Autistic Activist, Archivist & Blogger, Steph Diorio, Inspires the Forum to Move Beyond Autism Awareness
Steph Diorio, the local history librarian/archivist at the Hoboken Public Library was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2009 and has been a tireless autism advocate ever since. She speaks at conferences and blogs about the issues autistic people face including: (1) accessibility; (2) being infantilized/talked down to; (3) being taken seriously; and (4) being talked over by parents and “experts.”
Steph has been blogging and talking to all who would listen since 2010 in an attempt to support other autistic people and amplify their voices. As both a passionate autism advocate and gamer, Steph started the Autistic Gaming Initiative , a group that provides a social outlet for autistic gamers, as well as, a vehicle to raise money for autism charities run by and for autistic people.
In answer to the question, “If I’m not autistic, how can I help autistic people I know,” Steph stresses the importance of listening to them. If an autistic person tells you that a type of therapy, an organization or a societal expectation is harmful to autistic people, believe them! She also urges us to reject the medical model that describes autism as a condition to be treated. As Steph says, “We don’t “have” autism, we “are” autism.
Steph Diorio’s presentation slides can be viewed at the link below: