At first glance, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) annual gala in November looked like many a Washington, D.C., nonprofit fundraiser. Approaching the swank ballroom of a downtown hotel, I saw the standard check-in table by the door, and coat check nearby.
But with my drink ticket, I received an unusual packet: a set of color-coded communication badges to display like a name tag. Green signifies “actively seeking communication and happy to be approached for a conversation.” Yellow means “I only want to talk to people I know.” Red indicates “I don’t want to talk to anyone.”
I clipped a…
Sean McKenna opened his eyes and was surprised to find himself alive.
He reached out to touch the things around him, confirming their physical existence and, by extension, his own. He turned on the small television next to his hospital bed just as Bette Midler was singing a song from her new album on the Today show.
That threw him for a moment. If there was a heaven, Bette Midler would surely be in it.
The previous night, when McKenna closed his eyes to go to sleep, he had made his peace with the idea that he might not wake…
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