Amy Sequenzia

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Amy Sequenzia is an American, non-speaking autistic, multiply-disabled activist and writer about disability rights, civil rights and human rights. She also has epilepsy, cerebral palsy, dyspraxia,[1] and insomnia.[2]

Sequenzia is a co-editor of Typed Words, Loud Voices, a book about typed communication.[3] She is a frequent contributor to the Autism Women's Network[4] and[5] She is also a board member of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network[6] and is on the board of directors at Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology.[7] She also writes poetry.[8] She has presented in several conferences in both the United States and other countries, including the conference "Reclaiming our Bodies and Minds" at Ryerson University in Toronto.[4] Her work is featured in books about being Autistic and Disabled.[a]

In her own words: "I type to communicate. I began typing when I was eight years old, but for many years I did not type much because of seizures that made me very tired all the time, and because of lack of support. Today I cannot imagine being silenced again."[4]

Disability rights and autism activism[edit]

Sequenzia is deeply involved with the Neurodiversity movement and has been outspoken about the rights and worth of disabled people. She criticizes the medical model of autism.[1][9] Sequenzia argues against attempts to cure autism, believing autism is an inseparable part of an autistic person's personhood.[10] However, she supports attempts to cure epilepsy.[11][12]

She supports all methods of communication a disabled person chooses to use and is a user of facilitated communication (FC), which she started when she was eight years old.[1][3][13] However, skeptic Steven Novella questions the validity of Sequenzia's writings under FC, claiming that they are unusually eloquent for a nonverbal autistic individual. Novella stated he would have to personally meet her to confirm. He also stated there is no plausible explanation for how she spontaneously learned to read and write at an advanced level when she was eight years old.[14]

Sequenzia uses identity-first language.[a] She has written against the use of functioning labels as a person who is typically labeled "low-functioning".[1] Sequenzia states that labeling individuals by what they "cannot do" causes others to judge autistic people unfairly and with prejudice.[15]

Amy Sequenzia has criticized Temple Grandin for only focusing on and listening to high-functioning autistics, as opposed to low-functioning and non-speaking autistics. She has said that Grandin doesn't view those autistics as worthy of her attention.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b As explained by journalist Sydney Parker: "Sequenzia prefers to be identified as Autistic with a capital 'A' instead of as a person with autism. 'I use identity-first language...'."[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Zurcher, Ariane (November 9, 2012). "An Interview With Amy Sequenzia, a Non-Speaking Autistic Writer and poet". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-08-28.
  2. ^ Sequenzia, Amy (October 28, 2013). "My Uncooperative Body". Autism Women's Network. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  3. ^ a b Sequenzia, Amy; Elizabeth J., Grace; Yergeau, Melanie (2015). Typed Words, Loud Voices. Autonomous Press. ISBN 978-0-9861835-2-2.
  4. ^ a b c "Amy Sequenzia". Autism Women's Network. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  5. ^ "About Amy Sequenzia". Ollibean. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  6. ^ "Leadership". Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Retrieved 2015-12-26.
  7. ^ "BoardMembers". Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  8. ^ Sequenzia, Amy. "My Voice, My Life : A Poem by Amy Sequenzia". Ollibean. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  9. ^ a b Parker, Sydney (March 20, 2015). "Autism: does ABA therapy open society's doors to children, or impose conformity?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
  10. ^ Perry, David M. (October 9, 2015). "Fix the Charity That Wants To 'Fix' Autism". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  11. ^ Sequenzia, Amy (April 17, 2015). "Celebrating My Life". Ollibean. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  12. ^ Sequenzia, Amy (March 28, 2013). "Pain in My Brain". Ollibean. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  13. ^ Des Roches Rosa, Shannon (November 7, 2012). "Interview: Amy Sequenzia on Facilitated Communication". Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. Retrieved 2015-09-20.
  14. ^ Novella, Steven (8 November 2012). "Facilitated Communication Persists Despite Scientific Criticism". NeuroLogica Blog. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  15. ^ Bakan, Michael B. (2016). "Toward an Ethnographic Model of Disability in the Ethnomusicology of Autism". In Howe, Blake; Jensen-Moulton, Stephanie; Lerner, Neil; Straus, Joseph. The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies. Oxford University Press. pp. 29–30. ISBN 9780199331451.
  16. ^ Sequenzia, Amy (19 January 2013). "When Autistics Grade Other Autistics". Ollibean. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  17. ^ Sequenzia, Amy. "Amy Sequenzia". Retrieved 1 July 2017.

External links[edit]