Autism isn’t tragic. Many of us actually prefer to be as we are. We are not unfathomable puzzles, we are right here.
I am a speech language pathologist currently working in Early Intervention (birth-3), who has worked in schools (elementary, middle, high, and specialized) and in home health (swallowing, strokes, TBI, dementia, and cognition). I am especially talented at finding neurodiverse children where they are and showing them their powerful ability to communicate, and to help those surrounding them understand their “voice” in whatever way that it presents itself.
I am also on the autistic spectrum being diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). That is a fact that until recently I chose not to disclose because of the stigma attached to it in certain circles. Having been told “You will never be able to find a job and support yourself if people think you have ‘a problem’”, or “You might want to reconsider being an SLP with your issues.” So if you have known me for a very long time and think “You never said you were autistic before now!”, you are quite right I didn’t then, but I am now. I made it through and who better to help others through the process than someone who has successfully navigated the path already?
I am also the mother of beautiful neurodiverse children. That was a beautiful, rewarding, life changing experience. I have been shown the most remarkable things through the lens of diverse thinking. I have truly grown personally because I was willing to trust the visions of those who saw the world differently, and all of my children are adulting quite well now thank you.
As all of these things I have been around both professionals in the field working with autism, I have spent countless hours looking through resources about autism, and spent countless hours learning about how to help myself, my children, my students, and all of the people surrounding these people. It has become clear to me, and to many other now adult individuals with autism, that there have been some assumptions about autism made by people without autism that are at best slightly inaccurate, and at worst sometimes actively harmful.
This blog is the result of me trying to connect the people trying to help the autistic community with the autistic self-advocates, to clear up the many misunderstandings about what it means to be on the spectrum, to discuss effective therapies and share research that honors and includes the voices of actually autistic peoples. I present this information in the spirit of changing the perspective and opening dialog, I do not pretend to know everything or be an expert. I only try to consider multiple sides.
For the professionals here: Shouldn’t the people we help, feel like we are helping? Shouldn’t we expect some progress and success?
For the Allies here: Autism isn’t tragic. Many of us actually prefer to be as we are. We are not unfathomable puzzles, we are right here.
For my Neurotribe: If I get anything wrong do chime in. Your voice counts here.