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Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking

af Julia Bascom

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733363,632 (4.53)2
Autistic people speak out because there is nothing wrong with us. We are complete, complex, human beings leading rich and meaningful existences and deserving dignity, respect, human rights, and the primary voice in the conversation about us. This anthology, and the Loud Hands Project as a whole, serves to document and explore that.… (mere)

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This was the first Autistic-centered disability justice book I ever read, and probably the most impactful to me. At the time of reading this, I was first dipping my feet into the Autistic community after trauma from normalizing therapies and minority stress from the general ableism of society, and learning from the community that my way of being wasn't wrong or broken or weird, that it was okay to flap and rock and obsess and overthink and not socialize, that I was the okayest and enoughest autistic I could be, that the world was fucked but my brain was beautiful, was extremely cathartic. This book not only contributed heavily to that catharsis, but mobilized me for the first time to political action, to autistic revolution, for which I am eternally grateful.

Some essays that shaped me forever (too many to count):
Don't Mourn For Us by Jim Sinclair (this piece is pretty much the manifesto of the neurodiversity movement. looking back at it now i'd probably have a more radical perspective than jim, but in 1993 when this was published it was considered extremely revolutionary, and i really appreciate it in historical context/as something to send to parents of autistic kids who've only been exposed to the mainstream tragedy narrative)

Critic Of The Dawn by Cal Montgomery (a beautifully written critique of the mainstream disability rights and independent living movements, by a high-support-needs autistic and cognitively disabled institution survivor. my first exposure to more radical disability justice frameworks of interdependence and the limits of both an infantilizing abled-savior care model and a physical-disability-centered independence model. plus just super well written overall. quite possibly my favorite thing in here!)

Non-Speaking, "Low Functioning" by Amy Sequenzia (really great criticism of functioning labels by a nonspeaking autistic labeled "low functioning", caused me to do some deep introspection to challenge my own internalized aspie supremacy and gave me a stronger counterargument to the "but what about those autistics" anti-neurodiversity arguments)

Becoming Autistic, Becoming Disabled by anonymous (tremendous piece on the author's process of self-discovery and overcoming internalized ableism, really spoke to my own experiences of going from unawareness of differences, to questioning, to denial, to aspie supremacy, to discovering the Autistic community and finally to active disability justice advocacy)

Loud Hands: I Speak Up With My Fingers , also by Amy Sequenzia (this piece really helped me overcome my internal reluctance to group myself in the same category as nonspeaking folks, and also made me feel better about stimming without shame. i LOVE everything this human writes.)

Quiet Hands by Julia Bascom (I had read this in blog form before i got this book and literally cried through it. as an ABA survivor myself, who's been trained out of flapping through the exact phrase "quiet hands", it gave me All The Feels, in the best way possible. this.. literally changed my life.)

They Hate You, Yes, You by Amanda Forest Vivian (on working at an ABA center while autistic and queer. complete obliteration of the "it's not about you, it's about those autistics" rhetoric from curebies.)

Throw Away The Master's Tools by Nick Walker (overview of the neurodiversity paradigm, through an intersectional feminist theory lens. really helped me understand how pathologizing language like "ASD" or "person with autism" feeds into the neuronormative status quo, and how liberation is not possible if we don't challenge dominant institutions. in some ways a critique of neoliberal/reformist ND advocacy that is all too prevalent now.)

On World Autism Awareness Day by Anne Foreman (some of the best shit is from tumblr. fucking beautiful autistic POETRY.)

my one criticism is how overwhelmingly white this whole book is (though part of this is how white the online autistic community is/was as a whole) and how none of the essays really have a strong focus on intersectional experiences aside from occasional mentions of the author's other identities. i get that this was published almost 10 years ago, but it still would have been nice. other than that, i fucking loved this book. ( )
  frailandfreakish | Sep 30, 2023 |
This is a great collection, I learned so much. I felt like the way racism was handled was a bit odd though - there were a few essays in which parallels were drawn between ableism and racism, without ever discussing the intersections. That looked a bit like some authors were using these comparisons as a way to demonstrate that ableism is actually a bad thing, which would be quite clear from the material alone, I think. ( )
  kthxy | Jun 20, 2017 |
This book is a very interesting look into the voices of autism. I enjoyed this book because of the multiple points of view of the contributors. There are chapters on therapies, disability rights, the falsehood of a "normal" person, and most of all communication. I learned a lot from this book and gained some insight.

Here is a quote from an essay on echolalia.
"Walt knows my name, but he'd rather call me Mulan. We're on the swings, trading movie titles.
'101 Dalmations?' I offer.
'Mulan no thank you!' He chides. Considers. 'Rio, with Jesse Eisenberg?'
I grin. I'd only said that once, but he'd picked up on my crush, and he offers it back to me when I am having a hard time with the conversation. I try to remember his favorite, as a peace offering. 'Kung Fu Panda II, in theaters now?'
I get it right.
Months later, it will still be the best conversation of my life." ( )
  varroa | Jan 6, 2013 |
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Autistic people speak out because there is nothing wrong with us. We are complete, complex, human beings leading rich and meaningful existences and deserving dignity, respect, human rights, and the primary voice in the conversation about us. This anthology, and the Loud Hands Project as a whole, serves to document and explore that.

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