Updated: Oct 30, 2021
CW: sharing past negative view of Autism
Only three years ago I didn’t know much about Autism outside of the mainstream narrative. I knew some Autistic people, who were all ace, so I wasn’t actively prejudice but I was definitely ignorant.
When I first started suspecting that my daughter was Autistic I pushed back against it, I hoped she wasn’t. I saw her Autism as her violence, her refusal to comply with even basic requests, her struggles with social events
I will be eternally grateful to the person who led me down the path of realising what I saw as her ‘Autistic traits’ were actually her trauma response. When I wished she wasn’t Autistic I was actually wishing she wasn’t traumatised and I had the power to achieve that.
The more I learned about Autism the more that I saw all the wonderful stuff and understood the challenges. I was able to create an environment my daughter could thrive in, where she could be her glorious Autistic self. Along that journey of learning, discovering, understanding and acceptance I also saw myself.
I realised that I had only recognised Autism in my child when she was burnt out. Her burn out looked different to mine but her so much of her Autistic self looked the same as myself.
Of course she rehearsed conversations beforehand. So do I. Doesn’t everyone?
Of course she flapped and squeaked when she was excited. So do I. Doesn’t everyone?
We all fell asleep after social events. Doesn’t everyone?
Discovering that the answer to these and more was “all (or rather many) Autistic people do” felt like coming home.
My previous understanding of Autism as informed by the mainstream narrative let me to believe that it was obvious that Autistic people wanted a cure, needed a cure. If we could just learn what caused it we could prevent it.
What I have learned with the support and insight shared by the Autistic community was that Autistic people need good support. We need understanding and acceptance. We need adjustments and consideration. We need our strengths recognising but not being taken out of context. We need less stereotypes and more reality. We deserve to be embraced by society, not marginalised and othered.
Autism is not a flaw. We are not broken neurotypical people. We are whole, complete and fabulous Autistic people. We exist and we’re darn pleased about it!