Meet Saida M, an advocate helping the next generation of girls growing up on the autism spectrumMarch 31, 2023
Women’s History Month is an opportunity to recognize women’s contributions to history, society and culture. At Autism Speaks, we celebrate the women and girls along the vast and diverse autism spectrum, as well as those who support them.
Meet Saida M. from California, a young woman with autism who shares what Women’s History Month means to her, the women she is most inspired by and the legacy she hopes to leave for future generations through her advocacy work.
Why is being an autistic, female advocate and sharing your story so important to you?
Being an autistic woman advocate is important to me because I can give a voice to those who are voiceless in their journey. I also feel that it is important to shine a light on those who are underrepresented within the ASD community, as a female. As a woman who has autism, I have faced lots of challenges due to me being a female in the community. I use my voice to help bring change to action. I also use my advocacy and activism work to help the new generation of girls growing up on the autism spectrum, and I also love helping the women on the spectrum as well.
Women’s history month is about commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. Why is this month important to you?
Women history month is extremely important to me, because as a woman, it is inspiring to see a huge representation of strong, brave and resilient women who have came before me. I am inspired by so many women to do my work, to help bring change and do everything in a positive way. It feel good getting this month observed, because it proves that us women can do anything and everything that men and boys can do. I also feel this month is important for the new generation of females growing up.
It is so important that us women get support so we can have equal access to everything just like males do especially in the ASD and disabled communities.
Who would you like to recognize during women’s history month? How have these women touched your life?
For women's history month, I would love to honor my mother, because my mother is a strong woman. She has done such a wonderful job raising me as a single parent. She never gave up on anything; she just kept going and going like the brave, resilient woman she is.
All of my wonderful sister Queens from my pageant have inspired me so much. They are strong, amazing women who are doing everything that they can to help make this world a better place for all. They are also using there platform to help bring inclusion and so much more.
I am also inspired by all of my wonderful female friends. They always amaze me in so many ways. They are just truly amazing to me and so brave. They have inspired me to become a better woman as I get older and as I continue to do my advocacy work, my activism work, my performing arts work and so much more.
You recently attended the 2023 Autism Speaks Advocacy Forum & Hill Day in Washington, DC. What did it mean to you to advocate in our nation’s capital?
Being able to attend the Advocacy forum was a huge honor. I am forever thankful and grateful to have been able to attend. I learned so much from the event. I was also able to help others who have autism. Talking with all of our elected leaders about bringing changes and help to the autism community was the most rewarding feeling and knowing they support the movement is wonderful.
The experience was so eye opening for me. I feel like a stronger advocate and activist. I feel like I made a huge difference within the community and a difference in the lives of the young generation growing up who is on the spectrum.
I am using everything I learned to help make a difference for everyone, everywhere - all the way from my great, golden state California to everywhere else. My state of California has inspired and helped me become a leader. I am also going to use the tools I learned at my colleges.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for doing everything that I could to help this world be a better place for all who have autism spectrum disorder, disabilities and rare diseases.
I want to be remembered for my performing arts work and how I use my podcast channel and my books and my WordPress channel to help everyone worldwide.
I want to also be remembered for being the voice for those who are voiceless and so much more.
What advice do you have for other autism advocates who might be looking for some words of encouragement or advice?
I would tell them to own their condition - do not ever feel ashamed for having autism. Having ASD is your superpower. You are so strong, brave and courageous for having it.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone if you ever find yourself stuck in a situation that you might not know how to move yourself forward from whatever it is that is going on.
It’s ok to not know how to start your advocacy journey. It took 6 months for me to find out what exactly I wanted to do with my work and my platform It took a while, but when you are patient and determined, anything and everything is 100% possible. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
I am proud of each and every single one of you all. You have all of my love and support.
I am here for you all!!!