Behind the scenes at our Neurodiversity Think Tank

  • April 6, 2020

Behind the scenes at our Neurodiversity Think Tank

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Today we wanted to share with you a couple of ‘behind the scenes’ insights that came from our Neurodiversity Think Tank, about autism acceptance.

The group – comprised of autistic adults – is a joint initiative between us (North East Autism Society) and Infinite Autism, to help inform and shape our services.

We loved these parenting insights because it’s not just…

Parenting autistic kids

It’s also: Autistic parents parenting autistic kids!

The first quote comes from Ashley Jones, talking to his young son.

He said: “I recently told my son that in a world of elephants it’s ok to be a penguin!

“He loves penguins so wanted to explain to him using an analogy of something he loves and values that he will always see the world from his unique view point but the really special thing is that he can help everyone else to see something they might have otherwise missed.

“I guess we all contribute in our own way and it’s just about accepting that.”

We love this! How could you apply this to your child?

The second quote comes from George Watts when explaining autism acceptance to her six-year-old daughter.

She said: “With my daughter we often talk in terms of people learning how to be kind to autistic people. That’s how she understands my work; that I teach people how to be kind to us because they don’t often know much about how it feels to be autistic.”

George described a moment recently where this was applied.

“I was forewarning her about a GP appointment and her first question was: ‘will it be a doctor who knows how to be kind to autistic people?’

“I explained it was an ‘on-the-day’ appointment so I wasn’t who we were going to see and her reaction was, ‘well, if it’s someone who doesn’t know how to be kind to autistic people maybe we should pretend to be normal so they’re kinder to us’.

“It breaks my heart that she already feels she will need to mask sometimes.

“We haven’t really talked about acting ‘non-autistic’ but she gets it. She says things like, ‘people at school would think this stimmy thing I’m doing is weird but people at autscape would get it.’”

It’s for these reasons – and for these children – and for the many, many more like them that we moved from awareness to acceptance.

We must move from being passively aware to being proactively accepting.

We imagine a world where you can ‘come as you are’ to every sphere of life.

Where we are intentionally kind to every member of our human tribe.

Where we no longer need to explain to our children why they may not feel accepted.

Who’s with us?