Infinite Autism

After seven years of supporting parents and Autistic people as a full time job for free, something had to give.

So Kieran decided to set up Infinite Autism.  A Social Enterprise.

Kieran decided to team up with people with a vested interest in Autism and Neurodiversity and who could bring a unique skillset and perspective.
So who are Infinite Autism?

An Autistic Identity

Image description: A flock of sheep to the left, all facing forward apart from one at the back facing back to camera.  The word 'Autistic' is stencilled onit's side.  To the right is text: An Autistic Identity. Sometimes the most dangerous thing we can do is separate ourselves from the herd."

"Some people have an identity. I have an alibi. I have a shadow self."
- Andre Aciman

I've been writing a fair amount of training material recently, for myself and for several other organisations and it's had me questioning what I want people to take away from them.  Knowledge about Autism obviously, but also the need for people to have that light-bulb moment, when I frame things in a way that tips them into a paradigm shift; so that metaphorically, as you slide the Neurodiversity paradigm in one ear, you see the pathology paradigm drop out the other side.

So much of what I and so many other Advocates talk about: Language, Masking and Burnout, the history of Autism, the diagnosis, the near constant invalidation, this need for people to have a paradigm shift at all about Autism; all leads, via a twisty, winding path through the undergrowth to one thing:


An Autistic Invalidation

The quote on the attached image is a real one.  Words spoken by a young Autistic to their Mother.

This person had been crippled by spending years Masking, fighting to fit in and trying to be 'normal' and tipping themselves over into Burnout so extreme, that at the age of 19 the only way they could see out, was out...

This young person was not 'suffering from Autism' as the mainstream narrative would have you think.

They were suffering from invalidation.

An Autistic invalidation.

#TakeTheMaskOff: Autism at work

Masking impacts all autistic people to some degree, but those who tend to be able to Mask better, appear to be those who can hold down employment, at least for a period of time anyway.

Throughout #TakeTheMaskOff I've become intrigued with certain aspects of Masking, but one issue is something that cuts me directly to my core:

Disclosing at work.

We are not OK

 "Society beats into me how I should be raising my son, but I don’t think my way is wrong just because it’s different. Still that pressure to seem normal is overwhelming. I’m constantly fighting the urge to Stim or rock or shutdown in public."
- Jessica

An Autistic Frequency

I've put off writing about this for a long time.

To be honest I've dreaded it.


Everyone else's Stims seem so exotic and exciting.

And mine?

Mine are just dull...

An open letter to employers of Autistic people

To the Employers of Autistic people,

You control our work environment, you are who has expectations that we cannot always meet, you are who make judgements on us without a full understanding of who we are or what makes us tick.

Take a moment from staring into the abyss of your assumptions of how the world turns and consider for a moment that there is another way, a way that may suit one or more of your employees and make them not only more productive, but also make them healthier people mentally and physically.

After all, that philosophy of 'work harder', it applies to us.  We are working harder.  We are working so damned hard it is breaking us over and over again. You just don't see it.

If you know, or you suspect, you have an Autistic employee, talk to them.

Reassure them that there is nothing to fear from asking for help, assure them that you want them to be as happy at work as they can be.

Assure them they are safe, that they are valued not because they are proving their worth, but because of who they are, not who they think that you want them to be.

And know that we don't always know how to express our needs well.  That trust and respect is something for YOU to earn from us, as well as us from you.  If you have over 30 people working in your business, the chances are at least one of them is Autistic, the greater chance is that they don't know it.  The chances are doubled that you have Neurodiverse employees, for whom the world doesn't work as 'normal'.

Take this as an opportunity to empower your workforce, ask them honestly what could help them.  Ask them if the lights are hurting them, ask them if they need somewhere to go Spin, ask them to explore themselves and find what they need.  Be that person who genuinely gives a shit about the people working them, not just because a happy employee is a productive, but because you're Human too; and the bottom line is not your bottom line.

Help them unMask.

Masking: An Act of Resistance

Not everyone has the ability to be able to write with any kind of regularity and one of my biggest aims with #TakeTheMaskOff was to be able to help generate conversation around Masking and give a platform to other people.

Carl Cameron is a Mentor, who has a career behind him delivering courses on Autism, he's also very late diagnosed and will be the first to tell you the irony in being the last to recognise Autism in himself. 

I have the privilege of a platform and Carl wants to talk about taking off the Mask and how it is An Act of Resistance.

Masking: I am not OK

If you lined up a thousand Autistic people and asked them to define Masking, I doubt that any one of them would say exactly the same thing.  The input, the reasons for doing so, might be similar or identical. The same might be said of the output, or the actual results of the Masking. They might be the same, but the actual act itself, the process and things done to keep the Mask in place, would likely be wildly different.

Responsibility, Autism and a legacy of failure

When it comes to Autism, how does responsibility fit in?  Who is responsible, who holds the power and what do they do with it?

Those responsible for the narrative of Autism literally hold the lives of Autistic people in the palms of their hands, yet that responsibility is being abused.

And at what cost?


Image description of the words #TakeTheMaskOff in white on a black background

On the 23rd July 2018, an international campaign will be launched. A whole summer dedicated to Masking... but not as we know it.

An Autistic Burnout

I've struggled massively with writing this.

It's ironic really.

It's taken me six weeks to start writing an article about Autistic Burnout, because I'm going through Autistic Burnout...

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