Archive for November, 2010
Friday, November 26th, 2010
I had my meditative walk on the Cross Vermont Trail this morning. It is the most peaceful place to think and write my blog. I have been hoping to find God in nature and I now have. The Buddhists believe that silence is communicating peace. I know my silence is more peaceful now that I have consistent people in my life. I hope the world understands the importance of presuming competence.
With consistent supports the thing that seemed daunting becomes possible. Peace becomes possible through having the proper communication. The most important thing new or stagnant supports can do is rethink your original thoughts about disability and find ways to look into our eyes to find the glimmer of intelligent thought shining like a beacon of hope, lighting the path for the children of tomorrow.
The kindness of those dynamic people is paramount to the success of the folks who have the every day challenges of discrimination we face together. The leaders do not exist; to be successful we must sprint together like friends, carrying the flame of change to the world one community at a time. Please join me on the “Wretches & Jabberers World Marathon” to bring peace and the presumption of competence to the world.
Thanksgiving peace and blessings to all.
Tracy on the Cross Vermont Trail
Category Uncategorized | Tags: Tags: autism, blog, Buddhism, film, happiness, hope, peace, support, Tracy Thresher, wretches & jabberers,
Friday, November 19th, 2010
I think the best is yet to come for us poor wretches. The most incredible things are happening in my life. For that I have heartfelt thanks to the many people who have been involved throughout my life challenges. The most important person being my dear mother who knew my intelligence was laying dormant. The next person who looked through my ghostly façade was Allen Kurtz who introduced me to my voice through typing. Next, Harvey Lavoy picked up our torch and sprinted with me right beside him like Olympic runners preparing for the unknown that would eventually be the Wretches & Jabberers World Marathon.
The passing of the torch continued by training more staff than I can remember until this tiny dynamo, Jeanette, brought my thoughts to the peace I know today. Her kind spirit and attention to detail is the kind of energy that makes people comfortable so typing the inner thoughts is rewarding me by developing relationships with friends and my mother is typing with me now which gives me more joy than I ever dreamed.
Mom is the person who believed in me when nobody else saw through the ghostly apparition that is my outward shell. I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. May the whole World be blessed with peace, love and hope for those who use alternative communication modes. I will be thinking of my fellow wretches this Thanksgiving with fond memories of love and friendship.
To the fans, I bid you peace and happiness.
Monday, November 15th, 2010
I have been having the time of my life this week. I have been spending time with people who understand who I am and it has made the biggest difference in the way I have been thinking. How my team provides the necessary support is very important. It is necessary to be patient. It is vitally important to have good listeners in the life of someone who uses FC. They make sure your voice is valued. The most important thing supports do is listen with open hearts and minds. I feel like the luckiest man in the world because my team takes the time to listen. I am amazed that they stay late patiently hashing over important things and come back for the round two the next day. This week we spent many hours going over my desires for my living situation.
The main reason I love working with Jeanette is she is patient. [Jeanette is Tracy’s support person who works with him several times a week. She is part of his team that includes his mother and a case manager] That helps me to be calm and have time to think things through. Working with her has helped me to feel relaxed to the best I am capable of being relaxed. Often she tells me things that are positive messages that help me to focus. The most recent was the story of her niece thinking I was going to ride the magic carpet. This helped me connect to her sister, Nola, to have conversation and develop friendship. We now have the start of relationship. That would not happen without Jeanette sharing herself in the positive way she does.
To find the positive people one must be patient. It took many staff turnovers to get to my positive relationship with Jeanette. It paid off big time this time around. We learn to be patient with each other. Jeanette is the perfect example of the patient facilitator. She looks me in the eyes to see who I want to be. She feels my hunger to get my thoughts out for the world to read. Without her consistent support I have no good life. She gave me the gift of a hat that says “Life is good” and due to her it finally is. I want to thank my team for helping me find her.
My mom listens to my thoughts very well too. She is the best listener I know. I love our typing sessions. I think she understands my behaviors are communication not stimulation. Others in my life constantly say, “Stop stimming.” That drives my anxiety up. Mom knows I use the so-called “stimmimg” to regulate. If only everyone was patient, the world would be a better place. My message to all is be patient with yourself and others.
I will see you in Denver.
Friday, November 5th, 2010
I have had great experiences connecting with people since the movie was screened at the conference. People have gone out of their way to take a moment to include me in their conversations. I have noticed this wherever I have gone. I was at the voting poll on Tuesday and the level of respect I was given was great. I was very well accommodated by the volunteers. I was surprised pleasantly that the older generation understood that I communicated using an alternative method. This shows me that our efforts are paying off. To see these changes in attitudes is phenomenal. It amazes me to know that two bald men from little green mountains have the power to shift attitudes in the world. This needs to continue throughout the world. I have a newly inspired hope for humanity since seeing the impact the film has made.
The other thing I noticed was I attended the DAIL (Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living) Advisory Board meeting yesterday and the respect I received was the utmost imaginable. Commissioner Hogan treated me very respectfully. He went out of his way to make additional copies of my speech so everyone in attendance could have one. [Click here to read Tracy's speech]
I noticed he also gave ample time for me to type my “in-the-moment” comments. This respect was also given to the other self-advocates, family members and caregivers who spoke. I told the Advisory Board the importance of having support in my life.
I had a great lunch with my friend and fellow changer-of-the-world June Bascom. It was wonderful to see her and chat about the movie and the publicity we have received. I liked the food in the state cafeteria better than I expected. It reminded me that things do not always meet your negative expectations. This is true of the experiences with people too. The outer self is not the reality of the inner self. We are not a book jacket that can be judged with a passing glance. We are people with ideas to share. The great ideas inside of us are valuable to the world.
I invite you to sit down with someone you have passed by and get to know their story. You will most likely find that your negative expectation is turning toward the positive place. The people who get overlooked often have wonderful ideas just bursting to get free. Those two bald Vermonters are among them. Take a moment to say “hello”. We listen even if it may not seem that we are. Our pesky behaviors get in the way so much of the time but we listen and value your kind words.
In closing, please continue to spread the word about the movie. We are making change in the world. Lets steer this ship in the positive places I have mentioned.
Category General Thoughts | Tags: Tags: advocacy, autism, blog, change, conference, DAIL, film, friendship, hope, Tracy Thresher, wretches & jabberers,
Monday, November 1st, 2010
I have been amazed at the outpouring of support for the film since the premiere in Burlington and the screening of the film at the “Making Communication Happen Worldwide” conference. I am so happy that we are having an impact on the world and changing attitudes. I have noticed changes in my own community today. For example, I walked at the mall today and noticed people connecting with my friends who are unable to express themselves in the conventional ways that society is accustomed. Only ten years ago, we were present but not spoken to as valued members of society. I also noticed, when mentoring my student at Williamstown High School today, that other kids came and spoke to her without prejudice. I notice these subtle changes in the next generation. I have much faith that soon children will be well educated no matter what diagnosis or label they may have been given. I have dreamed that I would move the mountains that have been built up by generations of ignorance and lack of information. I know there are a lot more walls to break down. Together, we will make this social movement happen. Like Larry said, “Let’s make a big step for humankind.”
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with two students at Spaulding High School this morning. What a change there has been since my school days. There is knowledge there being used to educate all students, not just the speaking students but those brilliant minds that are locked in uncooperative bodies waiting to be set free. I am pleased that I am able to return to the high school that needed knowledge and be a part of educating teachers, parents and educators. I feel proud to be a part of this positive change. Together, Larry and I opened minds of professionals in the Mental Health field. Can you imagine what we can do for those folks who have no personal experience with communicating in alternative ways?
I do not know what the future holds but I know it is brighter with the ability to connect with others. Over the past week something inside of me came to know love in a way I never imagined. This is very personal but I will say that I am head over heels and it could not have happened without the ability to reach out through an alternative mode of communication. Two people know love because of the work of pioneers in communication and inclusion. I would like to thank Harvey and Pascal for giving so much of themselves so Larry and I can pursue our dreams and find friends in the world. The past week has opened my heart in unimaginable ways. I find such humor in Larry and such fondness for Chammi, Henna, Antii and Naoki since getting to know them through the making of this film. It is my hope to continue to grow our relationships and to reconnect for the writing of our manifesto.
I will see you in Denver, Colorado next.