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POEM: I May Not Look At You But I am Listening, I May Not Talk but I am Responding

A note from the Poet, Wesley Loh: This Poem is dedicated to my beloved autism community. I intend to capture/express some of things we go through inside us. 
To our non-speaking autistics counterparts:
we feel your pain of the misconceptions people have of you, having unfavourable and inaccurate perceptions of you. It is tough living in a world where your way of communication is different from the mainstream. 
This poems also seeks to be a voice for you to some extent (especially the 2nd segment), debunking common myths of non-speaking autistics and helping the world understand the inner thoughts and feelings that are going on inside you that you otherwise don't vocalise. 
Given that I am a speaking autistic, I don't think my poem does justice to fully represent you and your thoughts, but do know I tried my best and that we are all a part of each other as fellow autistics from the same beloved community. The Neurodiversity Movement need not divide us, on the contrary, it unites us!

My Portfolio of Autism Community Involvement

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From Latest to EarliestAs at 16th September 2020WhatsApp Autism Community Singapore (WACS) chat network, an autistic-led project/initiative  - http://w.iautistic.com, 2018 to presentCo-founder


Emerging Stronger Conversations, 12 September 2020ParticipantI spoke about issues autistics face, such as employment. I also spoke about a paradigm shift needed


Wild Poet’s Den #, Open Mic 2, 22 August 2020Poet
# Wild Poets’ Den is a new monthly spoken word event in Singapore that aims to create an alcohol-free, warm, inclusive & safe space for writers to come share their truths, musings, poems and stories.
“A Very Special Walk (AVSW) 2020” by the Autism Resource Centre (Singapore( (ARC(S)), June to August

What A Truly Inclusive Event, and Society, Looks Like

https://elemental.medium.com/autism-is-an-identity-not-a-disease-inside-the-neurodiversity-movement-998ecc0584cd

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) annual gala in November (reference article link above) is a very good example of how a truly inclusive event and/or autism event should look like. Just to point out a few features/attributed.

1. Colour-coded badges for Communication Preferences Autistics have differing personalities; some love to talk to everybody (or for some, like me, is because I yearn for company and friendship), some prefer to stick to only those they know, while others prefer to be alone.

"But isn't that the same for everyone?" "Some non-autistics may prefer to be alone too". Well, there is more to that than meets the eye. It is not merely a matter of preference for us. It is due to some inherent autism traits or challenges. For example, those who prefer to be alone might need that to find solititude and calmness from the sensory overloa…

Autism community TERMINOLOGIES - Use the right ones please

https://www.abc.net.au/life/autistic-or-has-autism-why-words-matter-and-how-to-get-it-right/10903768

Indeed, there is a lot of deeper meanings in the terminologies. We should never dismiss it as just "mere terminology" or reduce it to "let's not get hung up on terminology".
Different terms can mean very different things, and that is partly attributable to the nature of the *mEnglish language.
Moreover, it has underlying mindsets/paradigms behind the terminology, which is further reinforced through the use of the terminology.
The shift from "person with autism" to "Autistic person" is a paradigm shift on a very deep and high level and in many ways.
I hope those whose lives have been touched by autism will be players of the bigger plan of breeding a culture of acceptance, appreciation and celebration of Autism and Neurodiversity.
For Autistics, and Caregivers, if you are on the journey towards understanding and discovering autism, may you continue o…

Riding through COVID-19 with Hope

Riding through COVID-19 with Hope Written by Wesley Loh, Autistic Advocate
NOT to be reproduced without written permission of the author
We are facing a global pandemic called COVID-19 The worst crisis in decades we have seen Or at least, so nations worldwide deem Daily sharp increases of cases, while we continue mourning in our wait for a vaccine
Many shops close down, from retail to non-essential services to office & school canteen The silence in the malls and street, what an unusual scene
Everyone is barred from meeting physically, we wonder how our family and friends have been As we work and study from home, staring at the screen What a major disruption to our routine
We must stand united and cooperate if we want to emerge from this crisis strong and supreme Stay at home and keep your home clean Be considerate to others, don’t behave like you are the Queen Work or study hard, but take breaks in between, for you are human, not a machine Keep in touch with family and community virtually, tha…

Life Lessons from Autistic Adults Real Life stories, which we can ALL learn

https://www.sourcekids.com.au/learning-to-be-autistic-a-personal-perspective-and-my-advice-to-parents/
As I read this story, I just feel so encouraged and inspired by this autistic person who has on one hand gone through much and achieved much and on the other hand, still value and impart the importance of embracing one's own autism and self-acceptance.. which are fundamentally very important to our very existence
I encourage my readers to click on the link above to read her story. Her story speaks for itself and it won't do justice for me to re-tell or regurgitate her story here, lest I dilute it. She is her own voice.
What I will do, however, is list down lifelessons I think we can ALL take away from it. I have categorised them according to what I feel is most important to a certain group/category of people, but of course some lessons can be applied across various categories of people  _______________
LIFE LESSONS FOR AUTISTICS
#1: Preserve your own mental health and self acceptan…

COVID-19: Coping Strategies for Autistics for our Routines, Adjustment and Adapting

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To all my beloved autistic friends, and caregivers of autistics, out there... it can be challenging adjusting to the changes/disruption to routines & lifestyle as malls,offices,tuition & childcare centres shut down operations with effect from Tuesday, as a circuit breaker to the COVID-19 spread. Some personal tips:
● If your routine involves going out to certain malls/places on weekends (or on any fixed days/timings), take this TRANSITION PERIOD to perform your comfort routine as usual (before they shut down on Tuesday) for the last time in some time. Malls are more quiet, with less people, this period [see 2nd picture for evidence] which may mean less sensory issues to cope with there.
PRE-EMPT but makingADJUSTMENTS and PREPARING yourself for this transition... modify your routine to fit this "stay home" period. E.g. can certain routines/hobbies you like to perform outside, be performed/done at home (or virtually from home) instead?
Request home cooked food for …