AUTISTIC LINCS: A new, weekly column by Callum Brazzo, an autistic author based in spalding
Autism. Heard of it? Probably. I can tell you for a fact that being autistic is about neurological wiring; It’s all in the brain.
I could tell you that, according to the most recognizable charity for autistic people, there are about 700,000 autistic people living in the UK and I could tell you that 34 per cent of autistic children think that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.
Some 63 per cent of autistic children are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them.
And 17 per cent of autistic children have been suspended from school; 48 per cent of these have been suspended three or more times; four per cent have been expelled from one or more schools.
Some 70 per cent of autistic adults say that they are not getting the help they need from social services. And 70 per cent of autistic adults also said that with more support they would feel less isolated.
At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support. Now, for those with an autistic person in their lives in some capacity, you will probably know the charity that states those numbers. But I am not writing about charities here.
That can be saved for another time.
However, I am writing about life as an autistic man and, besides, what do those statistics really mean anyway?
There’s nothing ‘missing’ from these people but we are missing OUT on the potential of these people and that’s a real problem that we can all understand.
Autistic people can experience this otherwise black-and-white world with a rainbow filter.
We can feel, hear, touch and sense the world and those around us in such high intensity that sometimes we need to turn down the brightness.
The brightness of our rainbow filter that colours our senses, our emotions and our lives. Some autistic people do not need a rainbow filter because they are happy with the hues of their existences. Happy with how their lives are filled in.
Life is a canvas and we all explore and paint individual meaning onto it. We may be in a technology age but don’t think autistic people are robots.
I have been too scared to leave my house due to anxiety. I have been on anti-depressants. I have been between educational psychologists and the SEN unit and had to leave mainstream school because I was deemed a mainstream failure.
All because I was misunderstood and bullied but I have never been a failure. I am a successful and complete human being as are other autistic people if we take the opportunities to connect and practically support these people to reach their potential.
We don’t need your fake cures. We need to be embraced and accepted. In my community, there’s a saying that goes ‘Once you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person.’ Nice to meet you.
And if you don’t have any autistic people in your lives in any capacity then what does it take to achieve this acceptance and fully realized potential?
Well, of course, it’s all in the brain.