be as well. You see NAAR groups us all as the same, whether you are LFA, HFA, aspergers as defectives not humans. NAAR will point to us and say "see they are crazy, they want your child to be LFA" Which is far from the truth We are protesting lumping HFA/AS as something to be cured along
with LFA. Totally off the wall.

This event was held on jones beach which is on a very small island off of Long Island.

There is a 4 lane highway (with a median) that stretches across the islet. It is very long with a small width. The beach is on both sides. There various underpasses that connect both sides.

I had three large posters. And small number of leaflets. The posters were the following

Say NO to NAAR


Autistics Are Intelligent





"Theory of Mind" is the new appendix.


I held them up switching between them. I was first all very concerned with my safety.

I decided to protest from outside the fence. I went to a place where I could be seen by a number of people. Most importantly I was facing the stage. The Co-Chairs of the event saw me. Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and a local celebrity Jim Watkins. They saw all of my signs. One guy gave me "the finger"- A gestural obscenity. One lady came by. She
mentioned she was a nurse at a hospice. She tried to convince that "why wouldn't some body not want a cure?". She also said now if a cure was available Why shouldn't they take? Dont you want to be normal?". She was looking at me and talking to me like "oh you poor thing". I told her my position. She would not listen. The typical arrogance of the self righteous. I finally told her bottomline I am drawing a line in the sand. "This far and no father". I held up sign between me and her until she went away. A couple guys came up . Remember there was a fence in between us. They told me to get out of here. They refused to take a flyer. The previous lady told them to leave me alone. They grudgingly left. They called me a couple of obscenities.

When the walk started I found an excellent location from which all the walkers could see my signs and yet help ensure my safety. (safety is key folks!). I stood at the edge of one the underpasses where the walk went thru. I waved the signs. I was given the finger yet again a few times. I was told to "go home", I responded - "I am home, This is my world too" .I was called countless obscenities. "Get a life". "Get a job".That one puzzled me. What do they know about my situation?. I looked all around constantly. I did not want someone to sneek up and hurt me. Remember they are looking for an excuse to call you "handicap" so do not act on any agressive displays. They are trying to get you to do something that they can use against you.

In America, Protesting is a protected right. Be peaceful and cooperate with the police. The idea is to be heard and be noticed not to earn a police record. DO Not be araid to run away if you feel threatened, I know was ready to run if I had to. Be aware of your surroundings.

At the end of the walk I stood at the exit when they were leaving. I stayed there till the lot was almost empty and the park workers had shutdown all but one exit. I had a few cars come by stop and ask me questions. When they stop I was nervous and ready to run. I again was
called names and obscenities. Twice a car stopped , and the guy in the driving seat tried to spit at me. NAAR knows now. Dont think they are not thinking about what happened. They are preparing to prevent it again, if they can.


Ballastexistenz said...

NAAR will point to us and say "see they are crazy, they want your child to be LFA" Which is far from the truth We are protesting lumping HFA/AS as something to be cured along with LFA. Totally off the wall.

Great, then the rest of us will have to clean up after the mess some people have made by separating "HFA/AS" out from "LFA" to begin with and declaring "LFA" as in need of a cure. :-/

An American said...


I wasnt saying nor AFF ever said LFA needed curing nor ever said HFA/Aspegers was different from LFA intrinsically.
I was writing from a NAAR person's thought pattern.
On fact amy nelson once told me if she had to over again she would go with autistic not aspies in aspiesforfreedom but she already bought the domainnames and it was already out there.

Anonymous said...

If you are cured, you won't be crazy and nobody will spit at you.

An American said...

Gotta love it they are now posting on my blog. Sorta a mark of honor. I am part of the club now i guess

Rose said...

Good for you for having the guts!

The people you changed were not the ones cussing and flipping you off. They were the quiet ones who were going home to look up "Aspiesforfreedom", and were the only ones who really mattered.

Chaoticidealism said...

Hey, good job with the protest. That must've taken guts :) Let's hope there were people who listened, rather than just those who got angry.

But I think you should do a bit more research on the more disabled people on the Spectrum--those labeled low-functioning, generally the nonverbal or non-language-using who need full-time aides. (LFA is a pretty nebulous category that means different things to different people; so you have to define it when you say it. And remember that the same person can be in or out of that category depending on life stress, regression, or situation...)

Anyway, these people often have the exact same opinions that we do; the degree of disability doesn't have much to say about whether or not they want their minds tampered with. And remember that if you exclude low-functioning individuals (I don't think you are; I just figure you haven't thought about it much), then you also exclude them from any rights we might gain through protest. Their parents are already scared, "who's going to advocate for them when I'm gone?", and I think we could really help there. They can't ignore us nearly as easily if they can't take away communication devices or say we're trained monkeys; and if we yell loud enough, I have a feeling they'll have trouble ignoring the rest of the spectrum too.

Just a thought. But you're seriously going in the right direction.

Ballastexistenz said...

Now I'm confused. I wasn't talking about AFF, just about what you wrote there.