Happy New Year!

Early April 2011 began with Rethinking Autism releasing their newest PSA: Autism Support Group. It was really great to see actress, and autistic advocate, Tammy Klein starring in the newly released Public Service Announcement. What an amazing message and rockin’ video coming from Dana Commandatore and Michael Broderick’s camp again!

During the month of May we saw the release of one of the most widely acclaimed and honored autism documentaries, Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic. The film’s director, Todd Drezner captures the diversity of autism, the community, and the many voices therein, by simultaneously shining a light on the many angles of autism and neurodiversity.

Then there were blogs, blogs and more blogs! In 2011, the autism community made an about face from years past when this year it insisted that blogging positive was the way to go for autism advocacy’s future. The shining stars whom the autism community praised as ‘getting it right’ not only did so due to their authentic approach, but because of their honest style, and their insistence on hurting no one in the process.

Perhaps the most buzzed about blogs are those of autistic advocate Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg’s, Journeys with Autism: “Autistic Blogs” and “Positive Autism Parenting Blogs.” Rachel explains, “The divide between autistics and parents can feel very deep and wide, but I’m determined to help bridge it by highlighting blogs that I feel do an excellent job of balancing the challenges of parents with respect for autistic people.”

Autism and Empathy: Dispelling Myths and Breaking Stereotypes is Rachel’s other blog where she posts a variety of contributions from other bloggers as well as personally blogging herself in this richly vulnerable and honest format which lays bare the many colors of truth encompassing the autism spectrum via empathy, tolerance, and loving acceptance.

New to the blogosphere is autistic advocate, and sex and disability blogger, Lindsey Nebeker. Lindsey’s blog at Naked Brain Ink includes a recent post with an informativeslideshow addressing the barriers which disabled people oftentimes face, and why sexual rights and disability advocacy matter.

Another great blog showcasing the efforts of other bloggers is the Shift Journal of Alternatives: Neurodiversity and social change. One of the recent 2011 highlights of Shift was Julia Bascom’s, The Obsessive Joy of Autism.

One autistic blogger in 2011 who tackled tough topics, and always manged to handle herself as well as treating all others with dignity and respect is Lydia Brown.  Lydia is a Georgetown University College Student, ASAN Activist, and AWN Volunteer who made headlines recently for starting a petition to speak out against the treatment of Chris Baker, the autistic student who was instructed by his teacher’s aide to climb inside an Abilitations BagOBalls bag, which is intended for therapeutic purposes to “control his autistic behavior.” The drawstring was fastened, and Chris was left alone in a hallway until his mother later arrived and demanded he be removed. Lydia blogs at Autistic Hoya.

The year was coming to a close with The Autistic Self Advocacy Network hosting aSymposium on Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Autism Research at Harvard Law School, and they celebrated their five year anniversary, as well as also becoming a 501 C-3 non profit. Kudos ASAN!

With our second year anniversary fast approaching in January 2012, Autism Women’s Network reflects back over the past year with much gratitude as a year to be remembered for our learning the value of patience.  While we wait for our non-profit status, we look to 2012 with a positive attitude.

We closed the year out with AWN East Coast Regional Director Carol Greenburg taking the lead in hosting a webinar about girls and women on the autism spectrum in early December. A valuable lesson we’ve learned as an organization is to make adjustments when necessary, and while we are still waiting on our non-prof status in order to obtain the means necessary to meet our goal so we can offer workshops, Autism Women’s Network will be moving forward with an accessible goal of hosting additional webinars in 2012. Also, AWN Blog Talk Radio Show is slated to move back into production during the new year as well.

With so many happy memories of yesteryear, we wish all of you a very happy and positive new year in 2012!

“Whenever you fall, pick something up.” ~Oswald Avery


** For a complete listing of this year’s online blog/article listings, check out The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism 2011 Year in Review; and kudos to our pals over at TPGA for the release of their book in 2011!

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