Saturday, April 14, 2012

Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone and Autism Acceptance Month

We're featuring "Slice of Life" conversations with Autistics of all ages -- kids through adults -- throughout April's Autism Acceptance Month

Our goal is to help TPGA readers understand that autistic people are people who have interesting, complicated lives and who are as diverse and varied as any other population united by a label.

We are the people in each other's neighborhoods, and the more we know about each other -- the more visible autistic people and children are -- the more common autism acceptance will be. That is our hope.


Today we're talking with multi-faceted self-advocate Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, who also recorded a video of her answers for accessibility purposes.


What's Your Name? 

Hi, My name is Savannah Nicole Logsdon-Breakstone. I'm 24.

Do you have a website?

I write for a lot of places, but my own website is Cracked Mirror in Shalott. I blog mainly about Disability issues, and my own experiences being me. Sometimes I wander into my special interest of the history and anthropology of disability.

I also write, on mainly disability but also on pop culture and sometimes on food, at other sites including Persephone Magazine, Queer Mental Health, and Disability Right Now. (Disability Right Now, written by a cross disability team, launched March 30th in honor of the recent vigils honoring the deaths of PwD, especially George Hodgins.)

Are you on Twitter and/or Facebook? Under which names?

On Twitter, I go by @nicocoer and on Facebook you can find me by searching for Savannah Nicole Logsdon-Breakstone.

What would you like a one-sentence description of yourself to say?

Savannah is an Autistic who is queer, with Mental Health and Chronic Health Disabilities from rural PA, and does Advocacy, blogging, and Activism.

Do you have any autistic superpowers? What are they?

I don't really believe in Autistic Superpowers as much as I believe in the vast diversity of human beings. I think someone's talents can be influenced or enhanced by different aspects of being, but not that it makes the talents we possess as "superpowers." Unless, of course, you grant that everyone has their own potential superpowers, because human diversity is awesome and needed part of ... well, of being human.

My own personal talents that are influenced by how I experience being Autistic is cooking. I can cook without recipes and know what will taste best together. In fact, my worse cooking is the times when I do follow recipes. I also see words as Tetris blocks when I'm writing, and  people tell me I'm an excellent writer today since embracing that.

What are some situations that make you happy, or satisfied?

I like cats, cool/cold rooms, Heavy Blankets and sitting on a couch with my best friend while we are each doing our own things on our own laptops. I don't need to be doing an activity with so much as being with I guess?

What are some situations that make you sad, or anxious?

Not knowing what is going on. Not knowing the plans, or having the plans change suddenly. People being late getting somewhere because of the above two reasons. When my needs contradict my mother's access needs as a person with ADD (aka, all of the above.) Mourning my cats Baka and Tribble, who were service and service in training cats who passed away tragically a couple years ago. (I'd like to get another service animal, but I'm not ready for another pet -- Baka started as a pet -- and I'm thinking a dog would be more suitable next time.)

Are there specific topics you find particularly compelling?

History and Cultural Anthropology of disability, Institutions, and so forth. I've been told I could teach a class on the history of Institutions -- both Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities -- before. I told them I don't have the money for the degree to get in the door.

What are your preferred ways to be social?

I mentioned this earlier, but being with someone rather than doing with. I love sitting together with friends while we are each working on our own thing, even if we IM the person next to us because words aren't working that moment. Not that speaking verbally is disallowed, but that each person is able to communicate/interact as is best for them. Also, I like sharing food.

What traits do you prize in a friend, or companion?

Ability to do the above type of socializing- I have heard some people dislike this, though I have a hard time seeing how.

I like people who understand that consent is about touching people and their things, not just big issues like sex and medicine. I like being touched if I consent to it first, so someone who can respect that works, even if they personally aren't interested in touch.

Oh! Number one is someone who knows and accepts access needs. Bonus points if they can find a way to communicate their own.

Not needed, but beloved is comfort with squeezing my hands or squeezing me when I need it sensory wise.

Are there parts of your life you wish were easier?

I wish I wasn't constantly anxious. I wish I had the stamina, both physically and mentally, to work. I wish I had the money to go to university and still get/keep the supports I'll need. I wish the housing system would be more accessible for everyone.

What's the next big goal you have for yourself?

Getting a place of my own, with the supports I need to live independently without getting sick. lots of time schedules and charts and checklists for daily living, and internet connection.

For this year, 2012, I'm planning on filming myself stimming in public for every major trip I take. So far, the list of planned locations includes DC, Chicago, and Seattle!

What does bliss feel like to you?

Acceptance. Full, and total acceptance. Love and peace with my faults in full, and trust to show me the faults in a friend or loved one. There, all the hate and bad things that I've internalized go away, and I am just me, without the hard things I live with the rest of the time. In my brain, like pressing my cheek against the chest of a large dog and hearing her pant through the soft fluff.