I am on the Autism spectrum, I was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 42.
Two of my five wonderful children are also on the Autism spectrum.
I campaign against bogus Autism ‘treatments’ and try to educate society about Autism and the misinformation that is being spread by quacks and the anti vaccine movement.
I rarely talk about what Autism means to me and how my diagnosis has impacted my life.
I wrote an article in 2014 which you can read here.
Autism is classed as a disability but many Autistic people seem to be uncomfortable with the word disabled.
I would like to speak about this.
Autistic people are just like other people in society, they have strengths and weaknesses.
However Autistic people have many difficulties with social interaction, communication and relating to others.
Autistic people can also have challenges with processing sensory information and can experience sensory overload.
My friend Emma Dalmayne wrote about Sensory Overload here.
This is what separates Autistic people from Neurotypical people.
Autism is not about being eccentric or quirky, it is a real condition that can bring many challenges to ones life.
There are no two Autistic people the same, we are all individuals with our own story to tell.
I have been engaging with the Autistic community for many years now, speaking to parents of Autistic children and Autistic people themselves.
There is huge inequality in the Autism community, lack of supports and services and governments not addressing the marketing of dangerous unproven and unregulated Autism ‘treatments’
Disabled means impaired or limited by a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition.
I do not have a problem with this word and think that it is important not to shun this word because many Autistic people can be disabled in many ways and there is nothing wrong with saying that.
My own Son is disabled due to his diagnosis, I accept that and support him with his disability.
I too have impairments that impact my life in a negative way, they disable me, it is okay to say this.
What I am seeing is a lot of Autistic people separating themselves from the ‘disabled’ label and not wanting to associate themselves with this word.
There are many groups of Autistic people diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome presenting themselves as superior, better than ‘low functioning’ Autistic people.
They talk about being a race, a subculture.
There is an arrogance and elitist behaviour presenting in these groups which I do not like.
I have seen comments where some people with Aspergers do not want to affiliate themselves with Autistic people who present with greater challenges then they have in their lives.
It is like they are separating themselves from the ‘low functioning’ Autistic community.
How does this help the Autistic community?
I also do not see the need for Autistic people to change their surnames and add tags to their names as seen with the Au movement.
Why do we need to divide the community and create subgroups.
This is how discrimination starts, people are put in boxes, I am better than you etc…
My Son does not fit the image being presented by these groups, he has many challenges that disable his life.
However he is just as smart and wonderful as ‘high functioning’ Autistic people.
I do not like supremacy of any sort and there is no reason why Autistic people can’t say ‘I have a disability or Autism disables my life’
I feel that many Autistic people are trying to censor and criticise those of us that speak about the negatives of an Autism diagnosis.
Believe me there are negatives, I know I live with them and so do my Sons.
I want to be comfortable talking about those negatives and not have Aspies attacking me for not being positive.
Yes there are positives to an Autism diagnosis but we need to be honest and feel supported by Autistic people with all aspects of a diagnosis.
By not talking about the negatives, we suppress and internalise which can lead to further problems.
I do not need a tag to my name to identify who I am, I am Fiona and I am not special.
I am the same as everyone else in this world, I do not identify with any group, clan or system.
I am free, an individual who accepts all people in society.
No boxes, no race, no subculture.
Autistic community please do not divide, segregate and put certain people on pedestals in the community.
Do not brag or gloat.
It is not impressive and only leads to further divide.
We are not super heroes, do not have magic powers nor are we all computer wizards.
Do not use your diagnosis to claim you are superior to others.
Equality not supremacy.
Dedicated to my Sons Dillon and Vito.