The new book I Will Die On This Hill: Autistic Adults, Autism Parents, and the Children Who Deserve a Better World invites autistic adults, parents, care providers, and community members to work toward building a more accepting and inclusive community for disabled children now and throughout life. The book’s release was celebrated in January at an event at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
Minnesotan Jules Edwards and Meghan Ashburn, a resident of Virginia, coauthored the book. It was released by Jessica Kingsley Publishing.
Ashburn is a former teacher and works as an educational consultant. Edwards is an Indigenous disability justice advocate and consultant, and was recently appointed to serve on the National Institutes of Health Autism Centers of Excellence advisory board.
Ashburn and Edwards’ new release shares the authors’ collective wisdom gained through years of parenting and advocating for disability justice. The authors were inspired to write the book they wish had been given when their children were first diagnosed. I Will Die On This Hill challenges the dominant narratives surrounding autism and invites readers to take action.
Their book promises a refreshing look at caring for autistic children, and provides dynamic insights into creating a better world for the estimated 1 in 44 children diagnosed with autism. With a focus on intersectionality, the book features eleven additional autistic contributors throughout, including nonspeaking/AAC users and BIPOC autistic advocates from around the world.
The book has garnered positive reviews. “I Will Die On This Hill is such a gift for all of us who have been clueless and way too speculative and assuming about autism,” said Marcie Alvis Walker, creator of the website Black Coffee with White Friends. “Ashburn and Edwards’ honest and unsentimental book will make you a better human being and, therefore, a better neighbor, better educator, better family member to autistic adults, autism parents, and the children who need us all to do better.”
Dr. Mona Delahooke, author of Beyond Behaviors, said, “This is the book I’ve been waiting for to recommend to parents and all childhood providers.” Educators, professionals, physicians, and care workers will all gain new insights into supporting autistic children.
Edwards is an Anishinaabe woman from Onigamiinsing (Little Portage). Jules is a writer, gardener, accountant and disability justice advocate. She’s passionate about improving child safety and disability policy.
Her background includes a 2020-21 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities fellowship, 2021-22 Association of University Centers on Disabilities National Training Director Council fellowship, and being a 2022-23 Wilder Foundation Community Equity Program cohort member.
Some of her roles include co-founding Minnesota Autistic Alliance, working board member for the Minnesota Ombudsman for American Indian Families, and Chairperson of the Minnesota Autism Council.
Learn more about Edwards at https://autistictyping.com/i-will-die-on-this-hill
Ashburn is the mother of twins with autism. She is a graduate of the partners in policymaking course and is an activist in her home state of Virginia. Read more about her and her work at https://notanautismmom.com/about/