Steph Diori Explains That Autistic People Need to Play a Key Role in Discussions about Serving the Autism Community

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At the 2019 Targeting Autism Forum, Steph Diorio, librarian, blogger, autistic self-advocate and founder of Autistic Gaming Initiative, discussed her advocacy work and using her position in the library to advocate for and serve autistic people in the community.   With humor and openness, Steph encourages autistic people to advocate for themselves and to speak up.  As Steph explains, this is the only way to change the culture around you.

Steph’s presentation can be seen in its entirety, here:

Living the Good Life with Autism: Erin Miller Shares Her Personal Journey

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Erin Miller, self-advocate, lecturer and co-founder of SAVE IRIS , shares her insights on having choices, overcoming challenges and living the “good life” with autism at the 2019 Targeting Autism Forum.


Autism Advocate, Dilshad D. Ali, Shares Resources That Serve People with Disabilities in the American Muslim Communities.

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Dilshad D. Ali has worked in the realm of autism advocacy for years, currently serving on the Advisory Board for Muslims Understanding and Helping Special Education Needs (Muhsen) and in the past as the Chair of the Advisory Board for EnabledMuslim, affiliated with American Muslim Health Professionals. She is serving her last year on the Virginia’s 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 Americans with Disability Act, she 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. Ali has worked as a journalist and editor covering Muslims in America for nearly two decades and is the blog editor at Haute Hijab, the leading global hijab company where she leads a team of writers in covering all news, issues and stories pertaining to Muslim women.  She is mom to three great kids, the eldest of whom is autistic – nonverbal, but certainly not non-communicative.

Lei Wiley Mydske Shows Us How the Neurodiversity Movement Serves to Spread the Language of Autism Acceptance

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lei TA 2019

Autism advocate and creator of the Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Library, Lei Wiley Mydske discusses the need to use more positive and non-pathologizing language to describe the autism spectrum.  The neurodiversity movement provides a more humanizing way to communicate about people whose brains work in different ways than those that society at large views as “normal.”   The following slide illustrates how the power of language to describe the characteristics of autism can be used to either isolate neurodivergent people or to generate inclusion.Lei wiley mydske blog post slide

You can view Lei’s full presentation here:

John Elder Robison Inspires Us to Celebrate Differences and Turn Childhood Disabilities into Gifts

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John Elder Robison, author and world recognized authority on living with autism shares his personal story on overcoming challenges and how embracing differences is key to a rich and fulfilling life.