2011 was when I first spoke out for something that I believed in.
I was tired of the false information that was being spread about autism and vaccines. I knew the affect that Pertussis (Whooping Cough ) had on me . ( a torn chest muscle, the coughing spasms that made it hard to take a deep breath, needing an inhaler )
I knew that whooping cough makes Babies (infants) really sick.
I know Autism is NOT caused by Vaccines.
I feel that vaccines are important because they protect Babies , People who are immune compromised , Vaccines protect Elderly People and Disabled People who are high risk and can’t get the vaccinations
Vaccines protect our Communities.
I Hated the fact that risking a preventable disease like Whooping Cough and spreading it to people who could die from it was something that people were willing to do because they didn’t want their child to “become “ Autistic.
Autism is not caused by vaccines.
In 2015 state budget cuts that were being threatened scared me. Again I used my voice to speak out about something that was important to me.
Cuts & Caps to Medicaid, Cuts to programs that provided early intervention for kids diagnosed with a disability, Cuts to the programs that had helped me.
Over the next three or four years making trips down state, attending conferences , Being a board member, Meeting with elected officials really kept me on my toes.
There was a lot of information about the effect things like budget cuts would affect on programs. I tried to come up with creative and visual ways that had an impact .
I know there is a lot of talk within the autistic community about autistic burn out . I know it’s not just autistic people that feel burn out.
Fall 2018 into early 2019 was when I first felt burnt out. Like a turtle I wanted to crawl back into my shell. I felt overwhelmed and like I couldn’t keep up with pace of things. Advocacy was something that I knew was important.
It was hard for me to say NO when there was an event within the community or meeting with lawmakers. I felt like I was letting people down and I knew that there were other self advocates who would have loved to have been in my position as a self advocate.
I’m grateful for the self advocacy opportunities that I’ve had. 2019 & 2020 have had a twist to them but, I’ve had a lot of personal growth and I’m finding my niche.