Congratulations! It’s autism
awareness acceptance appreciation day! I am aware of how exhausting this month is to many of us, and it’s only just started. I’m not going to focus on that today. I’m going to focus on the awesome autistic community. Because this is where my road towards self-acceptance starts. You’re literally life savers.
About two years ago, my psychologist told me that he suspected that I was autistic. He wanted me to think about if I wanted to get an neuropsychiatric assessment. The very second he asked, I wanted to shout yes. Someone has finally noticed that I’m different. I was so relieved. Since I wasn’t sure of what he was talking about, I told him with a very neutral autistic poker face that I would think about it until next appointment.
As I’m sure many of you have already guessed, I spent the next two weeks researching neuropsychiatric disabilities and autism. The sites offered by health care and charity (intresse) organisations had at least published the new diagnosis criterias for autism, as well as the old ones. Oh, my senses are heighted, but I can do theory of mind? I couldn’t see myself at all.
I then remembered that I had been linked to a blog by an autistic writer a while ago. I looked it up again, and from there I found many other blogs. I was amazed by how these awesome bloggers wrote in a way I instantly understood. Not only did their writings all make sense, as well as the way they described their lives, experiences, feelings and thoughts… There was a specific blog post where the author discussed how she sometimes, on good days wondered if she really was autistic. Then she recounted all autistic things she did during a day and came to the conclusion that of course she’s autistic. That was it. She had pretty much described my life. I was finally home. Sadly, I never managed to find that blog again.
I continued to read. I learnt about identity first, neurodiversity & the social model of disability. Lovely things that have changed the way I think about myself and the world. A few months later I was relieved to receive my autism diagnosis (I was worried that I wouldn’t be seen as autistic enough). I had already embaced being autistic.
I then did the awful mistake of not starting to interact with the online autistic community for almost one and a half year. Or perhaps it was a good thing to wait. Even though I identified as autistic, I still didn’t know how to talk about my experiences.
I joined a few local groups and events in my area, but I quickly realised that these people were not into neurodiversity & identity first. Disappointing, but it meant a lot to me to share experiences with others like me. Still, hearing these people’s opinions only made me more sure of my own convictions.
And now, quite recently I decided that I was ready to take the plunge. I started a blog and started interacting with other bloggers. And then I ended up on Twitter, just to find out that not only are these very thoughtful & interesting people, they are lovely and very easy to socialise with as well. I feel welcomed and accepted, and that’s all I really asked for. Being in contact with other autistics (that care about disability rights, not the boring aspies in my hometown) has allowed me to speak up and work with them to fight ableism.
Therefore I hope everyone in the autistic community will be proud of themselves through April. Practice all the self-care you need. If it’s too much, feel free talk to me about anything, really. We deserve more than simple awareness. We deserve to be loved and accepted however NT or autistic we present. We deserve nothing else than to partake in society on our own premises and get the accomodations we need in order to do so. This is why I’m going #Redinstead.