Ways to Connect with the Autistic Community

Engaging with individuals on the spectrum should be a foundational part of any parent’s plan to support their autistic child. It’s relatively easy and comfortable to access resources from doctors, therapists, and other parents of children on the spectrum. Communicating with or accessing resources from people who are #actuallyautistic is sometimes, unfortunately, an afterthought; however, there is plenty of information easily available from autistic sources for anyone interested.

Understanding Autism: 10 Reasons Why You Should Prioritize Autistic People in the Conversation About Autism

understanding autism

You’ll find several mentions on this website about the importance of prioritizing autistic individuals in the conversation about autism. But, like anyone, not all autistic people think and believe the same things, so why is this consultation useful? Is it necessary? Is it enough to steadfastly follow the advice of your child’s doctors and therapists? If you think this is enough, you’ll be missing the best piece of the picture to understanding autism (Notice I’m deliberately not using a puzzle piece analogy here for reasons described in this post.). And while it’s important for people to understand that people on spectrum do NOT exist solely to educate others about autism, there are nevertheless numerous autistics willing to share their knowledge in the hopes of better informing families and society about autism (and some¬†make their living doing so). They write and speak regularly about their experiences.

Below are 10 reasons why you should engage with autistic individuals and include them in the conversation about autism (identifying symptoms, useful therapies, supports, describing personal experiences, and how it should be addressed in society).

Voices from the Constellation #17: Caroline Hearst on Neurodiversity and Autism Advocacy

Caroline HearstCaroline Hearst is an autistic autism trainer and consultant from the U.K. who runs post-diagnostic peer support groups for autistic adults. She runs Autism Matters and is the director of AutAngel, a community interest company run by and for autistic people. She also blogs about her autism perspectives at http://www.autismmatters.org.uk/blog.

 

This week Caroline shared with me her perspective on the neurodiversity movement and autism advocacy both in the United States and the United Kingdom. This interview was conducted via Skype and is transcribed below.