The curious case of the National Autistic Society and 'cures' Part One

I have a quandary of immense proportions. Over the last few weeks, a battle has been ensuing on Twitter.  Not so uncommon you might think, but this battle is the peak of a war that has been waging for nearly four years.  A war with child abusers on one side, one woman on the other side and the National Autistic Society wandering around aimlessly in No-Man's Land.

An Autistic diagnosis

"To be blunt, ultimately, most people don't give a shit about whether or not you are Autistic.  Like with any invisible disability, if it's not singing and dancing and parading around the room, they aren't interested"

As an adult, awakening to the potential that you might be Autistic can feel like the dawning of a new part of your life.  You can almost feel everything slotting into place. But the realisation and expectation does not always match the outcome.

An Autistic Education

"School is like a universe of sensory and overwhelm shoved in a bottle, cork applied and shaken up.  Remove the cork and it explodes in your face."

I've never written much about my children, because I firmly believe that their story is theirs to tell, not mine.  But what's been happening in the last few weeks directly relates to me and my story, it's especially relevant.

The mess of Autism

There is a big pile confusion over Asperger’s, Autism and functioning labels (High and Low) that cause many difficulties for Parents.  This is just a short and sweet one, but I hope it will clear up the confusion around Autism, Asperger's and Functioning labels.

I look back at my Parents and wonder: how did they miss me?

I look around at my life now and I see a wife and children, who I love beyond imagining and I think to myself "If there was something wrong, something out of the ordinary, would I see it, would I miss it?"

Then I look back at my parents and wonder: how did they miss me?

Parents, try #AskingAutistics

I spend a lot of time on this Blog urging Parents of Autistic people to seek us out to get the answers to questions that other parents and certainly 'Professionals' just can't answer. 99/100 times if you have a question about Autism, the best person to ask is an Autistic one.

In my Blog called 'Safe places online for Parents of Autistic children to learn about Autism' I recommend the best places to go on Facebook to find both Autistic people and to find support. But apart from trawling the streets yelling for Autistic people, where else can you go?

The inside of Autism: You should see the world inside my head

"When I show people the things i create...they call me an 'artist'...when i show them the inside of the head they were created in.....they call me 'mad'"
-Kit Mason Oxborough-Giles, Autistic and Artistic

A common description of Autistic children, especially those deemed 'Low Functioning' is that they are in a world of their own, lost inside their heads and to be honest, if they have a head anything like mine, I can't blame them.

The inside of my mind can only be described as Tardis-like in that, like the Time Machine piloted by Television Time Lord, The Doctor, it's definitely bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

My inner world is vast, perfectly interactive and pretty damn cool.

How to hide your Autism

If you are the parent of an Autistic child, I'm going to introduce you to a concept that's going to scare the pants off of you:  Your child is going to grow up to be me:

I am an Autistic adult.

Some people are of the belief that Autism can be grown out, or that with the right support and interventions, Autism can be cured or lessened.

If you're one of those people, then I'm about to blow your minds with a second concept: Nobody grows out of Autism and a child cannot be trained out of it.  We just get better at hiding it.

Safe places online for Parents of Autistic children to learn about Autism

If you're of a certain age or younger, I'm betting that a significant portion of your time is spent on Facebook.

I'm also betting that either the moment you had an inkling there was something different about your child, your first stop was the Internet. Then, once you figured it might be Autism, you started searching Facebook for Autism and Asperger's groups.

There's no harm in admitting this, but there might be harm in some of the groups you are in.  There are many, many groups about Autism on Facebook and a lot of them a BAD. Avoid like the plague bad.  They are full of Cureists, Autism Speaks lovers, 'Autism Moms' and so, so many myths about Autism that you could start a Religion.

In light of the Internet awfulness, I thought I'd cobble together a list of safe spaces.  Groups where you can find experienced parents of Autistic children, groups where you can find Autistics ready and willing to offer advice; and groups where you can learn how to Advocate alongside Autistic people.

The great Autism diagnosis cover up: How Health and Education are conspiring to fail Autistic children and their families

"Health and Education Professionals in the UK are, on the whole, dangerously illiterate about Autism"
If you live in the UK and you believe your child is Autistic or displays behaviours you cannot understand, who do you turn to?

Their Health visitor?  The school or Nursery? The GP? The Internet?

In a way, it doesn't really matter, because no matter which direction you turn to, you're going to be met with a mine full of misinformation, Autistic illiteracy and frankly, dangerous neglect.

Talking without words: Communication, Autism and how I needed someone to tell me, that It's OK to be me

When Jodie Eaton from the wonderful site 'Autism, with love and affection' asked me to write an article on Communication and what, growing up, would have helped me, I kind of gulped.  

If you’ve read my Blog before, you’ll notice I talk in the abstract often and include very little detail about myself.  That, I think is related to the trauma and abuse I received as a child.  Most of it was unintentional, some of it was done with love, but all of it is relateable to the experiences of Autistic kids all over the world and throughout history.  We are not understood, so therefore Allistics (Non-Autistics), think it’s acceptable to try to mould us into what they would deem as ‘normal’ children and don’t realise that it’s unacceptable to do this and even harmful.

Writing about this stuff is an extremely difficult thing to do, which is why I’ve avoided it.
So, thanks a bunch Jodie!

Seriously, thank you though, you’ve kind of unwittingly pushed me into writing stuff I need to write about and I think others need to read:

From the age of around 4 or 5, I remember dragging a chair from my bedroom, across the landing and standing on it, looking out the window onto the street below.

Autism Speaks and it's influence on the UK (and the world)

UK readers, or indeed anyone outside of the US might be wondering about the relevance of Autism Speaks, an American Charity, to them?

If you've read my article on the Autism Speaks 'Light it up blue' Facebook frame called 'If you Light it up Blue for Autism, you're supporting Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks doesn't support Autism...' you'll have a potted history of who they are and what they do, or more importantly, don't do, for Autistic people. If you haven't read it and wish to know exactly how Autism Speaks is harming Autistic adults, children and their families, please go check it out.

You might be surprised to know exactly what influence, both direct and indirectly, Autism Speaks has had on UK Governmental policy on Health and specifically Autism. It's really quite scary. And if they can do this in one country, how do you know they haven't done this in yours...

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