Stop what you are doing right now, close your eyes for a few seconds, and imagine you’ve just bumped into an alien walking down the street…. Imagine this alien wants to know everything about the human race, from start to finish, and during your discussion you have to describe what autism is. How would you do it?
Given the situation, there are multiple ways you could respond. However, I feel it is safe to presume that, whatever you said, it was a description of what someone with autism is like (not what autism is), and in all probability, whatever words you did use, I’m guessing they didn’t exactly paint us autists in the greatest of lights.
So, given that we all understand that this kind of response is far from fine, how do we rectify these kinds of answers to a more acceptable level? Well, the solution to the first problem is to improve our general understanding of autism (luckily I know just the place to get help with that ). To solve the second issue, we have to learn how to embrace autism.
What is Embracing Autism?
Embracing Autism is what, I believe, is the next step in general attitudes towards autism. So much so, that it will make up one of the corner stones for Autistic & Unapologetic.
This idea stems from something which I’ve noticed for a while now: that the days of viewing autism as a curse are slowing passing (touch wood), and in their place we have begun to see (what I define as) an ‘era of acceptance’: one where we now discuss autism for its facts and limitations, whilst avoiding discussion of the people behind the diagnosis themselves.
Now I’m not going to deny that this is definitely more desirable than the previous approach , but to me it’s just not enough and that’s why, amongst these pages, I’m leading the change.
The reason I feel this won’t suffice is simple: because, if something is bad people make a conscious effort to improve it, but if something is, for lack of a better word: ‘meh’, then we just sweep it under the carpet and move along (a fitting metaphor, as this effectively describes how the personalities of those with autism are also hidden underneath their diagnosis).
So where do I come in? Well, as one of said people being swept under the carpet, I feel a change to this approach would be welcomed sooner rather than later. What I propose is this: that instead of pushing away people with autism, or hiding from any discussion of it, we should instead embrace autism, by discussing the benefits it brings, the quirks it provides and the achievements is has… well… achieved.
What Will I Write About in Embracing Autism?
To do this, I plan to look at and celebrate the different effects people with autism have had on the world: discussing things from the point of view of those without autism as well as those with it. It is important for people with autism to understand that their diagnosis can bring them opportunity (not just disability), it’s also worth encouraging parents and teachers to realise that their ‘little challenge’ is fully capable of growing into a huge success.
Though this goal which I have set myself (convincing the entire world to change their perspective on autism) is, shall we say… ‘ambitious’. I believe that I will have better odds of breaking through to different/more people, if I approach this target from various angles, such as:
– Inspiring those with autism: in the past I have found nothing but dread when thinking about my life’s possibilities in relation to my autism. However, this attitude has quickly changed in recent years, as I have seen an increase in:
- Celebrities speaking about their own personal experiences of the condition.
- New published findings on the benefits of being autistic.
- My own moments of victory whilst dealing with being autistic.
That’s why, within Embracing Autism I plan to highlight some of these inspiring stories within the community. As though I am always doing my best to encourage the idea that autism can be viewed as an advantage, sometimes seeing really is believing.
–Motivation for people with autism: During ‘motivational’ posts, I want to take a scenic look at the symptoms of autism, by approaching the topic via the opportunities they provide us with; instead of the far too common view of seeing these symptoms as limitations and nothing more.
-Help and Advice: Embracing autism isn’t just about throwing autism on a parade and marching it through the streets though, as in many cases, being autistic can feel like too heavy a burden on our best days.
That’s why I also plan to provide support for those who are struggling with their or a loved one’s diagnosis of autism, because in some cases, just being able to accept autism into your life, is enough to say that we are embracing it.
Who is Embracing Autism for?
Embracing Autism is set up for everyone: both autistic and non. It’s a resource that I hope on some level can be related to by every demographic, and though, yes, this is a blog written by just me, the ideas and feelings that I share here, are ones which, I believe needed presenting for the entire autistic community.
I have previously discussed that this is why every post I write will finish with a ‘Carry on the Conversation’ section, so I will try not repeat myself again. However, I will say that this site is for everyone, so make sure your voice is heard at the end of any featured article. Your opinion can help expand someone else’s experience where they may have felt disassociated from my opinion (after all, I am only one part of a huge spectrum).
Carry on the Conversation.
But that’s enough from me, so let me hear your thoughts on Embracing Autism: What would you like to see amongst these coming pages? Are there any autism cons that you are sure don’t have a positive? Let me know and I will be happily to try and prove you wrong.
The best way to reach me, is in the comments below. However, if you are would like to contact me via social media, I can be found on the Autistic & Unapologetic Facebook page or on my Twitter @AutismRevised.
For those of you looking for a direct way to get hold of me, my email address is AutisticaandUnapologetic@gmail.com.
Thank you for reading, and I will see you see you all next Saturday for more discussions from across the spectrum.