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Autistic Activist on YouTube

Amanda Baggs

— February 27, 2008 — Lifestyle
Amanda Baggs is a 27 year old autistic woman who can't communicate verbally and isn't fully capable of taking care of herself.

A lot of people don't have an understanding of the condition, but she wouldn't let that defeat her. She posted a YouTube video in an attempt to raise awareness which ended up receiving over 375,000 views.

She clearly lets the world know that she can speak eloquently (with the help of text-to-speech) and explain her world to us. Amanda envied the progress of gay rights and wanted to do something similar for the autistic.

"I remember in '99," she says, "seeing a number of gay pride Web sites. I envied how many there were and wished there was something like that for autism. Now there is."

The message, as Wired put it, is "We're here. We're weird. Get used to it."

Her message is getting out thanks to the attention that her video has gotten; it is bringing surfers and doctors to her blog and changing the way we look at autism.
Trend Themes
1. Autism Awareness - There is a growing trend towards raising awareness and understanding of autism, driven by viral videos and personal stories like Amanda Baggs'.
2. Empowerment Through Technology - Amanda Baggs' use of text-to-speech technology highlights the trend of empowering individuals with disabilities to communicate and express themselves.
3. Online Activism - The success of Amanda Baggs' YouTube video demonstrates the power of online activism in creating positive change and challenging societal perceptions.
Industry Implications
1. Healthcare - The healthcare industry has an opportunity to explore new technologies and interventions that can improve the quality of life and support for individuals with autism.
2. Technology - The technology industry can innovate and develop more accessible and inclusive communication tools to empower individuals with disabilities like text-to-speech technology.
3. Media and Entertainment - The media and entertainment industry can play a role in promoting autism awareness and representation through the creation of diverse and authentic storytelling.
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