Autism One on One had a great meeting last night. It was really an opportunity for everyone who wanted to come along and express their views on what they would like to get from the group and what would be the most useful and helpful meetings to have and in what format. The ideas came thick and fast and I learnt a huge amount from everyone who came so a big ‘thank you’ for taking the time out to come along.
We had a variety of people as well, young people on the spectrum, older people on the spectrum, parents and neurotypicals. The mix was fantastic as it allowed for a lot of free thinking from numerous different perspectives. This is the essence of the group for me as so much is about awareness and understanding of the type of brain wiring these people possess.
Rainbow people circumnavigating the earth! Kind of sums it up I think!
One young man came with his parents, he’s 15 but relatively newly diagnosed and was a refreshing and very helpful addition. His views on what hasn’t gone so well in is life and the changes he feels are much needed were eloquently expressed and, in my mind, totally accurate.
He did, however, at one point say something that whilst causing laughter, was also a unique way of perceiving autistic people as a whole. When I asked him whether he had found the evening useful and what he would like to see going forward his answer was that he would like the opportunity to spend some time with ‘his people’. By this he meant people on the spectrum who he can relate to and be himself with, it’s a very sad reality that autists spend most of their lives trying to imitate neurotypical behaviour in order to ‘fit in’.
Why should this be the case? With the rest of us we happily accept that some of us have dominant personalities, some sensitive, some outgoing, some not…etc..etc.. Why can’t we accept that autism is just a different way of thinking and feeling, just like any other person?
And so it has come to pass that I have decided to have some meetings called ‘My People’. Essentially these will be social gatherings where people on and off the spectrum can come along and interact with each other. Those not on the spectrum can come along to learn more about those who are on the spectrum and autists can come along and meet like minded people that they have a natural empathy with. In this way we can gradually raise awareness of what Autism is REALLY all about and at the same time allow people to meet and develop new friendships that they otherwise may not have been able to access.
Anyone and everyone is welcome to come along even f they have no association with anyone on the spectrum because we are an open house group and we all want neurotypical people to understand how these guys tick. They’re not weird (something they get a lot), they’re not all super gifted Savants, they are however, very real people with very real feelings and hopes and dreams the same as everyone else and they deserve to have the chance to just be.
So, a huge thank you to Dru for being the catalyst for ‘My People’ and for giving us all a slightly different slant on how autists perceive themselves.
Oh yes, and to reiterate Todd…….DRU FOR PRESIDENT!!!