As with everything else in the Autism community there is division as to what is best, perhaps the reason is in the diversity of the disorder itself. I am the founder of The Coffee Klatch and respect the opinions of all. There is validity to any attempt to raise awareness for Autism and I respect and welcome all and wish the “Shut Down” campaign much success. It is our position, based on the wishes of the many adults on the spectrum, advocates and parents who have reached out to us ,as well as our own personal opinions that shutting down communication is not the answer. I actually feel that the “Shut Down” effort is in large population doing quite the opposite, encouraging those with a voice in Autism to speak even louder. My goal is to encourage those who truly want to understand the challenges and struggles as well as the incredible brilliance and gifts of Autism to be educated by the the best advocates, experts, authors, therapy providers, parents and most importantly those on the spectrum, to come together in one place for an entire day to “Communicate”. I am very proud of the overwhelming response to our invitations to those to be Guest Moderators. The line up is impressive. We have chosen to do the event totally on Twitter verses our Blog Talk Radio to ensure that everyone has a chance to interact. With education will come compassion and acceptance – It’s time. In the end we all have the same goal – to raise awareness. And on November 1st 2010 whether you shut down or shout out – we will all be working towards that goal.
Please see the new statement regarding the Shut Down effort from the organizers:
Communicate to Educate at The Coffee Klatch respects their efforts and wish them much success. I personally want to thank them for acknowledging our event as well as Autism Speaking Day and for showing mutual respect and unity, something the Autism Community needs. We are proud to be a part of this important day. Today you have to make a choice – “Will I raise awareness of Autism?” How you choose to participate does not matter, Shut Down or Shout out but please, do something, participate.
Thank you for helping make the event a tremendous success. The over 50 experts, advocates and guest moderators who participated created many poignant moments. Thousands of participants came, spoke out and were heard. I have been in contact with the organizer of “Communication Shutdown” to offer my congratulations on their event and to offer continued support and unity. Our goal was to raise awareness of Autism, dispel the myth about people living on the spectrum and give Autism a voice. I am very proud to say that on November 1st, we did just that.