Tag Archives: loud hands project

Other things I have learned….

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It is important to draw upon my strengths, and channel them into working around my weaknesses.

I have realized that a LOT of my difficulties in communicating, daily life, anything really….

….have so much to do with that I was trying SO HARD to express myself in ways that whatever group I was in expressed themselves.   As someone who spends a lot of time navigating different circles, and am very empathic, I have a habit of losing myself in the process of relating on a deep level to those around me.   It’s been all or nothing.   Either I continue to hold others’ pain in my body and memory as I continue to move about life….every single day, thinking of every person I’ve ever met, and feeling all those emotions at once….or it gets so overwhelming that I break down, and hide in my mind.

I have an active imagination, to say the least….escapism has become an art form

There is balance to be found.

I can communicate to verbal thinkers through poetic language, helping them to imagine what I imagine.   I can communicate through visual and creative media entirely……through my own art, through video, through music……I can speak in lolcatz and bitstrips.   What’s really surprising to me is that when I DO draw on my own strengths in this way……it reaches people who are the opposite of me even better than when I tried to speak their own language.

I can communicate with people who are from different generations and political and religious and geographic cultures by connecting around what, even if it’s just one thing, that we DO share….and allow others’ to speak for THEMSELVES as I want to be allowed to do as well.  I don’t HAVE to do things that I’m not good at, because there is enough that I AM good at to be able to compensate and function in the world anyway….so long as I focus on that and that only

……I feel like such a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and I’m falling back into myself.   I don’t have to hide anymore.   Because I know I have a tribes, even if we’re not all always in the same physical location at the same time.   Maybe sometimes hermitting is necessary to figure such things out.   I can seek knowledge and company, synthesize it all, and then (when I’m ready)….go out and apply it to the world

Loud Hands Project:

Intense World Theory:   http://seventhvoice.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/new-study-finds-that-individuals-with-aspergers-syndrome-dont-lack-empathy-in-fact-if-anything-they-empathize-too-much/

 

Loud Hands Project

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I will not silence my hands. My hands speak a language that is louder and stronger and clearer than my words. To quiet my hands is to take away my voice. My hands are loud and proud.

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(image description:  caucasian hands, touching at the wrists, fingers pointing upward, against a black background).

The Loud Hands Project is a multi-media project by the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, national in the United States.  Autistic adults and teens have uploaded art, video, writing, etc, to the Facebook page and Tumblr, as well as contributed short essays to the anthology “Loud Hands:  Autistic People, Speaking”, on what autism and advocacy are like for them.

It is one of the first projects of its kind in which autistic people speak for ourselves, rather than professionals or parents speaking about us from research or observation.

It is a myth that autistic people have nothing to say.

Many autistic people are actually very verbal, whether in spoken language, writing, or both.  Others like myself struggle with words (either all the time or just on especially bad days or complicated social situations), but speak plenty in other ways….

We speak volumes through our hands.

We speak through our bodies, our faces, our art, our tone of voice, our sounds, our actions.

The problem is not that we don’t know how to speak.  The problem is that many “typical” people refuse to listen to anything BUT words, and even then, perhaps only to certain uses of words.  Echolalia for instance (repeating the words of others), is often looked at as meaningless babble, but the words of others can be mixed together in such a way as to create meaningful and original messages.  I am not echolalic myself, but in my experience with others, a lot of echolalia is poetic.

“Loud Hands” is a play on the old ABA (applied behavioral analysis – behavioral social training for autism) phrase “quiet hands”.  “Stimming”, self-stimulation and self-soothing behaviors of autistic people including hand-flapping, hand-waving, fidgeting, and touching objects such as running a hand along a wall as one walks down a hallway, are discouraged in ABA. This is despite that stims are actually very helpful and often necessary to autistic people as a coping skill.  They are discouraged not because they are dangerous, but because they are considered “socially inappropriate” (not following social norms).  In other words, they are only discouraged because they look “weird” to non-autistic people, not because they harm anyone in any way.

Fuck that.  Fuck the concept of “social norms” overall.  I will not silence my hands.  I will not be silenced.

Loud Hands Project Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Loud-Hands-Project/111548155631555/

Loud Hands Project Tumblr:  http://loudhandsproject.org/

“Loud Hands:  Autistic People, Speaking” the book:  http://www.amazon.com/Loud-Hands-Autistic-People-Speaking/dp/1938800028