Autism Connections Kent

One of the primary issues facing Autistic people and people with other neurodivergences is respect for self-advocacy. When people without disabilities are the primary voice about disability issues, it can skew people’s perceptions of disability and the needs and rights of people with disabilities, which can further limit self-advocacy. For example, misunderstandings about stimming and coping mechanisms can lead non-Autistic teachers to try to force their students to limit stimming, which can limit their comfort and ability to express themselves. Autism Connections Kent is an organization that was founded before Fall 2016 as a student organization run primarily by and for students on the autism spectrum on Kent State University’s main campus. The group serves as a social organization through which people on the spectrum can connect as well as a campus resource for others to learn more about autism. Throughout its inaugural semester, Autism Connections Kent has maintained involvement in the campus dialogue surrounding autism by holding events, coffee hours, meetings, and other opportunities for Autistic voices to be at the forefront. Occasional issues have surfaced in terms of advocating for ourselves while acknowledging and honoring the existence of a wide range of abilities and lifestyles throughout the autism spectrum as well as the various identities that our peers on the spectrum may bring to the table. In the coming year, Autism Connections Kent will continue its involvement with increased focus on intersectionality and promotion of a world that supports neurodiversity.