I’ve been debating whether or not to make this video for quite some time and kept pushing it back so I that could at least post one more solid educational video first. But I feel it’s come to a point where it’s necessary.

I want to let you know a little bit about what’s been happening in my life, what will be happening with the channel and why, as well as tell you something about myself that I’ve never shared publicly. As those of you who’ve been watching my channel awhile know, I’ve gone from releasing 2-3 videos a week consistently for about two years without fail—even down to the exact publishing time—to announcing that starting August 2016, I would be reducing to one video most weeks, to the past few months wherein I’ve posted hours or even days later than ever before.

As I said within the announcement video I published in July, the reduction in posting frequency wasn’t a vacation, but rather a strategic—albeit painful—decision arising from the mounting unmanageability of an ever-increasing workload and ever-decreasing sleep.

Having long ago reached the point of being unable to answer every comment, message and email—which I abhor more than I can possibly explain, and wish so desperately I could reply fully to each and every one of you—recently I’ve been increasingly more behind, overloaded and decidedly absent from social platforms.

I greatly value accountability and have always been someone who makes good on my word, even when the other party has no expectation. The first time I was five minutes late posting a video, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. But after having uploaded a few videos recently explaining and apologizing for why a video was not ready, I’ve found that what I perceive as an unacceptable failure to keep my word, is by and large not that big of a deal to those of you who have commented.
Still, I’ve felt the need to try and explain why I’ve been failing to keep up.

One of the primary reasons I mentioned for shifting to one video a week was to dedicate more time to building the necessary foundation for a functioning team, upon which the long-term sustainability of Bite Size Vegan and expansion of resources depends.

Yet I’ve continually run into the Catch22 that in order to take on the help needed to realistically continue this work, I must put in more time and more energy than ever before, at a point when my body and mind are refusing to be pushed any further and I’ve literally run out of hours in the day, averaging 0-4 hours of sleep the last two plus years.

Precisely because time is so limited, it’s all the more vital I use it as wisely and effectively as possible. Part of this entails re-evaluating the priorities and structure of Bite Size Vegan. Taking the time to move forward with forethought will accomplish far more than maintaining a semblance of regular video output while driving myself into the ground.

Perhaps this will mean a shift in focus from YouTube videos to speaking in Universities and schools, like the incredible opportunity I had to speak in a New Jersey high school class recently, part of which you can see in this video.

Regardless of the direction Bite Size Vegan takes from here, I cannot continue to do everything on my own all at once.

I’m trying to fit too much in this video. To stay somewhat focused but still offer more information for those interested, I published an additional video in a public post on Patreon, which anyone can access. It goes into more detail about team building, why I’ve not simply issued an open call for volunteers, how and why I started a Patreon page, and more about the financial end of things.


UPDATE: In response to your questions about the logistical details I crammed in towards the very end of this video and the financial and team-building aspects in the additional video, I’ve now released the video from Patreon directly to the channel with an additional introduction and ending. You can click the title below to watch!

Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan…again… Before I go into anything else, I want to first thank each and every one of you for your incredibly supportive messages and comments. I am doing my best to respond to as many as I possibly can, and want you all to know how very much they mean to me.

I’ve also received questions about the logistical details I crammed in towards the very end of my last video and the financial and team-building aspects I covered in the additional video I posted publicly on Patreon. Given my penchant for pathological over-informing—I’m working on it—I thought it might be beneficial to re-address these briefly and bring the additional video directly to the channel. It will follow this introduction.

While I am taking a step back from YouTube, I’m not going on vacation—don’t let this breathtaking backdrop fool you. It’s a parking lot…behind my building. There’s like a dumpter right over there.

I’ll be working full time, just not in as visible a manner as I always have. And actually working on keeping it to JUST full-time to allow for some sleepage and much-neglected self-care stuff.

One things I’ll be focusing on is in person education, which I have really been enjoying—and have upcoming public speeches at Michigan and Cleveland VegFests. and. A great way to stay informed is to sign up for the free Nugget Newsletter at BiteSizeVegan.com, and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and kinda Twitter.

One major project on my plate is to revamp the website with a primary focus on making the content more navigable, searchable, and easily accessed. The site has been on the backburner for some time, and from the inquiries I receive regularly, it seems many videos have gotten lost in the volume of output. My primary goal with the content has always been to make free information as openly and easily accessible as possible, which calls for a far more dynamic indexing of topics than currently exists on the site.

For those of you with more questions about autism, I would really encourage you to check out the resources on the blog post and in the description of this and the previous video. As I would love to create an entire video series—and trust me, I considered it—but there are so many great resources available from incredible autistic activists and self-advocates. Besides, doing so would kinda defeat the purpose of shifting focus from YouTube to my list of other neglected priorities.

For my autistic, Aspie, and neurodivergent peeps, thank you for the incredible gift of feeling heard and understood, and for sharing your experiences with me so openly.

For anyone who’s written that watching me has inspired or helped you in any way to believe more in yourself, I wanted to share my response to MEH NAME—who I actually got to meet at my Ireland talk. It was an awesome convergence of awkward, spectacular to behold, I’m sure.

Anyways: for anyone who’s written that I’ve inspired or helped you in any way, “if you watched me in the day-to-day, you might just gain the confidence to rule the world. I’m a fully-flawed, fumbling frequent-failer (who fancies herself some alliteration). But I for one find there’s little to learn from “perfection.” Give me the messy imperfect path, every time.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, no longer behind the insurmountable journey of a new tab in your browser, the additional video dealing with the down and dirty details and future of Bite Size Vegan.

Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan and welcome to a vegan nugget addendum, I suppose? Get ready for some edge-of-your-seat logistics. Yep…

I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss some practical and financial aspects of Bite Size Vegan that I’ve covered in my more informal videos on the channel and far more frequently here on Patreon with my Nugget Army.

I decided to make this a public post open to anyone, patron or not, wanting more information about the long term goals of Bite Size Vegan and the upcoming changes being made in order to reach them.

As I said in the main video on my channel, I have been and remain the limiting factor in not only increasing the reach of Bite Size Vegan’s free educational content, but even maintaining the regular video output while taking on additional commitments. Even when reducing to one video week, the process of building the necessary system for a volunteer team, among other projects for long-term sustainability, requires more time and focused then I have been able to give with my current workload.

I’m incredibly fortunate to have the support I do from my Nugget Army on Patreon. Having worked since I was 12 years old, through high school, college and grad school,

and paid off my loans before graduating, I’ve never expected nor been comfortable asking for support. So it was rather terrifying launching my Patreon page, which at the time, was a rather unknown platform in the vegan YouTube community.

I was certain I’d post the announcement video and no one would come. The fact that anyone voluntarily chose to support Bite Size Vegan was astounding to me—I still find it surreal and terrifically uncomfortable.

The Nugget Army has not only made the continuance of Bite Size Vegan videos possible, but also allowed me to accept more of the speaking invitations I receive from around the world—along with the help of some pretty awesome corner markets and AirBnB finds.

Of course, with travel and speaking come the demands of months of intensive research, writing, and visual presentation creation for each speech, all in addition to team-building and overall restructuring efforts, ever-mounting emails and messages, and of course maintaining the regular content, which itself progressively intensified in depth of research and citations, and level of editing, cutting into more and more sleep time to try and keep up.

It would be unsustainable for anyone, I’d imagine, regardless of ability and neurotype.

I think being Autistic has simultaneously been a great strength and vulnerability—allowing me to work on Bite Size Vegan close to every waking hour for a significant period of time, but also requiring considerations and supports that I’ve failed to understand and secure.

For example, traveling is incredibly stressful, as is even the slightest change in routine and surroundings. The back-to-back nature of my trips, and high volume of interactions, logistical alterations and sensory input hasn’t allowed for the decompression and sensory soothing so vital for the neurological needs of an autistic brain. So while the workload and stressors have continued to mount, my ability to handle them has continually decreased to a point of diminishing returns. This is why it’s so important that I take the time to learn about and find the needed supports for myself, as well as focus on building a solid foundation for bringing on a team rather than trying to do so on the side of everything else.

I’ve had many offers from individuals wanting to volunteer over the years, and appreciate every single one. But for each task or project, I created tutorials, trainings and some method of communicating and tracking progress. Multiply this over all of the aspect of sustaining and growing Bite Size Vegan and it quickly becomes bottlenecked through me.

This is the Catch 22 I mentioned in the main video: that in order to take on the help needed for me to continue, I must put in more time and energy than ever before right when my mind and body have nothing left to give.

And even the tightest system achieves nothing if I’m the one managing the team.

In reality I’d be in the same position if not worse. Hence the need for one or more volunteer coordinator/project manager/all-around-awesome individuals to handle the bulk of the behind-the-scenes aspects that have grown so much as to eclipse any ability of mine to continue with regular content. I’m hoping to have kick–ass vegan fill this position relatively soon so we can spend this time really building a strong foundation for a team.

Regarding the existing Patreon income, I’ve done my best to create transparency as to the allocation of pledges based on average expenses and last year’s taxes. This is not anything Patreon builds into the platform, and I plan to update and improve it over time.

I’ve told my patrons from the start to feel free to ask any questions or voice any concerns. And to always put their needs and financial security first. I also receive comments and messages on other platforms of people apologizing for not being able to pledge money on Patreon, and always let them know that there is absolutely no pressure to pledge and to never discount the incredible support of watching, liking, commenting, and especially sharing the videos. Given my total lack of promotion know-how, every single bit of help furthering the reach of Bite Size Vegan’s educational content is a greater support than I can possibly explain. Never apologize for nor discount the impact of that action.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement over the years. I am profoundly grateful and very fortunate to have the privilege of doing the work that I do. As scary as this change will be, I know it is so incredibly important to finally take the time to evaluate the most effective way forward for Bite Size Vegan to further the reach of vegan message through open access educational content. Moving forward with forethought will accomplish far more than maintaining a regular output while treading water.

To my Nugget Army, again I can never thank you enough. Of course, I’m going to be taking you along this journey with me—as long as you’ll have me. And in fact you might actually be seeing more of me. So get excited.

If you are not part of the Nugget Army and want to join us, I for one would be honored to have you in the family. I will continue to do the very best that I can to make the truth as accessible as possible. Thank you for standing with me. We’re only just getting started.

 


In striving for transparency and accountability regarding the requirements and demands of Bite Size Vegan’s expanding workload, I feel I’ve yet to find a balance between making an excessively boring multi-hour tutorial and another overly abbreviated task list, or indecipherable mess, which always fail to convey anything comprehensive.

That’s not what this video is really about. Today I want to try and communicate something very important about who I am—though it has been infinitely more challenging to put into words.

 

I’m Autistic.

 

I’ve never shared this publicly and I want to be clear that in talking about my experience, I am not and cannot speak for other Autistics; nor is this video intended to be an in-depth educational overview of autism.

For anyone unfamiliar, I highly recommend referencing autistic activists and self-advocates,[1] not Autism Speaks, which, like so many of the organizations I’ve covered in my videos, harms and misrepresents the very individuals for whom it purports to advocate.[2]

I’ve provided links to several resources below, including Autistic activist Lydia X. Z. Brown of the blog Autistic Hoya,[3] who effectively introduces autism:

“Autism is a neurological, pervasive developmental condition. It is a disability. It is usually considered a disorder. It is not a disease. It is a lifelong condition that spans from infancy to adulthood. Autistic people usually share a variety of characteristics, including significant differences in information processing, sensory processing, communication abilities or styles, social skills, and learning styles.”

– Lydia X. Z. Brown (Autistic Hoya), Autism FAQ
[definition from 2012 document: see note]

Despite prevalent stereotypes, there aren’t any visible markers for autism and no two Autistics are the same. An incredibly concise yet surprisingly helpful analogy I’ve come across is that:

“autism is not a processing error. It’s a different operating system.”

I’ve spent my whole life trying to understand and operate in a world that seems completely foreign. I’m only now even barely beginning to understand how I’m “wired,” so to speak, and slowly learning how to work with instead of against my brain.

Despite having worked with autistic individuals and people with varying abilities for over a decade, and passionately vocal regarding issues surrounding disabilities as well as mental health, I’ve had a huge blind spot for myself, believing and being told my whole life that aspects of who I am were wrong or bad—and that I just needed to try harder, do better, stop being so difficult, and for the love of god, stop asking so many questions.

There are two main reasons I’ve never shared this about myself. First, I was only diagnosed just over a year ago haven’t really had a spare moment to take the time to process everything, and second—as I’ve said many times—Bite Size Vegan isn’t about me.

There are a lot of things in my life that I don’t include on the channel. Not because I’m ashamed or trying to hide anything—in fact, I actually tend to grossly over-share by societal standards—but because that’s not what Bite Size Vegan is for.

I’m sharing this with you now for a few reasons, the most pressing being that I’ve reached a point of what’s called autistic burnout. I’ve included to several resources on this topic at the base of this post, including a very helpful video[4] by Autistic blogger, public speaker, advocate, and activist Amythest Schaber. It’s part of their fantastic video series “Ask An Autistic,”[5] and really speaks to where I am right now with a clarity I can’t express at the moment.[6] It’s taken me over two weeks of writing, editing and re-writing, to finish this video.

 

 

Another reason I decided to try and communicate my experiences in such a public manner was the hope that doing so might—even in the smallest way—help break through the misinformation, disinformation, and stigmatizing of autism, as well as let any of you out there facing similar challenges know that:

You are not bad. And you are not broken.

It’s okay to be yourself fully and find what tools and help you need to be healthy.[7]

I for one have always had to reach a place of extreme over-exertion to even consider dialing anything back. And with the animals being my central focus every day the last few years as a full time activist, it’s taken me pushing myself even further beyond exhaustion than ever before.

But I have to start listening to what I’ve said in to all of you in many videos: in order to help others, you must first help yourself. If there is to be any hope for me to continue with the work I desperately want to keep doing every minute of the day, I have to step back from certain aspects for the time being in order to learn and put into place the necessary supports for myself.

I’ve driven myself to a point where my ability to be an effective advocate for the animals is progressively decreasing. Yet I keep stubbornly forcing myself onward, when even so many of you have told me to please take time off.

To be honest, time off, relaxation and self-care are very foreign to me. In fact, the one time in my life I really made a concentrated effort to relax, I ended up getting sick from the stress of trying to relax. I’m that good.

My brain has never been a quite place. Even when I try, I can’t disconnect any single element from its myriad of connections and contexts. I seem to lack any inherent filter for prioritization, so essentially every new concept, variable, thought, change or sensory input adds to the existing chaos—everything all at once all the time.

You can kind of hear this in my unscripted Q&A’s, where I’ll take the scenic route to an answer, speaking somewhat rapidly in an effort to keep up with my brain.

Communication has always been demanding. The challenge is navigating through the shifting chaos and deepening complexities while attempting to harness them long enough to translate them into a linear, simplified progression of thought, designed to help others make the connections for themselves.

Throughout my life, my art, and my activism, I’ve made decisions based on what would be most effective for the message or purpose of my work, regardless of my own comfort. Almost every aspect of Bite Size Vegan involves the very things in life I find most difficult—even terrifying: learning and utilizing technology, using social media…at all…reaching out to people for interviews, asking people to share my videos (or trying to even though they’re a free resource), asking for anything from anyone in any capacity, dealing with unexpected change, dealing with expected change, making business decisions, networking, traveling, structuring and organizing, anything regarding schedules—especially when out of my control—navigating basic human interactions, and—most absurd of all and the very purpose of Bite Size Vegan: simplifying complex issues into clear, linear, easily-accessed and understood educational resources.

But the truth is, if my mind didn’t work the way it does, and I hadn’t been through what I have, I wouldn’t be the person I am. As utterly exhausting and taxing it is to go through this process with the way my mind operates, every comment or message of change from new and existing vegans makes every ounce of effort more than worth it.

Being autistic is not a tragedy. Looking back, I believe it’s been an integral factor in my connecting with non-human animals from such an early age. I’m far from the first autistic person to draw this connection. In a perfect example of no two Autistics being the same, take Temple Grandin, the most well-known autistic woman in the world. Dr. Grandin has written how autism allowed her to really put herself in the place of the animals and understand how they think, what scares them, what makes them feel safe.[8] And she used that profound connection to design “better” and “friendlier” ways to systematically murder them.[9]

I, on the other hand, arrived at a different conclusion. From an early age, the experience of give everything I have in an effort to communicate clearly or to ask for help, only to be dismissed, ignored, or misinterpreted, made me all the more passionate about and determined to fight for the animals who are also screaming at the top of their lungs but are not just denied their voices and their freedom, but also their very individuality—living every moment in a hell infinitely worse than I could ever imagine.

I will never not be autistic. And wouldn’t want to be if I could. As I’ve said many times in my videos, we need as many varied and unique voices speaking about veganism as possible. You will reach people I never could, just as I may reach people others have not.

I’ve heard from so many of you that you don’t feel qualified, smart, or well-spoken enough to get active, or don’t look how you think you should. That’s a major reason I make sure to share what I perceive as my total incompetence, and the fear I feel every step of the way. Because we all have a tendency to compare our insides to other people’s outsides.

I think if we could all see what was going on behind the scenes in each other’s lives, we may find that the people we think have it “all figured out” are—in a lot of ways—just as lost and scared as we are. I for one intend to keep fighting through the fear, imperfect as ever, learning with every fall, and wearing my scars with pride.

———

Before wrapping up, I of course want to spell out what all this means logistically for Bite Size Vegan and the channel right now?

Well, I’m not going to drop off the face of the earth and I’m still not going on vacation. Honestly, I’d likely go insane were I to stop working entirely or even have a stereotypical “day off.”

I still have upcoming speeches—two already confirmed are VegMichigan and Cleveland Vegfest—as well as slaughterhouse vigil trips and volunteer time at farmed animal sanctuaries, among other things.

I will post any events open to the public on the “About” page of BiteSizeVegan.com, where you can also sign up for my newsletter to be informed of announcements and updates. Plus you get a free ebook to boot.

I’ll also be focusing intently on building the team structure and figuring out what changes and supports need to be in place for the long-term maintenance and growth of Bite Size Vegan. Again, please see the video on Patreon linked below for more details.

There’s an insane amount of backlog to be addressed on many fronts, not the least of which is the email inbox disaster. And of course finally sleeping!

At least for the time being, I will not be posting regularly on YouTube, and will be far less present on social media in general, though I will likely still post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so feel free to follow me on those if you like.

Also, given YouTube’s ongoing shenanigans, it’s always a good idea to click that bell and choose to enable notifications for the channel, so you’ll know when I do happen to bust something out.

As always, I’ll be the most present on Patreon checking in with and running things by my Nugget Army family, without whom there’d be no future to plan for Bite Size Vegan.

Though this may seem like a retreat or surrender, it is anything but. I’ll never stop fighting. And this is the time to do so from a place of grounded strength, no longer a crumpled mass, bruised and broken and swinging at shadows in blind desperation.

I hope you will continue to learn about and help promote veganism by perusing the 350+ videos on my channel. Please share them far and wide, in conversations with friends, families, on social media. Both my channel and website have a search feature and I have an excessive amount of playlists grouped by topics and themes. I bet there are some you’ve never seen before! …and some you never care to see again.

It would mean the world to me to know they are still being utilized for spreading the truth through education. I cannot overemphasize the power of sharing—its impact should never be discounted

Last but by far not least, I want to say that my supporters are unbelievable. You have sustained me, made my life livable through the sleepless nights of overworking my complicated mind. Thank you for standing by me. And thank you for accepting me as I am long before I could begin to start accepting myself.

 

Now go live vegan, and I’ll see you soon.

see ya next nugget!

 

 

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★ABOUT BITE SIZE VEGAN★
Future Plans & Patreon History [additional video on logistics and financial stuff] ➤ Peruse, Watch & SHARE The 350+ Bite Size Vegan Videos

➤ Stay Informed & In Touch
➣ Get updates & event announcements via the Nugget Newsletter (sign up free below!)
🔴SUBSCRIBE🔴 to the channel & click the 🔔 bell 🔔 to enable notifications!
➣ Follow my other social media accounts (see links in top right corner or along right side of site)

 

★ABOUT AUTISM★
Autistic activists & self-advocates are the best resources!

➤ Ask an Autistic Video Series
A Fantastic Resource! by Amythest Schaber

➤ Autistic Burnout & Shutdown [These help explain some of what I’m currently experiencing]:
What Is Autistic Burnout? by Amythest Schaber
What Shutdown Is And Isn’t via Crabby Centaur [the lists at the end are particularly helpful] ➣ What Is Autistic Shutdown? by Amythest Schaber
Autistic Regression and Fluid Adaptation by Cynthia Kim

➤ Some Starting Points for Learning About Autism:.
Autism FAQ By Lydia X. Z. Brown (Autistic Hoya)
What Is Autism? by Amythest Schaber
A Note On “High/Low Functioning” Labels
➣ A Crash Course On Terms: Terminology Post by Savannah Nicole Logsdon-Breakstone | Working Definitions Post by Cynthia Kim

➤ Resources for Autistics and Neurominorities [also see Resources Collections List below]:
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Welcome To The Autistic Community by Autism Acceptance Month

About “Passing” (Appearing Non-Autistic)
The Myth of Passing by Cynthia Kim
The Pitfalls of Passing and Not Passing by Kit Mead
It’s Different for Girls by Lynne Soraya [addresses issues specific to females on the spectrum] ➣ Doctors Are ‘Failing to Spot Asperger’s in Girls’ by Amelia Hill  [this article is outdated, but speaks to issues of gender on the spectrum]

➤ What’s Wrong With Autism Speaks?
Amythest’s Video [see the description for more links] ➣ Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group? by Amy Sequenzia on Autism Women’s Network
Georgetown: Say No to Autism Speaks by Julia X. Z. Brown
Active Acceptance: Why Does It Matter? by Amythest Schaber on Neurowonderful
New Autism Speaks Masterpost by The Caffeinated Autistic
➣ See [Citation #2] for videos from Autism Speaks

➤ RESOURCE COLLECTIONS LIST: [each link leads to a different resource collection] ➣ Autistic Self Advocacy Network Resource Library
Resources From Autism Acceptance Month
Autism Resources from Pagination
The Autistic Library from Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy
Autism Resources/Information Masterpost by Amythest Schaber on Neurowonderful
Resource Post from Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism

 


CITATIONS [bibliography follows]

[1] These are just a few of the many incredible autistic activists and self-advocates out there. See the Resource Collections list at the base of the blost post above:: Amythest Schaber, “Neurowonderful,” Neurowonderful, accessed March 20, 2017, http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/; Lydia X.Z. Brown, “Autistic Hoya,” accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.autistichoya.com/; ASAN, “Autistic Self Advocacy Network,” Autistic Self Advocacy Network, accessed March 13, 2017, https://autisticadvocacy.org/; Savannah Nicole Logsdon-Breakstone, “Cracked Mirror in Shalott,” Cracked Mirror in Shalott, accessed March 20, 2017, https://crackedmirrorinshalott.wordpress.com/; “THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO AUTISM,” accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/.

[2] The issues with Autism Speaks are far beyond the scope of this video. Please see the following resources for more information: Amythest Schaber, Ask an Autistic #6 – What’s Wrong With Autism Speaks?, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez936r2F35U&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=6 [there are additional resources in the video description]; Amy Sequenzia, “Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group?,” Autism Women’s Network, August 19, 2014, https://autismwomensnetwork.org/is-autism-speaks-a-hate-group/; Julia S. Brown, “Georgetown: Say No to Autism Speaks,” accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.autistichoya.com/2012/07/georgetown-say-no-to-autism-speaks.html; Amythest Schaber, “Active Acceptance: Why Does It Matter?,” Neurowonderful, accessed March 20, 2017, http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/post/66386003279/whydoesitmatter; “Responding to Christopher McDougle,” accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.autistichoya.com/2014/01/mcdougle.html; The following videos made BY Autism Speaks do a great job of hilighting some of the most troubling aspects of the organization’s approach and impact: Find Yaser, I Am Autism Commercial by Autism Speaks, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UgLnWJFGHQ&t=10s; MilestoneVideoNY, Autism Every Day, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0vCz2KWMM0; Autism Speaks, “Sounding The Alarm” Documentary, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de-FFNCBPzk&feature=youtu.be; “Transcript of Selected Scenes or the Infamous Autism Speaks Video ‘Autism Every Day,’” accessed March 20, 2017, https://www.facebook.com/notes/amy-sequenzia/transcript-of-selected-scenes-or-the-infamous-autism-speaks-video-autism-every-d/10152666260923701.

[3] Lydia X.Z. Brown, “Autism FAQ,” Autistic Hoya, accessed March 14, 2017, http://www.autistichoya.com/p/introduction-to-autism-faqs-of-autism.html.
NOTE: I contacted Lydia regarding quoting their work did but not afford them a large window of time, so the video was already published when I received a reply. I wanted to include this paraphrasing of their response for clarity: The definition I’ve quoted from the FAQ page is from 2012, and isn’t exactly how they’d define autism at present.

[4] Amythest Schaber, Ask an Autistic #3 – What Is Autistic Burnout?, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZwfujkNBGk&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=3.

[5] Amythest Schaber, Ask An Autistic Series Playlist, accessed March 20, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs.

[6] This post provides great perspective on autistic shutdowns. I find the lists at the end of the article, of what autistic shutdown isn’t and what it is, to be particularly helpful: crabbycentaur, “‘Shutdown’ — What It Is and What It Isn’t.,” Crabby Centaur, March 6, 2015, https://crabbycentaur.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/shutdown-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt/.

[7] Here are some incredibly helpful resources for finding information and support. Also see the Resources Collections list at the base of the blog post above: ASAN, “Resource Library,” Autistic Self Advocacy Network, accessed March 14, 2017, https://autisticadvocacy.org/resources/; ASAN, “Welcome To The Autistic Community,” Autism Acceptance Month, accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/resources/self-advocate/; Amythest Schaber, “Autism Resources/Information Masterpost,” Neurowonderful, accessed March 20, 2017, http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/autismmasterpost; ASAN, “Resources,” Autism Acceptance Month, accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/resources/.

[8] Temple Grandin, “Thinking Like Animals,” in Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals, ed. Linda Hogan, Brenda Peterson, and Deena Metzger, 1 edition (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999), 176–79, http://amzn.to/2nbJZdA; Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson, Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior, 1 edition (New York: Scribner, 2004), http://amzn.to/2iXVdfU; Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson, Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals, 1 edition (Boston: Mariner Books, 2010), http://amzn.to/2nTwWux; Temple Grandin and Oliver Sacks, Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism, Reissue edition (New York: Vintage, 2006), http://amzn.to/2mGfHM7; “The Woman Who Thinks like a Cow,” accessed March 20, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/broadband/tx/temple/; Grandin, Temple, “Thinking the Way Animals Do: Unique Insights from a Person with a Singular Understanding.,” Western Horseman, November 1997, http://grandin.com/references/thinking.animals.html.

[9] I’ve referenced Dr. Grandin’s work and the issues inherent within it in several of my videos. Of particular note are: Emily Moran Barwick, “Humane Halal & Kosher Kind | Mercy In Slaughter,” Bite Size Vegan, August 3, 2016, http://bitesizevegan.com/ethics-and-morality/humane-halal-kosher-kind-mercy-in-slaughter/; Emily Moran Barwick, “Sex With Animals: The Blurred Lines of Bestiality,” Bite Size Vegan, January 27, 2017, http://bitesizevegan.com/ethics-and-morality/sex-with-animals-the-blurred-lines-of-bestiality/.


ASAN. “Autism Acceptance Month.” Accessed March 14, 2017. http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/.
———. “Autistic Self Advocacy Network.” Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Accessed March 13, 2017. https://autisticadvocacy.org/.
———. “Resource Library.” Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Accessed March 14, 2017. https://autisticadvocacy.org/resources/.
———. “Resources.” Autism Acceptance Month. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/resources/.
———. “Welcome To The Autistic Community.” Autism Acceptance Month. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/resources/self-advocate/.
“Autism Resources.” Paginated Thoughts, May 31, 2016. https://kpagination.wordpress.com/autism-resources/.
Autism Speaks. “Sounding The Alarm” Documentary, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de-FFNCBPzk&feature=youtu.be.
Barwick, Emily Moran. “Humane Halal & Kosher Kind | Mercy In Slaughter.” Bite Size Vegan, August 3, 2016. http://bitesizevegan.com/ethics-and-morality/humane-halal-kosher-kind-mercy-in-slaughter/.
———. “Sex With Animals: The Blurred Lines of Bestiality.” Bite Size Vegan, January 27, 2017. http://bitesizevegan.com/ethics-and-morality/sex-with-animals-the-blurred-lines-of-bestiality/.
Brown, Julia S. “Georgetown: Say No to Autism Speaks.” Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.autistichoya.com/2012/07/georgetown-say-no-to-autism-speaks.html.
Brown, Lydia X.Z. “Autism FAQ.” Autistic Hoya. Accessed March 14, 2017. http://www.autistichoya.com/p/introduction-to-autism-faqs-of-autism.html.
———. “Autistic Hoya.” Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.autistichoya.com/.
———. “The Significance of Semantics: Person-First Language: Why It Matters.” Autistic Hoya. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.autistichoya.com/2011/08/significance-of-semantics-person-first.html.
crabbycentaur. “‘Shutdown’ — What It Is and What It Isn’t.” Crabby Centaur, March 6, 2015. https://crabbycentaur.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/shutdown-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt/.
Find Yaser. I Am Autism Commercial by Autism Speaks, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UgLnWJFGHQ&t=10s.
Grandin, Temple. “Biography: Temple Grandin Ph.D.” Grandin.com. Accessed July 3, 2016. http://www.grandin.com/temple.html.
Grandin, Temple. “Thinking Like Animals.” In Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals, edited by Linda Hogan, Brenda Peterson, and Deena Metzger, 1 edition., 176–79. New York: Ballantine Books, 1999. http://amzn.to/2nbJZdA.
Grandin, Temple. “Thinking the Way Animals Do: Unique Insights from a Person with a Singular Understanding.” Western Horseman, November 1997. http://grandin.com/references/thinking.animals.html.
Grandin, Temple, and Catherine Johnson. Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior. 1 edition. New York: Scribner, 2004. http://amzn.to/2iXVdfU.
———. Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals. 1 edition. Boston: Mariner Books, 2010. http://amzn.to/2nTwWux.
Grandin, Temple, and Oliver Sacks. Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism. Reissue edition. New York: Vintage, 2006. http://amzn.to/2mGfHM7.
Hannaford, Alex. “Andrew Wakefield: Autism Inc.” The Guardian, April 6, 2013, sec. Society. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/apr/06/what-happened-man-mmr-panic.
Kim, Cynthia. “Autistic Regression and Fluid Adaptation.” Musings of an Aspie, December 19, 2013. https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/12/19/autistic-regression-and-fluid-adaptation/.
———. “The Myth of Passing.” Musings of an Aspie, October 24, 2013. https://musingsofanaspie.com/2013/10/24/the-myth-of-passing/.
———. “Working Definitions.” Musings of an Aspie, August 27, 2012. https://musingsofanaspie.com/working-definitions/.
Logsdon-Breakstone, Savannah Nicole. “Autistic, Allistic, Neurodiverse, and Neurotypical: Say What?” Cracked Mirror in Shalott, April 12, 2013. https://crackedmirrorinshalott.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/autistic-allistic-neurodiverse-and-neurotypical-say-what/.
———. “Cracked Mirror in Shalott.” Cracked Mirror in Shalott. Accessed March 20, 2017. https://crackedmirrorinshalott.wordpress.com/.
Mead, Kit, and self-advocates. “The Pitfalls of Passing and Not Passing.” Think Inclusive, February 4, 2016. https://www.thinkinclusive.us/the-pitfalls-of-passing-and-not-passing/.
MilestoneVideoNY. Autism Every Day, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0vCz2KWMM0.
Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy. “The Autistic Library.” Accessed March 20, 2017. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lBoA2yiUl3qm6XWZPjB4W-G7xxLmWMp7vcJsSwcTv6g/edit?usp=embed_facebook.
“Responding to Christopher McDougle.” Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.autistichoya.com/2014/01/mcdougle.html.
Schaber, Amythest. “Active Acceptance: Why Does It Matter?” Neurowonderful. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/post/66386003279/whydoesitmatter.
———. Ask an Autistic #1 – What Is Stimming?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WexCWZPJE6A&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=1.
———. Ask an Autistic #2 – What Is Passing?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsH1fX4MM60&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=2.
———. Ask an Autistic #3 – What Is Autistic Burnout?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZwfujkNBGk&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=3.
———. Ask an Autistic #4 – What Is Vocal/Verbal Stimming?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEB7nGvJt7I&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=4.
———. Ask an Autistic #5 – What Is ABA?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEhlSPB9w7Y&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=5.
———. Ask an Autistic #6 – What’s Wrong With Autism Speaks?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez936r2F35U&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=6.
———. Ask an Autistic #7 – What Is Scripting?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtbbmeyh5rk&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=7.
———. Ask an Autistic #8 – What About Functioning Labels?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLJXqlOPZ5U&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=8.
———. Ask an Autistic #9 – What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upU-dc19Taw&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=9.
———. Ask an Autistic #10 – How To Be An Ally, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsllOQeWqNg&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=10.
———. Ask an Autistic #11 – What Is AAC?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mcr56leaVWA&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=11.
———. Ask an Autistic #12 – What Shouldn’t I Say to Autistic People?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alFO0HwC3gQ&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=12.
———. Ask an Autistic #13 – What Are Special Interests?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytWwFr5_pbY&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=13.
———. Ask an Autistic #14 – What Are Some Good Therapies for Autistic Children?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkd0I3lTvO8&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=14.
———. Ask an Autistic #15 – What Are Autistic Meltdowns?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhUDyarzqXE&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=15.
———. Ask an Autistic #16 – Is Autism a Disability?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKE3PT2_ynU&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=16.
———. Ask an Autistic #17 – Biomedical Interventions for Autism, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPk6sNLfqrU&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=17.
———. Ask an Autistic #18 – What Is Echolalia?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ome-95iHtB0&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=18.
———. Ask an Autistic #19 – What Is Neurodiversity?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6xl_yJKWVU&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=19.
———. Ask an Autistic #20 – What Are Autistic Shutdowns?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WIiL8vBjq0&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=20.
———. Ask an Autistic #21 – What About Eye Contact?, 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXM9Mj5Zd7I&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=21.
———. Ask an Autistic #22 – Why Acceptance? Autism Acceptance Month, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XhbHIgm438&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=22.
———. Ask an Autistic #23 – What Is Autism?, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vju1EbVVgP8&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=23.
———. Ask an Autistic #24 – What Is Prosopagnosia?, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qREQlELyH40&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=24.
———. Ask an Autistic #25 – What Is Executive Functioning?, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=229Xb50_o8M&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=25.
———. Ask an Autistic #26 – What Is Central Auditory Processing Disorder?, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nW2KsdjYt0k&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=26.
———. Ask an Autistic #27 – What Is Alexithymia?, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl-aKRdzLyQ&list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs&index=27.
———. Ask An Autistic Series Playlist. Accessed March 20, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs.
———. “Autism Resources/Information Masterpost.” Neurowonderful. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/autismmasterpost.
———. “Neurowonderful.” Neurowonderful. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://neurowonderful.tumblr.com/.
Sequenzia, Amy. “Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group?” Autism Women’s Network, August 19, 2014. https://autismwomensnetwork.org/is-autism-speaks-a-hate-group/.
Sinclair, Jim. “Why I Dislike ‘person First’ language.” Autism Network International, 1999. https://docs.google.com/document/d/12V4kRbz882q6UUeNbPB4ZxG8w8vfsxmSp2bMD2HpDQc/edit?usp=embed_facebook.
“The Woman Who Thinks like a Cow.” Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/broadband/tx/temple/.
thecaffeinatedautistic. “New Autism Speaks Masterpost (Updated 6/20/14).” The Caffeinated Autistic, June 20, 2014. https://thecaffeinatedautistic.wordpress.com/new-autism-speaks-masterpost-updated-62014/.
Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. “Resources.” Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/p/resources.html.
“THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO AUTISM.” Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/.
“Transcript of Selected Scenes or the Infamous Autism Speaks Video ‘Autism Every Day.’” Accessed March 20, 2017. https://www.facebook.com/notes/amy-sequenzia/transcript-of-selected-scenes-or-the-infamous-autism-speaks-video-autism-every-d/10152666260923701.
Turner, Jenny. “The Man Who Wants Us to Embrace Autism.” The Guardian, August 29, 2015, sec. Life and style. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/aug/29/autism-spectrum-steve-silberman-neurotribes-legacy-autism-people-think-differently.


5 thoughts on “Who I REALLY Am & What Happens Now

    Sharron says:

    I respect and admire your braveness to open up and share the challenges you face and to possess the wisdom in knowing what life changes are necessary. You are an incredible young woman and I feel privileged to have found you site and benefited from you dedication and hard work. Now, go get some much deserved sleep. :))

    robert macdonald says:

    There’s no shame in being autistic – I know a few and it explains your 1000% dedication. Your next task is finding out about Emily – she’s a good person so I’m sure you’ll like her!
    “Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
    drive you crazy” Being vegan is n’t just YouTube videos – they’re cool but there were vegans before YouTube! Being brave/smart to be a vegan is the best you can be – everything else is icing on the non-dairy cake.

    Kudos for all you hard work. Emily, you rock just as you are. Don’t let anybody change you. But try to get some rest or you won’t be able to help anybody anymore soon.

    Hey Emily, how did you receive your diagnosis? Someone I know told me that after seeing your video they thought they might also be on the spectrum. I would like to support this person as they go forward and investigate the possibility of receiving an evaluation but not sure where to turn. Did you see someone specializing with adults or did you see a developmental pediatrician?

    Hi CH. Thank you so much for reaching out! I am happy to help as best I can. It’s very common for autism to go undiagnosed, especially in women. I ended up finding a center near me that specializing in autism and learning disabilities, with a core element of that being extensive psychiatric evaluations to assess diagnosis. I’d never had a formal evaluation before and fortunately the insurance I had in Massachusetts at the time actually covered it.

    There are many people who self-diagnose with guided tests as well, however. I’d recommend checking out the resources I have linked on this post is a professional evaluation is not feasible. There are SO many helpful sites and advocates out there.

    If you want to have official testing, I’d say go for it, if you have coverage or can afford it. Ideally finding a center or professional who has ample experience with autism and can conduct a full evaluation.

    For me, it’s not about “needing a label” or “defining myself” by some word. It’s about finally validating myself as I am. And finally allowing myself to learn how to be who I am and how to support myself rather than drive myself into the ground time and again trying to fulfill expectations detrimental to my well being.

    I hope this was helpful in some sense. I’m only just started to really let it soak in. And I am hopeful that I will start shifting my thinking about myself and eventually find a more sustainable way of living. Much love

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