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Drawing the voice

For some time in my life I had no voice of my own. I was allowed to speak, sometimes out of courtesy and politeness, but the final word was the others, usually adults. That only lasted a short time, and as soon as childhood ended and gave way to adolescence I noticed a difference. And since then I feel it has been growing and improving.


To think that there are groups of people who for a lifetime or generations have had no voice of their own distresses me, angers me and embarrasses me. Mainly because we are often silent or participate in the silencing of these people.


On February 25th I accepted the invitation to attend the international conference Autism by the people themselves. As I always do, I went to check the programme, but I had already promised myself that I wanted to be there. I wanted to witness an historic movement and celebrate it. I didn't want anyone to tell me. I wanted to hear it from the people themselves. After all, that was the theme of the conference. And besides, I have heard about Autism told by others. I myself speak about Autism when I am not. At most I am an interpreter, a translator.


Having your own voice is an exercise. Just like the exercise of drawing a mouth that starts with a skull. But how to draw this mouth that lets my voice come out? It is not easy. Neither having a voice nor drawing a mouth. Those in the know say that we should start by simplifying structures. For example, to understand the mouth, let's start by thinking of a sphere. The open mouth will be half of that sphere. Then we think about the key elements.


Autistic people have voice, even those who are non-verbal have it, although in a different way. But the voice is different in all of us. Autistic people don't need to ask to have a voice. It is their right. It is a people's right. Autistic people need to recover their voice, the one that has been and to some extent is being kidnapped.


The conference on the 25th did not leave any credit to others. And the scientific programme showed and proved it well. But no different was to be expected. So don't be surprised, and those who are still surprised by what are the competences of autistic people should review their guidelines. But the conference, besides the scientific and formal aspect, had the particularity of being a moment of celebration and communion between those who were present.


It seems fundamental to me that this day 25 and everything it represents may mean a milestone of change built together. Whoever looks in the international community will realize that this change has already started to occur some time ago. Whether in the development of scientific events, but also in the development of research projects and other activities. It makes perfect sense, whenever desired by those involved, that autistic and non-autistic people can work side by side.


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