Why its worth complaining

Complaining to big organisations about the way they portray autism and autistic people can often feel futile and just a waste of effort. You spend ages crafting a persuasive and considered email only to get a carbon copy response or none at all.

Every time if the past few years that The Guardian has featured a piece on autism without input from one of us (and thats all their articles on autism) I’ve complained to them asking why we don’t have a voice, why they’ll lways seek comment on the story from an NT and not from us. So I will pat myself on the back over the appearance of this article, its a first as its by an autistic person about autism and doesn’t feature any input from an NT.  I like to think they wouldn’t have published this without the constant complaints from myself and other autistic people pointing out that we should be allowed to speak for ourselves.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/13/when-i-was-diagnosed-with-aspergers-toys-helped-me-cope-they-still-do

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Some thoughts on accessibility

A few weeks back I was told about a coding workshop aimed at women and disabled people. Its a regular weekly thing so I signed up online and went along at the appointed time.

What confronted me as I entered the venue was a mass of women sitting about chatting, glasses in hand and loud music. After some minutes of panic, confusion and feeling stupid I found someone who explained that they ‘socialise’ for half and hour before the workshop. This wasn’t on the website so I wasn’t expecting it. My point is that an activity that NTs find enjoyable can be a huge and forbidding barrier to autistic people. Its the same as being visually impaired and finding an event begins with a game of hide and seek. You just can’t do it even if you wanted to and, more than that, it signals that this isn’t meant for you.

Much as I’d like to think that everything can be made accessible, when I encounter events like this I really doubt if thats  true. No NT is ever going to consider for a second that what they see as a warm and welcoming activity can be a scary and alienating experience for autistics. One that makes them feel so bad they won’t go back.

To begin…..

Looking around the wonderful web and at the world in general I find that autism is very much in the news. But the voices, ideas, experiences and opinions of autistic people are not. In fact it’s very hard to find them.

This lack of an authentic autistic voice means its easy for neurotypical people to write and say stuff in the media about autism that is insulting, misleading and just plain wrong. And they aren’t challenged. Lets put that right.

I want to use this blog to let autistic people share their experience of daily life and talk about whats on their minds. If it all works out we might change to a magazine format down the line. Lets see how it goes!