I’m going to the conference of the Autism National Committee next week. It’s on Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th, in New Hampshire. I’m going with Kathleen Seidel, who’s being very nice by driving me. :-)
Anyway, if anyone’s going and wants to meet me there, let me know.
If you want to recognize me (not in any particular order):
- Likely to be wearing green-tinted glasses with light purple plastic frames. Although I might be wearing over the top of them (rendering them invisible) a pair of black plastic sunglasses. At any rate I’m going to be wearing glasses of some kind the whole time.
- Fairly stereotypically autistic-looking (not that this will distinguish me from other auties, but it’s unlikely you’ll mistake me for NT).
- May or may not be in a wheelchair at any given time. If I am, it’s got a headrest on it.
- Female (you can tell if nothing else by the large breasts).
- Bald or nearly so.
- Likely to be wearing the “Lights On Shirt” from this page. That’s the one with this picture in the middle, with the full shirt pictured here. It’s very purple. The artist, by the way, is autistic, and the shirt is designed (by someone else) largely for auties.
- I’ve got one of those unibrows that is two thicker eyebrows that dip down in the middle to a slightly less thick fuzzy patch. Think Frida Kahlo if this idea confuses you. (Larry Arnold claims this is how he recognizes me in pictures.)
- And some scattered chin hair and such that’s unusual for women not to shave off.
- My mouth is kind of trapezoid-shaped when open, and it’s frequently open as a default position. (One friend says she uses that, my nose, and my eyebrows as a pattern to recognize me by. I honestly don’t know whether that mouth shape alone would distinguish me from a lot of auties.)
- I’m a bit short (5’2″, look even shorter because I bend over when I walk) and a bit fat. And white (some white people think I look Hispanic, most Hispanic people are sure I look white).
- If standing, I may be attached by a long, flexible object of some kind to someone else as a navigational aid. (Again, not sure this will distinguish me in a crowd of auties or not.)
- Plenty of pictures of me on Getting the Truth Out.
- If you see someone holding and/or playing with blue rhombus pattern-blocks, it’s almost undoubtedly me, but I don’t have them out all the time (I do carry a few with me).
- Probably wearing a fanny-pack.
- Definitely communicating by keyboard, although may make other noises, some of which may sound like words and some of which may not. (Not is more likely than words, at least around people, but you never know.)
- May be wearing a blue soft helmet with a rainbow-colored clasp. I hope not. I’ve already done enough brain damage recently. (Seriously, ever since a meeting a few months back with a particularly jerky guy — which meant lots of head-banging — I have felt seasick whenever I walk upright. Avoiding head-banging has been a very high priority lately.)
- May be wearing a hat with a brim, or a baseball cap. (I often do in unfamiliar places.)
- May be frozen in place at various times. If I am, I may still be able to hear you, just not respond too well.
So if you recognize me somehow in all this, don’t hesitate to ask whether I’m Amanda or someone else. ;-) If I don’t respond, hopefully someone near me will tell you. I hope that’s enough details that anyone who wants to (and who can see well enough to use them) can use at least a few of them to try to pick me out of a crowd of auties.
One thing I am looking forward to a good deal about this conference, despite AutCom’s drawbacks and the apparent overloadingness of the surroundings, is that AutCom is according to several people I know a place where a wide variety of autistic people are represented. As in, I’m not going to be the token non-speaking autie (or one of two or three at most), I’m not likely to be the only “disruptive” autie, I’m unlikely to be either the most obviously autistic or the least obviously, I’m unlikely to stand out much at all in fact. And it’s been a long time since I’ve not stood out even among other auties — I’m looking forward to it.