I-ASC is thrilled to announce that Eric Garcia will be a keynote speaker at this year’s Motormorphosis! Motormorphosis is the flagship conference on spelling and typing as communication. At this conference, we will present the latest information in communication, motor, research, and advocacy. Presenters will include spellers, families, researchers, and practitioners. This major event will be full of information, fun, and, best of all, free SWAG! We are so happy to have Eric as a keynote speaker for this exciting event!
Eric is an autistic individual who recently released a book entitled We’re Not Broken, Changing the Autism Conversation. He began writing about autism because he was frustrated by the media’s coverage of autism. The way that they portrayed autism didn’t really resonate with him. Everywhere he looked, there were myths, misconceptions, and misleading information. He saw narrow portrayals of autistic people as white men working in Silicon Valley. Eric’s life was nothing like what the media portrayed. He is Latino, a college graduate, and works as a journalist covering politics in Washington D.C. Eric started writing because he realized that he needed to document what so many autistic people had been saying for years; autism is a part of their identity, not something that needs to be fixed.
“This book is a message from autistic people to their parents, friends, teachers, coworkers, and doctors, showing what life is like on the spectrum. It’s also my love letter to autistic people. For too long, we have been forced to navigate a world where all the road signs are written in another language.”
Eric believes in two primary principles. One is that society needs to stop trying to cure autistic people. Instead, they should be focused on helping them live fulfilling lives. Eric was always considered by society to be “high functioning.” Because of this, people may think that he doesn’t need the same help or accommodations as someone who is “low functioning.” Eric’s work points out that neither of these terms apply to him and that both of these terms can be harmful.
“Yeah, I’m not a fan of the terms ‘high functioning’ and ‘low functioning.’ If we create this almost tiered system of autism, then we can say either, ‘Well, this person is low functioning, so we don’t need to spend that much money on them,’ or ‘this person is low functioning, so we don’t need to expect much of them’… On the flip side, calling someone ‘high functioning,’ like myself, or someone who can work or someone who can speak… erases the legitimate difficulties they might have. It might erase the fact they might need accommodations in school. It might erase the accommodations they might need at work. It flattens, and it erases their experiences.”
No matter what, we all need support in life. Eric just wants people to realize that autistic individuals can also have full and fulfilling lives. That is where they need support, not in trying to “fix” something that is a part of who they are.
Secondly, Eric believes that autistic people need to be included in policy-making decisions that affect them. In an interview conducted by Politics and Prose, Eric discussed how although we often hear about all of these policies and concerns regarding autism, we rarely hear directly from autistic individuals.
“But it is autistic people who live with the condition of autism – for all of its positives and negatives – as well as with the consequences of any collective action meant to help them. If there is going to be policy that has seismic impacts on their lives, they deserve to have a say in it, no matter how they communicate.”
As someone who has lived his whole life with autism, Eric Garcia has a lot to say on the matter. His book is a fantastic resource and worth reading before you hear him speak. He’s excited to share his stories and experiences with you at metamorphosis. This is truly a unique and exciting opportunity that we hope you can make it to!
Eric’s passion for helping others like him is extremely refreshing. He writes not only on behalf of himself but also to shed light on the stereotypes and injustices that are placed on the autistic community. His love letter acts as a way to show them that they are not alone in this fight. Being a pillar in your community isn’t just something you stumble upon. It is the result of hard work and dedication. Eric is dedicated to making the life of each autistic individual a life they choose for themselves.
The mission of I-ASC is to advance communication access for nonspeaking individuals globally through training, education, advocacy, and research. I-ASC supports all forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with a focus on methods of spelling and typing. I-ASC currently offers Practitioner training in Spelling to Communicate (S2C)with the hope that other methods of AAC using spelling or typing will join our association