**The posts I write might contain affiliate links or be written in collaboration with businesses or brands. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.**
By Jodi Murphy, Geek Club Books
“I believe that everyone deserves friends who accept them and mentors who believe in them. I activate my voice for autism to say that everyone deserves to be a part of a community because WE ALL BELONG.”
Powerful declaration, right? We do ALL belong but sadly the world isn’t very accepting of people who are different. Lydia Wayman, a woman on the autism spectrum, made that statement as a part of our #Activate4Autism movement. She’s waking the public up to the challenges people like her face in their communities.
Most autistic individuals grow up with a sense of shame because they’ve been stereotyped, judged as strange, and often bullied for being different. If you have a loved one with autism, you know how important it is that we help the public gain a deeper understanding of the autism experience.
At Geek Club Books, we make it our mission to engage and educate the public about autism—to replace stereotypes and fears with curiosity and wonder.
We launched an #Activate4Autism movement that brings together voice actors who are in favorite video games, cartoons and animated films, stage actors who have appeared on Broadway and London stages, children’s authors, a comic artist, a fan con, and, most importantly, autistic advocates. They’ve come together in unity to activate others to become more open and welcoming to people on the autism spectrum.
Meet a few of the Activators why they say #Activate4Autism is so important:
Everyone deserves to be seen and heard.
“Everyone deserves to be seen and heard. Everyone deserves to be accepted. Everyone deserves to be loved.” Jared Gertner is best known for his role as “Arnold Cunningham” in the Book of Mormon on Broadway and on the London Stage (where he was nominated for an Olivier for best lead in a musical).
Jared speaks up for anyone who feels different and unheard. He doesn’t want people on the autism spectrum to feel defined by their diagnosis. “I see you. I hear you. I accept you. And I love you.”
Respect and encourage differences and celebrate uniqueness!
Children’s author Julia Finley Mosca for The Innovation Press wrote ‘The Girl Who Thought in Pictures,’ the story of Dr. Temple Grandin.
“I think we’ve all experienced that feeling of not fitting in, whether for periods of time or most of our life. Being different isn’t easy, especially for kids. But when you look at some of the most successful people in society, Dr. Grandin included, you’ll find that it’s usually their differences that propelled them to success. I think it’s not only important for children to accept their own differences, but also (perhaps more importantly) to respect and encourage differences in their peers. Let’s celebrate uniqueness!”
Julia has a deep appreciation for the power of support and encouragement. It’s for that reason she activated her voice her autism:
Autism does not define autistic people.
Like Lydia Wayman, James Sullivan is an emerging voice for autism acceptance. He wants people to know that he is not a victim and he doesn’t use autism as a crutch. In his #Activate4Autism video, he says, “I will not let what I am define who I am.”
James does more than just talk. He’s taking action to explain autism to children and bring about a change in attitudes at schools and in communities. He writes, films and directs, Bluebee TeeVee, a webisode series on autism topics:
Our world is better with a spectrum of voices.
Rebecca Burgess is a comic artist from the UK who is also a woman with autism. She created a comic, “Understand the Spectrum” for Autism Acceptance Week last year. The comic went viral as it breaks the myths and stereotypes often associated with autism. For #Activate4Autism, Rebecca created “Hear Our Spectrum of Voices” comic featuring quotes from other autistic advocates. Both are downloadable for free on the #Activate4Autism page.
Calling others to activate their voices!
Watch all the actors, authors, and advocate videos over at #Activate4Autism on Geek Club Books. You can activate your voice too! Help spread the word that diversity, acceptance and inclusion is for everyone, including those on the autism spectrum. You’ll find everything you need on our “Be an Activator” page.