30 December 2011

2011: Year in Review from Autistic Hoya

This has been a whirlwind year for me and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Here are some dates! Let me know if any information is inaccurate, or if there are missing dates that should be added. Thanks!


- Year round: Several members of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network New England and another Autistic person serve on the Adult Services Subcommittee to the Massachusetts autism commission. Those are Dusya Lyubovskaya, Kevin Barrett, Phil Schwarz, Sara Willig, Joyce Kohn, and me.

- 29 January: I host book discussion group entitled "Characters on the Spectrum" concerning Jodi Picoult's House Rules novel.

- 1 April: Autistic Self Advocacy Network signs joint letter to Center for Disease Control concerning the problematic proposal to create the medical code "wandering."

- 2 April: Autistic Self Advocacy Network in Columbus, Ohio hosts coffeehouse showcasing creative material by Autistic people.

- April: Cafe Press agrees to allow shop owners who sell products with the tag "autism" to opt out of the April 2011 fundraiser for Autism Speaks.

- May: Loving Lampposts documentary juxtaposing the neurodiversity and pro-cure perspectives, from Autistic people, parents, Autistic parents, professionals, and others is released.

- 19 May: Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security holds hearing on bill to mandate training about autism for law enforcement and corrections officers. Autistic people and allies submit written and oral testimony.

- 26 May: Judge Rotenberg Center's Matthew Israel forced to resign under a plea bargain after being charged with lying to a grand jury and destroying evidence.

- 26 May: I presented and defended the findings of over a year of research into Autistic Characters in Literature at a public event.

- 25 June: Autistic Self Advocacy Network New England hosts focus group on Autism and Ethics for Autism NOW Center, with Ari Ne'eman keynoting.

- July: Autistic Hoya blog launches.

- July: Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services holds hearings on proposed regulations to severely restrict use of electric shock aversives by the Judge Rotenberg Center.

- 30 July: Wretches & Jabberers documentary about Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher, two adult non-speaking Autistic men who learned to communicate by typing late in life, is released theatrically.

- 5 August: Neurodiversity Symposium at Syracuse University, with Ari Ne'eman keynoting.

- 1-5 August: Autism Network International's annual Autreat conference in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

- 8-10 August: Autistic Self Advocacy Network presents the self-advocacy strand of the 2011 Autism Summer Institute at the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability.

- September: Thinking Person's Guide to Autism hosts the Self-Advocate/Parent dialogues that run for two weeks, including the perspectives of Autistic and non-Autistic people, as well as parents who are Autistic.

- September: Autistic Self Advocacy Network announces partnership with Freddie Mac to provide paid career-track internships for Autistic adults in return for training and education for interviewers and managers.

- October: Autistic Self Advocacy Network publishes Navigating College: A Handbook on Self Advocacy Written for Autistic Students from Autistic Adults, which is also available for purchase through the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability.

- 1 November: Second annual Autistics Speaking Day, leading to the award for Exceptional Services to the Autistic Community for creators Corina Lynn Becker and Kathryn Bjørnstad. Autistics Speaking Day receives significant publicity.

- November: Massachusetts adopts the proposed regulations curtailing the use of electric shock aversives by the Judge Rotenberg Center.

- 16 November: Autistic Self Advocacy Network celebrates its fifth anniversary at the National Press Club in Washington D.C, honoring Bjørnstad and Becker as well as Nancy Thaler for Outstanding Ally of the Year.

- 10 December: Autistic Self Advocacy Network hosts the Symposium on Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Autism Research at Harvard Law School, after which federal grant reviewing boards look to include Autistic grant reviewers.

- 19 December: After launch of petition at by an Autistic person, Autistic student Emily Holcomb's mother, Jenny Holcomb, enters into successful mediation with school officials.

- 20 December: Georgetown University Department of Psychology and Psi Chi psychology honors society agree to include an Autistic researcher panelist, Scott Robertson, on an upcoming panel in February 2012 entitled "Multiple Perspectives on Autism."

- 21 December: Petition launched at by an Autistic person on behalf of Autistic student Chris Baker will gather close to 150,000 signatures after national media attention and publicity by Autistic people, non-Autistic parents, and other allies.

- 23 December: Autism Education Project unofficially launched.

- December: Launch of the Loud Hands Project: Autistic People, Speaking by Julia Bascom for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

Oh, and by the way, 2011 also saw the Arab Spring, the Occupy protests, the deaths of Usama bin Ladin and Kim Jong Il and Muammar Ghadafi, the nuclear plant panic in Japan, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, Anders Behring Breivik's killing spree, a power struggle between the Ayatollahs and Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, and probably a few other things too. Those are just a few.


  1. 1st week of August: Autism Network International's annual Autreat conference, in Johnstown, PA.

  2. Added, thank you for the reminder! :)


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