I never realise until I am there. Until I find myself feeling sick with disgust at my old interests and desperately seeking something to latch on to. If you know an autistic person, adult or child, know that the space between our passions is always terribly unsettling. Sometimes it feels bleak, for there is nothing to be excited about, nothing to dig in to. Sometimes it feels lonely, for we have lost our way of connecting with other humans. Sometimes it is scary, because we have taken away the only thing holding our mind tethered, keeping anxiety, or mania, or paranoia, or depression at bay.
Once upon a time, not very long ago at all, I saw my family's neurological, sensory, communication and developmental differences as 'issues' that needed interventions from clinicians. We were struggling daily as a family, and I thought that helping my children 'be OK in the world' would help us all. I did not believe that … Continue reading Why I permanently paused early intervention therapy for my children
I learned I was autistic in my 30s. Not long afterwards, I came across the word chameleon to describe how many autistic people change our communication, voice, interests, and actions to mirror the people we are with, or to fit in with the norms of a group. Looking back on the way I had survived … Continue reading Don’t shame us for being chameleon
I became a mother not knowing I was autistic. Surprisingly, it was the first time I was truly aware of how different I am to neurotypical women. In my 20s, I moved cities and left behind high-school friendships. I made choices to work and build friendships in social justice communities. By day I could work with … Continue reading autistic women, motherhood and friendship
Elisa and Martin died along with their parents and their family dog this week. Their murder was pre-meditated with a complicated system of gas bottles filtering a lethal gas through their ceiling. As a parent of three children, the news of their death has hit me hard. Elisa and Martin's faces on my phone, computer and TV are heartbreakingly beautiful in a way that all children are.
The thing I value the most about our family is that we are authentic, and completely ourselves with each other. There are no filters, or masks, or parts that we conceal when we are at home together. Sometimes this looks peaceful and still; sometimes loud, super stimmy, and joyful. And other times it can look angry, defiant and overwrought, or sad, anxious and uneasy. And that is completely ok. We are there to support each other, without shame or pressure to be something we are not. I hope our home will always be this safe place for our children.
I love that though we all have different needs, we understand each other. I would like to explore my own diagnosis with a professional at some point in the near future however at the moment it's kind of at the bottom of the priority list, just cause kids come first, you know...
Our family feeeeeeeeels life without filters. Everything is intense, tingly, fragile, loud, fast and silent and all at the one time. Our family is tight and strong and we outlast.
I've been focussing heavily on follow-up from meetings with the UN in Geneva for Autistic Family Collective. In the meantime, I have found pockets of writing space for some posts I am proud of over at Respectfully Connected.
Returning from my travel to the UN in Geneva for Autistic Family Collective, I was wide awake and jetlagged, and wrote a list of some of the things I just won't accept this Autism Acceptance Month (or ever!). Things like sympathy, denial, stigma, hate and fear...