Hello my wonderful tribe and supporters,
I've been in the process of rethinking and redesigning my business model.
Six years ago, I would lay in bed sobbing my heart out. My little girl was autistic and there was nothing that I could do about it.
I was so terrified of what it all meant. What would our lives be like, particularly hers?
Would she ever speak? Would she 'function' in what I knew was often a harsh society for those who don't conform, comply, adhere, contribute?
As a Mother, I felt I'd hit rock bottom. I had no idea how to help my child and the language of pathology-the words, the outcome, the prognosis, the recommendations were all of such an urgent and serious matter, doused heavily in doom and gloom.
There are so many moments I revisit from time to time from that period of our lives and the memory is a whole body experience and it's heavy.
I researched. I went to support groups. I talked to others. I saw professionals. I cried. I cried. I cried.
And my personal experience was that the fear, the terror, the sadness did not shift.
It was only when I became chronically ill and unable to push myself further as my daughter's therapist and as a researcher that I was shown another way.
That plummet, that rock bottom was the greatest thing to ever happen in our lives.
I was forced to quit a job I loved, to put study on hold and to just 'be'.
I had no choice but to sit with my little girl, and to observe her. To play with her on HER terms. To stop looking at her through the eyes of disorder, at all the things we had to 'correct' and to open my mind.
You see, we'd engaged in a therapy that called for us to not allow her to be 'in her own world'. It picked apart every aspect of her being and called it disordered, non functional and non compliant.
This therapy sought to change our little girl's "No" to teaching her she had no choice.
And I felt in my gut that it was wrong.
I began to learn and know that she was, indeed, very much connected to us, despite having been told she was not aware and completely consumed by her own agenda.
She heard every word we uttered; whether we whispered it, shouted it or just said it.
She felt every intention, motivation, emotion and thought from us and she behaved accordingly in alignment with the amount of safety, security and trust she felt from us.
As the adults in her life, we were disconnected. We'd been taught that she was different to the point of total energetic, emotional, spiritual and physical separation from us.
It isn't true. None of it is true.
When we let go of the demands, the compliance therapies, the goal of normalisation rather than actualisation, everything changed.
She began to look at us. She began to smile, to cuddle, to play.
And, we saw her. We truly saw her.
We began to learn more and more about autism and what it ACTUALLY is. That is doesn't require assimilation, recovery, cure or abandon of the very things all children have the right to..
..to be recognised and loved as they are; as their true selves.
And, had it not been for my beautiful, resilient, courageous, patient little darling gifting us in so many ways by entering our lives, my own lifelong struggle to understand my own differences wouldn't have come to an end.
It was through my own children that I learnt that I too, am autistic (formerly known as Aspergers).
Assessed twice. Diagnosed twice. And I tried particularly hard the second time to be as 'normal' and as 'typical' as possible. And still, I'm autistic.
A professional who knew of my study and background, who was aware of my aspirations in life gave me some advice..
"Do NOT disclose THAT diagnosis to anyone, ever".
He was concerned for me. And I understand that concern.
People might think I was attention seeking, crazy, mislead and definitely NOT autistic.
People would underestimate me due to the label.
Parents live with this fear every day for their children. And I get it.
If we don't stand up, shout out, stand in our truth, share our lived experience, then nobody will ever learn what autism actually is.
The myths, the stereotypes, the doom and gloom narrative needs to be challenged.
Society needs to be reformed.
Autism isn't just a child, rocking in a corner who doesn't speak.
It isn't just Sheldon or Rain Man or Temple Grandin or the guy off The Good Doctor who speaks like a robot.
It's people like me. People who go their entire lives knowing they're different but not knowing how or why. It's people like me, who know what others perceive as problematic are in fact, our strengths and our gifts. It's people like me, who can sense and tune into others easily using deeper levels of empathy and compassion and love. So much love.
It's people like me who can approach challenges from an entirely new angle and perspective and find solutions in ways that others have never considered. It's people like me who spend our entire lives working at appearing 'normal' and then excelling at it-to the point where we might appear more 'normal' than most 'normals'.
We know our strengths, we're just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. We also need to be recognised as valid, competent, intelligent people who operate on a different processing system, but given the correct supports can achieve anything.
For many of us, when we are diagnosed as adults, it brings our search..our seeking, our constant and all consuming critical self analysis to an end.
It brings to us an understanding and acceptance of who we are and why.
Do you know how important this is?
We get to be ourselves, to embrace ourselves and to step into the truth of who we are.
It is the greatest sense of freedom.
Yet it continues to be made a challenge by a society that remains misinformed and uneducated, unaccepting of difference.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
We have to stop defining autistic people by deficit.
We are the most resilient people on the planet. To live in a world that is often painful on all levels. To not know whether someone will completely misunderstand your abilities based on your neurology or whether they'll not believe you.
That professional unknowingly, encouraged me to live in the problem.
But I won't.
Because how can I change the world for my children and hide who I am at the same time?
So now I stand in the solution.
inTune pathways will now be Autism and Neurodiversity specific, which is really, what I set out to do in the first place but lacked the courage.