AUTISTIC LINCS: World Autism Awareness Week
Autism Acceptance Month is upcoming but before that, I shift my focus to ‘World Autism Awareness Week.’ It comes on the heels of children going back to school.
I wanted to make an early column on this important, and yet historically dreaded week and month from the autistic perspective, because I wanted to give my readers time to think about something.
Whereas the autistic adult peer support group Autistic Led is deliberately focused on the community, Autistic Lincs is focused more broadly on other voices in the same community – parents, carers, teachers etc.
When people outside of the lived experiences of a community collaborate
authentically with them, they can be seen as ‘allies.’ So let’s share some love for the allies!
Get your comments on those that have helped you to better understand the autistic people close to you. This is open to autistic and neurotypicals alike. There’s enough division between us, let’s choose to unite.
I would personally like to thank my first powerful memory of a teacher in my life; Mrs Sturgeon.
I’ve thanked many people in my life for their influence but it could be said that without this early ‘intervention’ of sorts, I would not have developed in quite the same way.
Mrs Sturgeon is someone I’d love to interview or meet in person if anyone can connect me.
Additionally, the John Fielding School is somewhere I’d love to visit in the same vein as I did with Gosberton House School and because my experiences there were transformative in my personal journey becoming a collective journey.
Finally, I have to unbiasedly thank and recognise the Lincolnshire Free Press for seeing a purpose behind an autistic narrator in Lincolnshire and for bearing with me through the executive functioning issues I struggle with in delivering these very columns!
A small but absolutely appreciated gesture of understanding.
My project 100 Day Community Kit is based partially on the input of allies because I want to recognise the role their voice plays in the empowerment of autistic people.
We cannot change our systems of thinking and
operating without coming out of our comfort zones.
But balance is key.
Remote learning packs for how to increase understanding and acceptance of autistic people is being shared around by the big names in ‘autism charities’ but I’d rather turn my attention to ‘autistic charities/organisations’ and there is a massive difference.
Autism charities are
often not led by autistic people and whilst intentions might be great, the foundation of them is not from an autistically individual base.
This would of course be the opposite to autistically run and sustained charities and organisations such as Autistic Inclusive Meets (AIM) and, if I don’t say so myself, Autistic Led although it sits within the framework set by Tonic Health which is to widely function as a collective rather than specifically focusing on the autistic community.
Indeed, Tonic Health and Autistic Led are proof that allyship can be essential to flourishing.
Food for thought next week, what makes a good ally?
So, next week we’ll focus more on the autistic community but for now, let’s steer the allyship to bright and thriving horizons.