Posts Tagged ‘support’
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Over the past month my mind has been extremely focused on the power of inclusion. Inclusion is not mainstreaming. More than idealistic politically correctness it is celebrating our interconnectedness. Lessons of humanity lift our social fabric to magical tapestries where natural abilities may soar. Like Larry and I have communicated to diverse audiences in our travels, we are first men with intelligence. Like Larry says: “More like you than not.” Judge us not by our diagnosis. One of the best questions Larry and I were asked at the Chittenden South in-service in November was “What do you tell parents of kids with disabilities who oppose inclusion?” My response: “What kind of life are we talking about with seclusion and sameness and focused on disability? With that Larry had at Brandon and how did that work? Now that we are here, it’s due to being included. What hope is there without seeing us in the mix?”
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About Henry: Henry is an Autistic self-advocate who communicates using AAC (augmentative and alternative communication). He was denied the right to attend his neighborhood school. Henry is steadfast in his determination that all students must be presumed competent and have equal access to education with appropriate supports in their communities. Thousands of friends and advocates have written to show support for the rights of Henry, and others like him. Below is Tracy’s proclamation.
“I stand with Henry in his demand to see the intelligent mind within. I met Henry in my quest to change the World’s view of disability to recognizing that there is intelligence in all people, if only the Presumption of Competence is the paramount pulse coursing through the veins of educators. I stand with Henry because in Henry I see true grit. Henry is an amazingly resilient young activist. In my mind he is a leader taking down old barriers of discrimination, shifting our culture to one of seeing and believing in ability, rather than judging based on unreliable assessments. I stand on the platform of the typing train with you my pal.”
Category General Thoughts | Tags: Tags: advocacy, autism, change, communication, friendship, inclusion, independence, intelligence, presume competence, support,
Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
I had the wonderful experience this week showing the movie and doing a question and answer session at the Mountaintop Human Rights Film Festival in Waitsfield, Vermont. The Big Picture Theater and Cafe is a small cozy community place full of ambiance and love. The questions were on the mark sparking witty as usual responses from Larry and me, as you can see from the picture, I was a man on a mission.
The theater also had a lovely cafe where we were treated to conversation and scrumptious burgers the way Larry and I like them, big and loaded with extras. Not good for dieters but mighty tasty. The event was a wonderful experience and having my mom, dad, and brother there only added to its wondrous feeling. Mom even talked to the audience.
This makes me think that we should do more local events to connect and build our community knowledge of the presumption of competence.
Photo credit: David Garten
Friday, October 28th, 2011
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to stand before my legislators at the Washington County Mental Health legislative breakfast. My good friend, Kyle, presented beautifully the connection between communication and productivity. Because of the communication support he receives, he has worked as a legislative intern which gave him the opportunity to work on the Respectful Language Law. Our state now is looking to work on how to fill gaps due to the impact Irene had on our state. It has come down to communities being open to supporting one another. Another part of progress is recognizing the willingness of service recipients to be part of the problem solving. My state is leading the way; pay attention to Vermont. My piece to the legislators follows:
Supporting the Right to Communicate for people with Significant Disabilities
Good morning. I am Tracy Thresher from Barre, Vermont. I would like to talk to you about the Washington County Facilitated Communication (FC) Task Force. The group formed in 2008. We are a group of individuals who type to communicate. We advocate for people with communication challenges, for Quality of Life initiatives and for increased public awareness.
How would you feel if you had no voice? It is the hardest part of dealing with life, in the way people make the assumption that we do not have intelligence. Our group works to do outreach and advocacy for ourselves and others. As my idol Anne MacDonald said “Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say.” Understanding Anne’s statement paired with knowing communication is the right of all is necessary. Having the support of people like Master Trainer, Harvey Lavoy, is the primary reason I have the communication needed to be successful. I urge our legislators to make communication a priority for all. Thank you.
Category General Thoughts | Tags: Tags: advocacy, autism, change, communication, disability, independence, intelligence, support, Tracy Thresher, Vermont,
Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
My living situation is my biggest pressing down the language of positivity barrier. I have come to the peaceful conclusion of making communication primarily a bridge to my living from house to house until the time comes for me to have my own peaceful sanctuary of my own making. A foundation is built on clear communication for a person like myself relying on commitment from others. Relationships of trust begin to truly flourish when rooted in the presumption of competence. Working together with my team of highly motivated support people like Rachel is how I manage my quest for navigating my search for finding a communication partner who is interested in a live-in situation of assisting me with living the life I choose. A life of peace interspersed with getting out on quiet trails of Green Mountains is my dream. I would like my living situation to reflect the man I am on the inside rather than the pesky behaviors of autism. And so I am committed to continuing my search of a living partner who is on a similar quest of living in peace.
Monday, August 8th, 2011
My mind is racing with thoughts pounding out my ears today. I have been put in a situation where my self-regulation skills are being tested. My team, who I love, is in disarray and not together because of much needed vacations. I write to you all today to show that my focus is still here because typing is my outlet just as off loading through speech is many of your outlets. I think I am in a place of anxiety but I assure you I am a man in control through my finger tip. I am inspired today because I have determination not to let my autism be King for the day. I have trusty side kicks, Rachel and Dotty the boss woman here to keep me in check so my body and mind can be at the same pace. Anxiety is a downfall, but typing it out is much more productive. I am looking forward to seeing my team together again but the rough weeks without them are necessary to test my ability to maintain control over my being. My aura is getting brighter today — see you all on the road next week. Watch out Virginia here we come!
Friday, July 1st, 2011
Being able to have the opportunity to mentor has been the most wondrous experience of my life. I have been blessed to mentor amazing students. They are the future of communication; they will carry on the legacy of everyone’s right to have a voice. I have been working as a mentor for many moons and I think we have all helped one another find our voices. It is important to me to lead by example. I want each of my mentees (5 students in junior high and high school) to know it is critical to exercise their right to vote. Let your voice be heard by going to the voting booth. Learn who our political heroes are by talking to them. Tell your stories.
I wish in my heart that I had a mentor when I was in school but now I look back and realize I can’t dwell on the what-ifs. I think all schools should be more open to building mentoring with us because we have mighty stories and excellent wisdom to share. What comes to mind when I think of what it is to be a mentor is possessing the perseverance to be a leader to those in need of guidance and purpose. I have found my purpose in life; it is to be a teacher, a mentor or a resource to share with others.
You may think the cards we have been dealt are rather lousy at times but part of being a good mentor is thinking beyond and using our experiences to educate and inspire. I am not in a place to instruct students on their life goals, however I can share with them thoughts of encouragement to help them on their path.
Throwing out my pebbles of intelligent thinking to others, creating ripples, building the tide of change is how I view mentoring. I encourage you, self advocates, to try throwing out your own tiny pebble of help to others. It will not only help others it will make you more happy than you imagine.
Now I pass the baton to my students who have taught me how to be patient, kinder and have given me hope for the future.
Friday, April 29th, 2011
I attended an event presented by the Howard Center this week; it was regarding “Opening Doors for Inclusion”. Pascal is the man of dedication to inclusion. He served on the panel telling the tale of releasing people who resided in the Brandon Training School by procuring funds to attend a James Taylor concert during the mid-seventies. I smile to myself of how far Pascal has traveled to provide the world of intelligent thinking inmates in Brandon Training School with lives of wonder.
It is heart wrenching to think of the life of no inclusion. Other people have worked hard to break down the brick walls of institutions but the walls of ignorance still exist. It is the right time in history to remove the thinking that those who communicate and those who look different than you have no intelligence. The presumption of competence is the right thinking to release people from the bondage of discrimination.
Please join the World Intelligence Magnified Tour. Larry and I will be on the Ivy League campus of Dartmouth College next week spreading more seeds of intelligent thought. I hope to receive my honorary Ph.D. in intelligent thought soon.
Category W&J Tour | Tags: Tags: advocacy, autism, blog, communication, Dartmouth College, film, inclusion, support, Tracy Thresher, wretches & jabberers,
Friday, March 18th, 2011
Tracy & Larry are supporters of TASH, an organization that advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with the most significant disabilities and support needs. For more information about TASH, please visit www.TASH.org.
It is fitting that TASH is in my mind today because it is coming full circle in the time of right thinking for the people who did not understand that we have intelligence in our heads. I presented the movie idea in 2008. It is great to be where I am today. I had promised myself I would try to keep hope in my spirit for the next generation of kids to have the life they chose not the life of being trapped in the world of no communication.
It is nice to be looked at in the community in the positive light like I have noticed lately. I am greeted by people like I am important not just to be polite.
It is new to me to have people treat me like I have some advice to give that is worthwhile. I met a mother of a boy who has autism. I hope I have given her hope for the future. I know having communication helped my mother and I in wondrous ways. The support my mother gives is giving me great hope for our future.
I hope families go to AMC theaters in droves in April. You will have the sensory friendly AMC theaters to make your experience the best it can be.
Please help TASH continue the work of helping people navigate the World. I look forward to meeting more families during April which is the TASH Dash to the finish line of non-discrimination.
By Tracy Thresher, Advocate
Category General Thoughts | Tags: Tags: advocacy, autism, blog, film, future, hope, support, TASH, Tracy Thresher, wretches & jabberers,
Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
It is the best time of my life to be in the public eye along with my partner in positive thinking Larry. I never thought in my wildest dream that we could move the World to change their thinking in the way we have. It is important to have the support of the Autism Society to help us get our message in the mind of all people. I thank the Autism Society for helping our message be heard.
It is critically important to adults with autism to have patient support people to be productive and successful in their lives. Adult services in my life have enabled me to find my voice in the World. I have typed my dreams to my team to get in the community and go to the legislators in Vermont to plead my case for supporting adult services. The help I get from Washington County Mental Health is my way to being successful. This is true for my friend Larry too. The Howard Center helps him be the man he wants to be. Please tell your legislators our message or your own story. Thank you.
Friday, February 4th, 2011
It is my hope that politicians read my blog.
It is important for them to know the needs that people in the World have; it is not just the basic needs but the vital need to communicate. Looking into the deep dark eyes of my student who types her troubles with handling her life, you have to see the inhumanity in proposing cuts to her communication or education services. I see the tears of pain in her eyes today of knowing that the legislature is in control of her life. It is hard to think what happens to children in the World who have no communication in their life.
It is important to the World for us to have voices. Our ideas contribute important wisdom to the World. I hope you politicians never look into the loving eyes of children and think of money. We need to invest in our kids. They need your support. Let’s give our future generation hope.
I will see you in NYC.
Category General Thoughts | Tags: Tags: autism, blog, budget cuts, children, film, future, politics, support, Tracy Thresher, wretches & jabberers,