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 are 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 and be a true ally.

So, if you're sitting comfortably, and in no particular order, let's begin...

This group is a mix of Autistic people and parents/carers of Autistic people.  Everyone there sees Autism as a positive thing, not something to be cured or 'treated', as it truly is as Neurodivergence.

This is a small group run by a lovely Autistic lady (who is also Mum to an Autistic boy).  It's intimate, personal and very supportive.  Again it's a mix of Autistics and non-Autistic people.

Does what it says on the tin.  No question is too stupid here.

The focus on this group is late diagnosed adults and parents of people diagnosed around 16 through to adults.  The admins are all Autistic.

An amazing group designed to support parents of Autistic children who have higher support needs, or who have become isolated through a lack of support.  It is run and managed entirely by Autistic people. There is no such thing as a silly question in this group, though it is important you read the pinned post.

Another group with a handsome Administrator ;-) This is a mostly Autistic group, but that makes it an amazing place to get advice from.

This page and group are run by an AMAZING lady and very good friend of mine, Jodie Eaton.  Jodie is a huge Ally Autism Advocate and has three beautiful children, all with very different issues.  The group is not solely Autistic based, but is worth joining because of the fabulous advice and Autism positive message Jodie puts out.

A page picked with tips, information and support and run by a very knowledgeable person who supports parent's of Autistic children in the physical world too.

Another page teeming with supportive information, links, articles and specific advice too. A place to learn from the writing of Autistic adults.  A place where parents can discuss supporting and accommodating Autistic children

A brilliant parent support resource, with shared blogs, advice and guidance, all framed around Neurodiversity.

A brilliant resource offering alternative viewpoints to the rise of Behavioural and normalisation therapies, which are already rife in many countries around the world, predominantly in the US and Canada, but growing in places like the UK, Ireland and Australia.

Please remember when you are in a group with Autistic adults to respect them, their wishes and take their advice with positivity and thanks. Autistic Adults were you children at one point, many of us went through life undiagnosed and unsupported, many of us are now parents ourselves.  There are people who have been severely damaged by society and its never-ending need to change us, the labels that have been put on us and the prejudice we have suffered, so please be respectful.

I tell you this not to scare you off of us, but to scare you from allowing it to happen to your children in the same way.

Have fun and I hope you learn lots.

P.s keep checking back periodically as I'll keep updating the list with more supportive groups :-)

P.p.s If you have any suggestions of groups please post them in the comments below and I'll go check them out.

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...

The Mighty, Why is there a divide in the Autism Community? An example of victim blaming

The Mighty posted this article yesterday, which is interesting as it is one in a line of many negative and damaging blogs that they've put out since teaming up with our old friends, Autism Speaks.

Skimming through their specialist Autism section, there is a lot of Autism Speaks rhetoric so it shouldn't be surprising that an article like this one pops up.  But, this one seemed particularly threatening and a perfect example of a common theme Autistics are running into all over, Stockholm Syndrome.

How to ADHD with Jessica McCabe

There are many co-morbid conditions that go hand in hand with Autism and ADHD is one of them, perhaps one of the most significant ones.

Jessica McCabe's fantastic Tedx Talk video will take you on an emotional and witty journey through her past and how ADHD has affected her life, right up to the point where she finally embraced it.

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