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Friday, August 13, 2010 – Autism Unexpected by Jean Winegardner

Silver Spring, MD (8/13/10) — I spent last weekend in New York City with 2,400 mostly women bloggers at BlogHer 2010, a conference that brings together online writers from all over the world.

I’ve been to BlogHer before, but this one was special to me because I had the opportunity to speak on a panel titled Blogging Autism: Shattering Myths, Opening Eyes, and Finding Your Tribe.

My co-panelists were a wonderful group of women, each of whom brought something unique to the discussion. Pamela Merritt is an activist who is a co-guardian of her adult autistic brother. Shannon Des Roches Rosa is a powerful and influential voice in the online autism community and mother to a child with autism. Carol Greenburg is an autistic adult as well as the mother of a son with autism.

Each of us shared a myth about autism that we hoped to dispel through our writing. Pamela reminded us that autism is not just a childhood condition. Shannon wants to debunk the idea that autism means misery. Carol brought up the fact that autism and cognitive deficits don’t necessarily go hand in hand but that not all people with autism are genius savants either. I see many myths about autism, but the ones that I mentioned were that autism is not life ending and that there are many different ways to be autistic.

Of course I think the words that we spoke and the comments from the audience were important—very much so. Even more important, however, was the powerful experience of sitting in a supportive room with a group of people who care about people with autism and want the best for them. When you’re in a room like that, you don’t have to explain, you don’t have to justify, you don’t have to be defensive. You just have to be. And you can be because the other people in the room get it, they really, really get it.

Read in Full:  http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/autism-unexpected/2010/aug/13/blogging-autism-and-shattering-myths-blogher-2010/



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