This Autistics Speaking Day, I presented at the American EducationalStudies Association conference on my paper, “Am I the Curriculum?”
Given the origin of Autistics Speaking Day as a response to a Communication Shutdown event, telling neurotypicals to get off social media for the day to simulate and empathise with autistic communication difficulties, I think giving this literal speech on Autistics Speaking Day was fitting.
Autistic people often use tools like social media to support our communication. I believe that our doing so should be considered as the communication support it is, just as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) researchers do for people they recognize as needing AAC. (I also think speaking autistic people should be recognized as needing AAC. Heck, AAC for everyone. Let's not depend on speech language pathologists specifically, or outsiders in general, to recognize communication difficulties that AAC could help with.)
I use social media to support my communication. That's literally what I'm doing with my blog. That's literally what Autistics Speaking Day is. The Internet is, so often, our lifeline. I am no exception to my statement that speaking autistic people can benefit from AAC, or that social media is part of this.
So speaking about my experience as an AAC user, as someone who often has to use tools other than speech (like social media, but not only social media) to communicate, on Autistics Speaking Day, seems fitting. Advocating for AAC for everyone, which I've said before and will say again, on Autistics Speaking Day, seems fitting.
And speaking back to the awkwardness of entering professional spaces as an autistic AAC user, to advocate for these changes, to advocate for increased access to AAC for us? Yes, that's part of Autistics Speaking Day too.