Advocating for yourself is hard, trying to navigate a world that wasn’t built for you is exhausting. Luckily I was not alone. There are autistic adults dedicated to sharing their stories and improving accessibility of autistics that exist in every corner of the world, this blog will showcase a few that I look up to and draw inspiration from when I’m having a hard time accepting myself.
Nicole Parish AKA “Sound of the Forest”
I am very involved in the #actuallyautistic community on TikTok, one of the first creators I found was Nicole Parish (@SOUNDOFTHEFOREST). Nicole is an autistic adult in her mid 20’s who is a full-time artist and recently moved into her apartment. Her TikTok account is dedicated to sharing about her life experience being autistic and of course her special interest in insects. Nicole has shared her journey to independent living and being employed. Even though Nicole does make these awesome informative videos on TikTok, the social media platform has repeatedly banned her account and flagged the word “autistic”. Every time she is banned the community gets together and petitions TikTok to reinstate her account. Science the first banning she has been identifying ableism onto and on the internet in general. Tiktok claims to be a place for all but is that true when they ban disabled people for no reason? I find great motivation from Nicole and seeing that you can have a successful life and strive for independence as an autistic and that calling out ableism wherever you are is important.
This article briefly covers her account and also showcases some of her videos!
Michael McCreary “The Aspie Comic”
Michael McCreary is a comedian and author from Ontario who has helped change the way many see autism. Often people think autism is a flat affect and takes things literally, this usually doesn’t add up to comedy but Michael (who took the stage name “the aspie comic”) has found a way to do just that. Using comedy as a way to share his unique life experience Michael has been able to perform dozens of shows as well as publish a book titled “funny, you don’t look autistic”. I admire the work Michel does partly because I as an autistic find his comedy hilarious and relatable but also because his unique wit draws in neurotypicals and shows them autistics can be funny and successful.
This interview with Michael gives bit of insight into his comedy
Eric Garcia autistic advocate and author of the book “we are not broken: changing the autism conversation” was frustrated about the lack of understanding of people on the autism spectrum and has made it his goal to humanise autism and change the world for the better for neurodivergent kids. Eric works in journalism and is working towards making corporate jobs more accessible to autistic individuals by changing policies and hiring practices. Eric also advocates for the shift in autism research to move beyond basic biology to autism across race and gender lines. I love the work Eric does because it pushes for change on a systemic level, like in scientific research and hiring policies.
This CNN interview allows him to go into detail about his book and the goals of his work
It’s always important to learn about autism from autistic people, and these three autistic self-advocates are a good place to start.