This is as good a time as any to mention that this week we kicked off The Self-Advocate & Parent Dialogues, which is a series of letters between me, Ari, and Robert Rummel-Hudson (the parent advocate who I had that big fight with last month). The Dialogues are being hosted at The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. I am happy -- and frankly, really surprised -- to say that I think they are going well.
The reason Robert and I agreed to do these Dialogues is because we were both really unhappy with what happened last month -- a bunch of disabled people and non-disabled parents yelled at each other a lot and then went back to their corners fuming about how they would probably never be able to work together. The thing I'm discovering, which is interesting and says a lot about the internet I think, is that it's easier to do that than to hang on and have a long conversation that involves a lot of listening.
I've seen people commenting that the Dialogues posts made them cry. I've cried, and gotten frustrated and depressed, over some of the things that people have said. It's hard to reach out and really try to engage, because that means you won't have your defenses up, and it will hurt more when someone, for example, starts getting all Suddenly Specific Definition Fallacy on you. I think for a lot of people writing posts or participating in the comments, the Dialogues have been a process of engaging, getting hurt, licking wounds, and then coming back to engage again. But so far, people are coming back. And that makes me pretty happy.
Here are the posts so far:
first I wrote a letter
then me again
then Robert again
Check it out for yourself and let me know how you think it's going.