The value of the Autistic voice
Updated: Feb 25
The value of the autistic voice --------------------------------------- --------------------------------------- Autistic people see beyond. . We see through, we see behind, we see inside. . We rarely look at a person, place or thing and take it at face value. . Our wiring is beautiful, brilliant, gifted. . There are things we see that others don’t. . It is crucial for our voices to be heard in relation to the wellbeing and acceptance of today’s autistic children. . The first thing I recommend to families asking what therapies their children need when diagnosed later.. . Autistic mentors. Autistic friends; social groups, support networks. . People who understand them . The ultimate in normalising their experience; who they are . The opportunity to unbreak the broken . I know this because as an autistic parent of autistic children . There are so many physical expressions (behaviours) that I see in my children . That others cannot understand . I’ve observed time and time again . Autistic children being misunderstood and analysed . In all the wrong ways . This morning, my eight year old daughter sat . Clapping her hands, over and over . Screaming, frustrated . I know the pathological translation of this . Tantrum . She is non speaking . No present opportunity to correct others when they misinterpret her . Even our hyperverbal autistic children . Misinterpreted; misunderstood . She sat, clapping her hands in a very specific manner . And screaming. . And I knew. I understood. . I saw the reality of her need . Far too complex for the behaviourally fixated . Far too simple for the autistic person . It was a sound. . She was attempting to recreate a specific pitch in the clap of her hands . She tried over and over through her frantic claps, yet methodically slowed down and carefully planned . The shape of her hands, her fingers strategically placed in different ways . To effect a particular sound . Her screams, her frustration . At the collective sounds of the morning . The hustling of breakfast chatter and activity . Her favourite music for calming effect . A routine she normally enjoys . Was but an interference in achieving that pitch; that sound . With a swift move in from Mum, . And a redirection to a quiet area, . She made her sound . The desired pitch . Just perfect. . And the screaming ceased . Her peace restored . Her world calm once again . Moving on with her morning . Smiling, preparing for her day . Excited for school . We, autistics . We know these things . Because we’ve lived it. . The very things we’ve been taught to hate about ourselves . To reject in ourselves . To never speak of as young people; . Our lived experience offers a value and a wisdom . That no study, no analysis, no other approach can match. . I see autistic children’s behaviours broken down, analysed and plans put together to overcome them . Everyday . Misunderstood . Pathologised . Our deep, sensory connection with our world . Dismissed . Our love of sound, sight, smell, touch and taste . Completely missed. . The ways in which our minds, bodies and spirits are filled . Stilled by the sensory value of our environments . Please hear us. . Please accept us . Please value us . Just as we are . Perfect, whole and complete. . . . <3 . . Kristy Forbes Autism & Neurodiversity Support Specialist inTune Pathways . . Image: The Londonist.