This is being posted publicly, in part to keep myself—and my headmates, of course—accountable for these self-advocacy-related tasks.
- Avoid forcing ourselves to strain our capacity. For instance, especially under great stress, speech can be quite difficult—we will probably still talk, because the responses occur automatically, but it comes at a cost to our overall wellbeing. Instead, we should make efforts to communicate through other methods, such as email or IM when speaking to someone at a distance, and using Mac OS X’s text-to-speech facilities when holding longer in-person conversations with people. Fortunately, the MacBook Pro is lighter than many netbooks; our textbooks are actually more tedious to carry than the laptop. Some of us—particularly people who do not seem as “autistic,” like Kerry—tend to push ourselves beyond capacity, and the result is shutdown—whether it is selective shutdown, like what we are experiencing now, or total shutdown. This is from years of “corrective” actions on the part of the biological family, teachers, and various professionals who wished to make us seem more “typical.” People here were instructed not to “stim”; we were treated nastily by Egg Donor for preferring to initiate difficult conversations through writing, rather than speech; and other conspicuously autistic behaviour was also suppressed.
- Create a document that lays out precisely what our needs are, similar to the “Assessment of Needed Services” that Kerry, Hess, and Richard created three years ago. The Assessment’s short- and semi-long-term goals were—with the exception of learning to drive—all accomplished within roughly two years.
- Contact the San Francisco Independent Living Resource Centre, the Department of Rehabilitation, and other disability-specific organisations to see if we can secure case management, since we have identified case management as an important resource. Our therapist is going to refer us to an agency, but this will take some time. The plan, though, has already been set in motion. Additionally, we do have some documentation from our therapist that lists the conditions we have, which we will take with us in a file. I will try to compile this file in the next week or two, so that there is something to present to people without having to speak excessively.
- See if there are any programmes that would help to subsidise a portion of living costs, which would make it easier for us to live by ourselves, rather than going through the ordeal of seeking accommodations that would entail a greater degree of “faking neurologies,” as Kerry said in her earlier entry. The ideal situation would be a flat to ourselves in an area of town that is not characterised by gang activity and drugs, although I am not holding my breath.