When Poss was first diagnosed, I can honestly say that I didn’t know any other people on the spectrum. Which is ridiculous given the prevalence of diagnosis. And in hindsight, I probably did know people, I just didn’t know that I knew. If you know what I mean.
The only points of reference we had in those early days were doctors, therapists and books. Most of which were written by other parents, or doctors and therapists. There was a big group of voices not represented; autistics themselves.
Over the years, I’ve sought out blogs and writings of those who are actually autistic, as without those voices, that input, those experiences, how can I possibly understand what is going on with Poss?
And there are so many amazing ones out there. Once I started looking, scratching the very shallow surface, they’re easy to find, and full of rich insights into minds that are similar, but different, but kind of a little bit the same.
When I went along to the Victorian Autism Conference last month, and as I watched the speakers share their lived experiences with autism, inspiring the autistic and neuro-typical alike in the crowds, I realised that there is a piece missing for us.
As much as I read, and as much as I seek out the information, Poss sees only limited glimpses of autistic adults. While she’s a member of amazing groups like the Yellow Ladybugs, she’s not really exposed to the adults who have walked before her, those who she can share ‘me too’ moments with. I’m not sure how or why it’s ended up that way, but it is what it is.
Next conference, I’ll be taking Poss with me. She needs to see the autistic people up there speaking, and know that she can do the same. That the world is her oyster and she only needs to step through the doors that people have fought to have opened.
In the meantime, I’m going to be seeking out opportunities for her to not only build friendships with autistic kids her own age, but learn from those who are older.
And who knows, I’ll likely learn something too.