It still surprises me when people are shocked, offended and even insulted when it's suggested to them that they may be autistic.
I have to wonder which lense they're seeing autism through.
For me, autism is more than a medical diagnosis.
It is my culture, my identity.
It is a part of my heritage and family life.
It is central to my being and I am proud, proud, oh so proud.
The responses from people who see autism only as a problem to be overcome, who want to find a cause to cure it, who see it as purely deficit based are the very reasons I decided to dedicate my life to changing those narratives, understandings and perspectives.
I am so entrenched in positive autistic identity that I do forget that people are uncomfortable with how I perceive, experience and know autism.
Many people will say I don't know the 'real autism' which apparently means I haven't experienced or been connected to an autistic person who is yet to be toilet trained, speak, has distressing 'behaviours' and does not attend a mainstream school.
But, I do. And, I am.
I am a Mum of four autistic children, all of who are completely different in their autistic expression.
Some with higher support needs.
I may be a full time carer for the rest of my life, and I may not.
And I, and my family, are happy, thriving, connected and all autistic.
And proud, proud, oh so proud.
I am sorry for those people who are offended by my suggestions that they might be autistic.
It was a relief for me to learn my identity; to know who I am.
That is my experience, and not everyone's, I understand.
I do wonder, however, how those who are offended by the possibility of being on the spectrum think people like me, proudly autistic might receive that response?
What message does it send to autistic people when you so desperately don't want to identity with one of us?
Food for thought for all of us.
Please know that I never want anyone to feel offended or insulted.
Autism is my passion. It is my life.
I am deeply in love!
And you are all welcome here, no matter how you understand or experience autism.