Written by The Autism Peer (aka Ryan K. Litchfield)
Hi Everyone! I am back. I thought today being the first day of Autism Awareness Month would be the perfect time to make my return. I have decided to change my website and blog name from Ryan’s Voice to The Autism Peer. The blogs, videos, and presentations from Ryan’s Voice are still present but will remain as part of this new initiative (The Autism Peer) I have decided to go forward with.
People are wondering, “Why The Autism Peer?” Well, as an autism and disability self-advocate, and with more individuals being diagnosed on the autism spectrum, I believe that with the rising numbers it is time for all of us to connect to bring hope and strength to all those in need, especially for adults on the autism spectrum where there needs to be more resources as well as research and funding. The idea behind The Autism Peer is for individuals on the autism spectrum to share their lived experiences with other individuals on the autism spectrum by providing advocacy, education, mentoring, and motivation to help them make life choices. Autism peers can also guide and support professionals in various industries and organizations that involve working with individuals on the autism spectrum to promote best practices as well as quality services and supports related to their independent and personal goals and needs. Think of autism peer support as the guiding mechanism for helping and supporting other individuals on the autism spectrum to provide them the hope and strength they need to find both independence and success in their lives. Autism peers have the potential to contribute to both individuals and to society as a whole by displaying core values such as acceptance; autonomy; awareness; critical thinking; compassion; empathy; experience; generosity; knowledge; perseverance; resilience; resourcefulness; teamwork; and transparency. As an autism peer specialist, I have had the privilege to share my personal experiences and situations from lived experience to others on the autism spectrum, and more often than not, they are acknowledged, heard, and respected. Their hopes, dreams, successes, challenges, they all reveal strengths and needs which with autism peer support can help guide and support individuals in deciding what direction they would like to take in terms of their own life choices and goals. The truth of the matter is this, autism peer support has the potential to do something incredible in addition to providing hope and strength. Autism peer support has the opportunity to change lives for the better.
My future goal for The Autism Peer is to make it into a potential online/virtual business to promote life skills coaching to adults on the autism spectrum across the United States as well as advocacy, education, and training to communities, families, individuals, organizations, and professionals willing to take the leap to helping, guiding, and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with their independent living and personal goals and needs. This is still in the works and will take time to make happen but a plan is being developed so stay tuned for more information to come.
Again, I am glad to be back, and I plan to have another blog post again soon!