May 16-17, 2019 Forum

Gyasi Burks-Abbott Shares His Personal & Professional Journey as Disabilities Self-Advocate

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Gyasi TA19 2Gyasi Burks-Abbott is a librarian, writer, public speaker, autism self-advocate and a fellow with Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND), a nationwide training program including 52 locations across the nation, designed to improve the health of infants, children and adolescents with disabilities.

In his talk on Autism and Civil Rights, Gyasi shares a timeline depicting the slow paradigm shift from a medical model of disability to a social model, and from institutionalization to community inclusion.

The beginning of this shift is evidenced in the 1970s, in the following timeline, as disability begins to be treated as a protected class in anti-discrimination legislation:

  • 1973 – Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs receiving federal funds.
  • 1975 – Education for All Handicapped Children Act (later renamed IDEA) mandates a free and appropriate public education for all disabled children.
  • 1990 – Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, and public services.
  • 1999 – US Supreme Court Olmstead Decision rules that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • 2014 – Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Final Rule mandates that federal funds used for Home and Community Based Services must be in the most integrated setting.

Lei Wiley-Mydske Shares the True Meaning of Autism Acceptance and the Importance of Neurodiversity Libraries

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Of Lei Wiley-Mydske’s many endeavors, this autistic adult, disability activist and proud wife and mother in a neurodivergent family spearheaded a movement to create neurodiversity libraries throughout the world.  She started her own neurodiversity library, the Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Library as a needed response to: (1) the abundance of mainstream messages about autism that focus on fear, stigma and pity; (2) the lack of inclusion in school and community; (3) the dominance of parent-centered “support” resources; (4) the strong focus on  the pathology paradigm/medical model; (5) the lack of attention paid to diverse autistic voices; and (6) the widespread misunderstanding of the meaning of acceptance.

The need to counter the negative messages and the suppression of autistic voices is inherent in the mission of autism acceptance and neurodiversity libraries.  Neurodiversity libraries serve to:  (1) curate and provide access to a collection of information, materials and resources on autism acceptance & neurodiversity; (2) amplify autistic voices; (3) reflect the goals of the neurodiversity movement and paradigm, as well as, the larger disability rights and disability justice movements; (4) fight stigma, ableism, oppression & inaccessibility; (5) celebrate autistic culture & autistic pride; and (6) promote inclusive schools & communities.

Lei provided the following example of a few books and films  that would be a good start to an autism acceptance collection in any library:

BOOKS:

The Real Experts edited by Michelle Sutton

The ABC’s of Autism Acceptance by Sparrow Rose Jones

Typed Words, Loud Voices edited by Amy Sequenzia and Elizabeth Grace

Ask & Tell: Self Advocacy & Disclosure For People On the Autism Spectrum edited by Stephen Shore

All The Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism edited by Lydia X.Z. Brown, Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, and E. Ashkenazy

What Every Autistic Girl Wishes Her Parents Knew edited by Emily Paige Ballou, Kristina Thomas & Sharon da Vanport

Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking edited by Julia Bascom

The Obsessive Joy of Autism by Julia Bascom

Knowing Why: Adult-Diagnosed Autistic People on Life and Autism edited by Elizabeth Bartmess

I Think I Might Be Autistic: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and Self-Discovery for Adults by Cynthia Kim

Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap: NT is OK!  by Clay Morton and Gail Morton

 

 

FILMS:

Loving Lampposts: Living Autistic

https://www.lovinglamppostsmovie.com/

Wretches & Jabberers

Spectrum: A Story of the Mind

Deej

Citizen Autistic

 

To view Lei Wiley-Mydske’s full powerpoint presentation, click on the following link:

lei TA 2019

 

 

 

 

Dilshad D. Ali Discusses Making Libraries More Welcoming to Muslims with Autism & Other Disabilities

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At the Targeting Forum, Dilshad D. Ali, autism mom, activist and 2015 White House “Champion of Change,” shared some classic misconceptions that people may have about Muslims, including the following:

  1. Mainly immigrant communities (rather than a vast range of first- and second- generation Muslim Americans)
  2. Muslims are mainly from the Middle East
  3. Muslims are identified by their headscarves, clothing or perhaps beards on men (not true!  All types of Muslims!)
  4. Language barriers

Issues facing the intersection of Muslims and Muslims with Autism in Public Spaces include the following:

Autism-related challenges

  1. Behavior challenges in social settings
  2. Sensory issues, where one must be quiet in certain situations or be able to navigate situations with people or crowds
  3. Reading social cues
  4. Challenges with waiting, engaging and interacting with others
  5. How behaviors are perceived in a public setting

Fear/pride of asking for help across cultures (Arab, Desi, Black Muslims)

Challenges Muslims face

  1. Suspicions (whether legitimate or perceived) due to visibility (Hijab or beard, other clothing)
  2. Micro-aggressions and other forms of minor or major Islamophobic actions
  3. Snap judgement (perpetuated by media stereotypes), whether legitimate or perceived
  4. Fear of asking questions/ asking for help
  5. Fear of law enforcement and figures of authority (can include librarians)

The Many Ways Libraries Can Be More Welcoming and Inclusive to Muslims with Autism and Their Families:

  • Like anyone living w/ autism, Muslim autism families are overwhelmed and may not know of the services libraries have to offer.   
  • Put up fliers or offer to put together an autism discussion at local mosques – a great way to reach the population. 
  • Reach out to Muslim autism families and individuals via social media with targeted messaging during key times – like Ramadan! (Ramadan greetings)
  • Have a dedicated section with information about Muslim-disability organizations as well as autism organizations and resources in general. 
  • Partner with schools to encourage library usage, using targeted messaging that welcomes folks from all religions and cultures.

 

Muslim Organizations and Networks Working on Disability Issues

Disability organizations primarily focused on American Muslim communities

  • MUHSEN (Muslims United for Handicap and Special Education Needs, muhsen.org), a non-profit striving to promote awareness, acceptance, and inclusion in Muslim communities and mosques (building model mosque disability inclusion programs)
  • EnabledMuslim (enabledmuslim.org), a project of American Muslim Health Professionals (amhp.us), is an online network providing spiritual and practical support for Muslims impacted by disabilities, both intellectual and physical
  • Global Deaf Muslim (globaldeafmuslim.org), a non-profit that advocates for the rights and needs of deaf Muslims worldwide and particularly strives to improve accessible Islamic education and programming

Disability organizations founded and led by Muslims, serving the needs of people of all faiths:

  • EquallyAble Foundation (equallyable.org), a non-profit seeking to empower and include people with disabilities worldwide, by helping provide education, employment, medical equipment, innovative technology, outreach to promote inclusion, and religious community supports
  • ETI – Empowerment Through Integration (etivision.org), a non-profit that propels disadvantaged blind youths to explore and achieve their career goals, with programs in the U.S., Lebanon, and more

Organizations serving the mental health needs of American Muslim communities:

  • Muslim Wellness Foundation (muslimwellness.com), an organization working to reduce stigma associated with mental illness, addiction and trauma in the American Muslim community
  • Naseeha Muslim Helpline (naseeha.net), 1-866-NASEEHA, a confidential youth helpline for young Muslims to receive immediate, anonymous, and confidential support over the phone
  • Stones to Bridges (stonestobridges.org), dedicated to empowering and supporting the needs of Muslim and other youth in North America, as a means to promote their emotional, social, and mental well-being
  • The Family & Youth Institute (thefyi.org), a non-profit research and education institute helping young people and their families realize their fullest potential through the development of the mind, body, and spirit

Muslim disability organizations and networks in Canada and the United Kingdom:

  • SMILE (smilecan.org), dedicated to supporting children living with disabilities and their families in Canada
  • Canadian Association for Muslims with Disabilities (camd.ca), focused on community-based approaches to meet the needs of Canadians with disabilities and their families
  • Disabled Muslims Network, UK (facebook.com/disabledmuslimsnetwork), working to support and assist Muslims who have a disability and Muslim parents of children with disabilities

 

Dilshad’s presentation slides are available at the link below and under the Resources tab of this blog:

Islam, Disability & Library Systems

Hurry – Register Now for the 2019 Targeting Autism Forum!!!

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There are some remaining seats for the 5th Annual Targeting Autism Forum, May 16 & 17, at Dominican University, River Forest IL.  Join us for an opportunity to network and learn about neurodiversity, civil rights and libraries from many nationally known experts and self-advocates.

Registration has been extended through April 19.  Email Suzanne Schriar for more information or to register.

Below are just a few of our speakers:

Dilshad Ali, Autism Advocate & White House “Champion of Change” Will Speak at the Targeting Autism Forum, May 16-17

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Dilshad D. Ali, an autism mom, has worked in the realm of autism advocacy for years, currently serving on the Advisory Board for Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs and in the past as the Chair of the Advisory Board for EnabledMuslim, affiliated with American Muslim Health Professionals.   She also serves on the Virginia Autism Advisory Council and advocated for the passage of an autism health insurance bill free of age caps, which came to fruition this past legislative year.  In 2015, in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the ADA, Dilshad was honored as a White House Champion of Change for her writing on autism, faith and family in Muslim communities on her blog The Muslimah Next Door.

Dilshad will share some of the challenges that Muslims who have autism and their families face in their own communities,  as well as, how we can better engage the autism Muslim community with libraries.

Registration for the Forum is open through April 15th or until we reach maximum capacity.  To register, send an email here.   Include your name, contact information, professional affiliation and a brief statement of what you hope to gain from attending the forum.

Lodging and meals (breakfast and lunch) are provided.  Because registration for the forum will probably exceed the number of hotel rooms available, please consider commuting if travel to Dominican University in River Forest, IL, is convenient.

Erin Miller, Self-Advocate and Co-Founder of SAVE IRIS (Include, Respect I Self-Direct) to Speak at the Targeting Autism Forum, May 16-17, 2019

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Erin Miller is an advocacy specialist at People First and is one of the co-founders of SAVE IRIS.  She has been public speaking since she was eight years old.  Among her accomplishments, Erin has completed the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related disorders (LEND) program, as well as completing a fellowship at the Wisconsin Women’s Network .  In addition, Erin is one of the co-founders of SAVE IRIS and frequently lectures at UW-Milwaukee’s special education department, where she trains future caring professionals going for their autism certificate.

Erin will share her insights on how having choices and living the good life is attainable for all, regardless of our challenges.

Registration for the Forum is open through April 15th or until we reach maximum capacity.  To register, send an email here.   Include your name, contact information, professional affiliation and a brief statement of what you hope to gain from attending the forum.

Lodging and meals (breakfast and lunch) are provided.  Because registration for the forum will probably exceed the number of hotel rooms available, please consider commuting if travel to Dominican University in River Forest, IL, is convenient.

Tom Iland, Nationally Known Autism Self-Advocate and Author to Speak at the 2019 Forum

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Tom Iland is a successful adult who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 13.  He is currently employed as a Certified Public Accountant and engages in an active work and social life.  Tom is also known for being an inspiring speaker and author.  He is a Distinguished ToastMaster, an honor reserved for a select group of speakers worldwide with extensive training and years of experience.

As a young man with autism, Tom has extensive, first-hand experience in looking for and obtaining employment, creating and maintaining relationships, practicing and educating about safety with law enforcement, and giving advice about the benefits of making someone’s autism known, instead of being kept a secret.

Tom’s recent book, Come to Life:  Your Guide to Self-Discovery, offers practical suggestions based on experience to help parents, educators and other self-advocates find the motivation in themselves to embrace adulthood.

Registration for the Forum is open through April 15th or until we reach maximum capacity.  To register, send an email here.   Include your name, contact information, professional affiliation and a brief statement of what you hope to gain from attending the forum.

Lodging and meals (breakfast and lunch) are provided.  Because registration for the forum will probably exceed the number of hotel rooms available, please consider commuting if travel to Dominican University in River Forest, IL, is convenient.