Atlanta RPMer, Reece, has something to tell us about being a “southern autistic”! In my last visit to Atlanta in March, Reece and I talked about Ari Ne’eman and the Autism Self Advocacy Network. As soon as Reece started communicating via RPM in November of 2014, he expressed a desire to help other nonspeaking autistics. His voice has been heard as the Atlanta RPM community continues to grow by leaps and bounds!
Tell me about what you just learned about Ari.
ARI FOUNDED ASAN WHEN HE WAS 18. HE LIVES IN DC WITH MY MOST SPECIAL ELIZABETH.
Can you relate to Ari’s experience of being autistic?
SOME PEOPLE CONSIDER AUTISM A BURDEN. JUST SO HAPPY NOBODY HAS EVER MADE ME FEEL THAT WAY.
Ari talks about this diagnosis and the reaction of others to autism.
I KNEW I WAS DIFFERENT. CHANGED NOTHING WHEN I GOT A LABEL.
What are your thoughts about ASAN?
ASAN IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE IT IS RUN BY AUTISTICS. DEFINITELY AGREE THAT AUTISTICS NOT NORMALS SHOULD ALLOCATE THE RESOURCES FOR AUTISM.
Ari talks about expectations of fitting into the typical world. What is your experience?NORMALS GET OBSESSED WITH MAKING US LIKE THEM. SOUTHERNERS ARE SO STUCK ON MANNERS. I THINK IT IS HARDER TO BE A SOUTHERN AUTISTIC!
How about the balance of fitting into the typical world as well as the autistic community?BECAUSE I AM AUTISTIC I NEED TO BE AROUND OTHER AUTISTICS. HOWEVER AT THE SAME TIME I NEED TO FIT IN THE NORMAL WORLD.
Anything else you want to add?
ELIZABETH YOU ALWAYS HAVE A SLY WAY OF GETTING ME RILED UP. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!
Reece, I love you too! I was raised with Southern etiquette as well and yes, there are a lot of rules! Reece’s thoughts do make me wonder if experiences of autistic people vary from region to region. I love that my kids always present me with new thoughts to ponder… Reece has been a tremendous leader in the Atlanta community and his new voice is being heard loud and clear far beyond Atlanta! Keep advocating for yourself and others Reece!
~Elizabeth and Reece