Spectrums Magazine Summer 2017 issue features include: Passion Projects • Stephen’s Place • Creating Visuals Instantly for Unpredictable Activities • Division in the Autism Community • 7 Sensory Friendly Summer Activities • Human Trafficking – Protecting our Most Vulnerable • We Know Who We Are – Stories from the Spectrum • To Disclose or Not to Disclose • Autism on the Seas • That Great New Library Card Smell • Transportation and Special Education Students • Realities of Being an Autistic Therapist • Provider Partner Directory • Autism Empowerment Events – Featured Autistic Guest Writers: John Elder Robison • Chase Severin • Judy Endow
by Karen Krejcha
On June 3rd, 2017, Autism Empowerment celebrated our 6th anniversary as a nonprofit organization. When I look back to June 3rd, 2011 and the drive my family and I took to Olympia to file our paperwork and start the 501(c)3 process, I realize it has been quite a journey.
Our original vision for Autism Empowerment was contained in multiple writing journals and centered around four foundational pillars of positivity: Accept, Enrich, Inspire and Empower. For me, it was a calling that centered around people – children, teens, and adults on the autism spectrum – and the families, friends, educators, and professionals in their community.
Although Spectrums was not specifically part of our original plan, something similar was part of our initial vision. We may have underestimated the amount of work, time and cost it would take but the result has provided a brilliant vehicle for connection, community, and empowerment.
Trying to be everything to everyone is an impossible undertaking, even when you’re an optimist. The divisiveness in our autism community makes it difficult to bring passionate people together respectfully to create an action plan for maximizing strengths and minimizing challenges. But try, we must.
One of my favorite pieces in this issue by John Elder Robison highlights many of the challenges that a divided autism community faces. As an autistic woman, mom and professional, I ask you to read, reflect and ask yourself, what can you do to contribute positively?
Maybe it is advocating through writing like Chase Severin does in his poem, We Know Who We Are. Perhaps it is protecting our most vulnerable by making our local community aware of the dangers of Human Trafficking. It could even be by building a community campus like Stephen’s Place where adults with developmental disabilities are living purposefully and independently.
Our cover story this issue teaches about Passion Projects – a popular movement in the workplace, the classroom, and hopefully in your home as well! When we bring passion and purpose together, individually and collectively, we will do amazing things.
Looking for something fun to do? We’ve got you covered with 7 Sensory Friendly Activities, but just in case the unexpected happens, we’ll teach you how to Create Visuals Instantly for Unpredictable Activities.
Thank you for being an Ambassador for Acceptance of All Abilities and supporting our nonprofit publication! We look forward to seeing your Passion Projects! Enjoy!
Executive Director & Co-Founder, Autism Empowerment
Editor: Spectrums Magazine
(You can also find this article on page 4 of the Summer 2017 issue of Spectrums Magazine. Print copies were distributed throughout the Portland metro and southwest Washington area in July 2017. You may also read online here.)