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AUTISTIC LINCS: Feedback and foodchains

By Spalding Today Columnist

Welcome back to Autistic Lincs!

As it always is, this following week was one of stark contrast. In Scotland, we had this news:

'The Autistic Mutual Aid Society Edinburgh (AMASE), an Autistic People's Organisation, published a report on November 7, highlighting major issues with mental health provision in Scotland, with over a quarter of survey respondents saying they were directly denied services because of their autism diagnosis, and many more saying practitioners failed to recognise serious distress.'

It's positive that such a report was conducted, therefore making information public and setting us on a path to potential recovery but it also reveals the deep wounds of our mental health system on autistic people.

Callum Brazzo (5339160)
Callum Brazzo (5339160)

Practitioners failing to recognise serious distress could tell us what many autistic people know; mental health issues such as depression and anxieties may present differently.

It is never okay to 'normalise' the suffering of ill mental health in autistic people or anyone else.

Unfortunately, this feeds into two more stories from last week about an event claiming autism is a 'man-made epidemic' and 'curable' and a wide-reaching online conflict on Twitter regarding ABA.

In Leeds and Manchester, there were events taking place that seemed to lump together autism and cancer (one topic was modern society's technological habits and somehow linking Wi-Fi to childhood leukemia and brain tumours).

Long story short, the original venue hosting the Leeds event cancelled it but it is my understanding that the event merely moved to another local venue.

With parts of the world spreading this hateful, poisonous rhetoric with actions to match, is it any wonder autistic people have mental health issues?

A final blow to the autistic community comes in the form of ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis). Now, I have chatted a little about ABA before and will be protesting against what I see as 'tunnel-visioned endorsement,' meaning that any different views (primarily autistic) are excluded but it is obviously very popular.

There is an almost overwhelming load of info to cover this in full but a prominent autistic perspective on this therapy for autistic people is that it aims to make us 'less autistic' in favour of the world around us. Blend in. Act 'normal.'

(See more of my thoughts in Do Your Dance, Chloe, Lincs Free Press, September 2)

Again, factoring in this sometimes subtle training to 'fit in' to norms that are so often unnecessary and often viewed with that same tunnel-visioned endorsement, it is no wonder why autistic people get put into our fractured mental health system.

The Great War is over but there are still conflicts that exist that we must work to overcome. The ignorance and vulnerability that often fuels poisonous rhetoric and actions have to continue to be addressed.

In light of this dark subject matter, there is a new drop in centre every Wednesday from 9.30am11am at Tonic Health provided by Little Miracles.

Tonic Health, on Westlode Street near to Alley Catz, is also where Going Forward Social Group takes place and where Autistic Led is based. So Spalding is really filling me with positives right now. In a world where we are fed so much information, through apps, churches, schools, newspapers and myriad other sources, we the people get to choose the foodchain we buy into and the feedback we give and take.

Now whilst you readers digest (get the joke?), I am off to make big plans for April and continue with Autistic Led, the new 18+ autistic adult support and action group!

Support Going Forward in making Going Forward Music Festival 2019 here:

Autistic Led is every Thursday at Tonic Health from 4.30pm – 6.30pm.

Questions on Autistic Led, the new 18+ autistic adult support and action group? Email autisticled@tonic-health.co.uk or contact me on Facebook or through the Free Press, call or text me on 07904 677 813 or go to callumbrazzo.com for more from me!


Filling gaps of knowledge


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