From The Inside Out
Welcome to another edition of Autistic Lincs!
Every week, I present an autistic view from within the autistic community. As with so many other communities, we are a perpetually shapeshifting form so it is very difficult to pinpoint a moment in time, however I want to write about recent research opportunities that have arisen and how utilising these opportunities will make a tangible difference to all of us.
The research opportunities come from Autistica, a charity that seems like it's turning itself inside out now, but there has been friction with the autistic community due to its links to a charity called Autism Speaks.
Autistica is a charity that is still seen by various people as the UK branch of Autism Speaks and if you don't know Autism Speaks...good.
Autism Speaks bases its foundation of work on the idea that autism can be 'cured,' work to actively eradicate us and do so much harm through insulting narratives and abusive practices.Therefore, naturally any association with this dangerous charity is mostly thought of as counter-productive to autistic people.
And then Autistica told the world it had merged with the likes of Autism Speaks.
In a five-year plan of theirs called AIMS-2-Trials which will 'bring together researchers, charities and companies across Europe to improve our understanding of autism and develop new therapies,' Autistica say'...different partners have different focuses but they all commit to meaningfully improving autistic people’s lives. We cannot deliver certain new therapies for autistic people unless we work in partnership with researchers, major organisations and pharmaceutical companies.' Do you treat that with cynicism or hope? What are the pros and cons?
How is an autistic person meant to feel?
There was and remains an uproar of discontent, distrust, confusion and generally bad feelings because it seemed like Autistica had finally acknowledged, perhaps even deepened, its connection.
But these recent research opportunities came about which pair an autistic person with a research idea with a qualified researcher, all of whom must meet certain criteria to be selected for potential pairings, and are potentially given the financial backing and collective expertise of all involved to execute the research.
Is the autistic person being abused with Autistica taking the credit for any of their contributions for their own gain?
Is establishing yourself as an autistic researcher a positive in itself, irrespective of anything else?
No one is sure and there are numerous other questions to be asked but I will certainly be applying for one of the four grants that will awarded in the Autumn.
Finally, I urge any autistic people in South Holland or elsewhere to apply because I do passionately believe that you do not need to cut us open for a 'cause' to know that authentically driven, collaborative change can occur from the inside out.
Online link to opportunity found here.
Contact me on Facebook and Twitter @Callum Brazzo, call or text me on 07528 810 172 or go to callumbrazzo.com to connect with me.
Until next Tuesday!