“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” -Brene Brown

I like this definition of a badass…and we have some real badasses at Love & Autism. Speakers that step up into their truth, demand to be heard, and challenge the status quo. Each speaker’s message, because of their willingness to tell their truth, is powerful and inspiring.  

As a fun way to introduce you to our Love & Autism 2017 main-stage lineup, we’ve collected some of our favorite quotes. Hear their voice. Recognize them as the badasses they are!  

I know after reading this, you will come to the same conclusions as I did…I can’t wait to hang out with this group! It is getting real exciting as we roll out all our fun plans for this year. The labor of love that is planning and organizing is underway! But right now, just enjoy our badass lineup…

Amy Gravino–The Meaning of Low Expectations

“My parents tried one thing after another to help me, a desperate if not futile effort in a world that had little (if any) awareness or understanding of autism. The challenges I faced were many, yet few were greater than the low expectations and doubt in my abilities that others had for me.”


Amy Sequenzia–On Being Valued

“I don’t want to be valued by the nondisabled, neurotypical definitions of success. I don’t have a PhD, a college degree, or a high school diploma. I don’t have a job. I don’t pay taxes.

Degrees, jobs, being a taxpayer are worthy goals for anyone who wishes them.

Those are not the goals I have for my life.

I still deserve to be valued.”


Tom Iland– The Importance of Self-Love

“Once you love yourself, others will love you in return.  Just like The Ripple Effect with one small pebble creating outward movement in the water.  Waiting for others to love you is like expecting those ripples to turn inward and that goes against the laws of nature and attraction.”


John Elder Robison–On Emotional Expression

“We autistics have deep and strong feelings. What’s different about us is that we may not express them in the expected ways, and we may not have typical responses to things that might trigger an emotional response in you. This does not make us robots. This makes us autistic.”


Kasianne Sibley–Challenging the Tragedy Lens

“Yesterday, I sat in front of my computer for several hours watching you have a discussion about people like me. For hours and hours I watched you talk about people like me as though we cannot hear you calling us an emergency, a crisis, a burden, a tsunami, hopeless, an unfortunate situation, poisoned, damaged. Always the horrific language. Always about children. Always children you claim to love.”


Daniel Wendler–Being Comfortably Unique

“I have Asperger’s. And I wouldn’t trade it away if I could.  Asperger’s is part of who I am, in the same way that the sound of my laughter is part of me. Nobody laughs quite like I do, but it’s a sound that brings joy to the people who love me. And my Asperger’s makes me different from many others, but that just means I have something unique to share with the people I love.”


David Finch–Transforming the Autism Narrative

“It’s only a developmental disability if we say it is. It’s certainly a unique developmental scenario. But I don’t think it’s something that is disabling across the board, as much as our narrative would suggest. We need to change the narrative from pathology to celebrating the many, many gifts.”


Rupert Isaacson–On Challenging Professionals

“Most of the professionals we dealt with, with the best of intentions, basically told us that our lives were over [because of Rowan’s autism]. And I remember thinking, “I don’t believe you. I think this is going to be the biggest adventure of all. And this is going to be a beautiful adventure. But it’s going to be real adventure.”


Nick Walker–Pathology Paradigm is just Wrong

“Work based in the pathology paradigm has no more scholarly or “scientific” validity than work based in cultural paradigms of racism, misogyny, or homophobia. Like racism, misogyny, and homophobia, the pathology paradigm is just plain wrong. The fact that at this point in history nearly all mainstream academic and professional writing on autism is based in the pathology paradigm doesn’t make it any less wrong. There was a time that nearly all mainstream academic and professional writing on race was racist, and that didn’t make racism valid or right.”


Alex Plank — On Being Comfortable with Our Own Paths

“Autism is a developmental delay, not a developmental stop. What you may have been doing at 20..25.. maybe I’m doing at 30. We all have our own paths.”


Laura Nadine–Some Real Truth

“This idea that autism should have a look places the onus on me to prove myself; prove that I am either autistic or that I am not.  Everyday I fight for my right to breathe air as the world forms juries in both courts – autistic vs not autistic, total reliance vs. total independence – leaving me in the land of in-between.”


Noah Britton–Autism as Freedom

“After my diagnosis, I skipped home because I felt freer than ever. I had everything explained that didn’t make sense.”


Kristine Mastrodoni–On Evolving

“As a parent, my journey with autism has been a long one, but an optimistic one. Looking back it is almost surreal to think how far we have come, Jake and myself. My evolution from parent in denial, parent in despair, parent in the midst of looking, searching, even praying for answers. What if I would have known what I do now?”


Elaine Hall–Build Compassion

“We are with you for the journey. Today you have special needs; tomorrow, we may have the same. In a second, we can all have special needs. We are all connected. Now is the time to build compassion for people of all abilities.”


I like these badasses already. I know I will learn and grow from their journey, from their willingness to tell their truth.

Learn more from the badasses of 2017, not just about autism, but about life, and love and living like a badass in their own truth and vulnerability.

Come hang out with all of us on September 31st – October 1st in San Diego!

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