Fancy A Cuppa With Me?

I recently stumbled upon the #weekendcoffeeshare hashtag here on WordPress and loved the idea. So today I am posting this, my first Weekend Coffee Share post. I hope you enjoy the read!

If we were having coffee I would invite you to sit at my family dining table amidst the lego pieces, homework folders and other paraphernalia that is family life. I would offer you a coffee (or tea if you prefer) and bring it to you in one of my beloved Emma Bridgewater mugs. I would chat to you about what’s on my mind and this is what I would say:-

This week I have spent a lot of time reading articles online about autism. It’s great that this month (April is Autism Awareness Month) the internet is flooded with articles, information, and conversations about autism. All of it helps to promote awareness and get people talking about the condition.

As a mother of an autistic child, I’m really passionate about trying to do my bit in helping others understand autism and to do some myth busting along the way. Normally I approach this with enthusiasm, but this week I have been struggling with a bout of hopelessness for two reasons.

Firstly, amongst all the great information, I also read a lot of things about autism that make me angry, upset and despair. Some of it is just plain ignorance but a lot of it stems from a sector of the autism community that has a fundamentally different attitude towards autism than mine.*

This week I have been feeling very much that, let’s face it, I’m only one woman with one voice. How on earth could I possibly think that anything I add to the autism debate is going to make any difference? How can I, as an individual, help to change attitudes?

Secondly, I realise that I have a mountain to climb in teaching other people what autism really is. How can I expect to teach other people in a straightforward and concise way what it took me years of research and first hand experience of to understand?

Autism is complex and multifaceted. It’s a spectrum condition with each and every individual on that spectrum occupying their own unique position within it.

When my own child was first diagnosed with autism I knew virtually nothing about it. In my head all I could think was ‘does this mean my child is going to be some kind of Rain Man type genius or does it mean that he will never have proper speech and will sit on the floor rocking back and forth all day?’ My thoughts at the time represent, I think, the two main stereotypes of what autism is.

Of course, my son isn’t either of those stereotypes and now, more than ten years further down the line, I understand in great detail what autism really is.

But back to the task ahead of me, how do I help pass on all this knowledge and understanding that I now have of autism? How do I help society be aware that a little understanding can go a long way in making a difference? And how do I help to bust the autism myths and spread the facts?

I guess, as with most things in life, the only way to climb the mountain is one step at a time. Whilst I can’t get my message across to the whole world, I can at least try to reach out to the family, friends and online followers in my own world and hope that, if only in a small way, I can make a difference.

Thank you for reading.

P.S. #weekendcoffeeshare is hosted by http://www.parttimemonster.com

Unfortunately I still haven’t entirely mastered the more technical side of blogging and so can’t embed links or use pingbacks etc! But you can link up your own coffee posts or read others via the link button on the above blog or use the #weekendcoffeeshare hashtag on WordPress, Facebook and Twitter.

 

* For the record:
– I DON’T believe that autism is a disease, a disorder or an epidemic

– I DON’T believe it is caused by vaccines

– I DON’T believe that autism needs to be ‘cured’

– I DO believe that autism has a predominately neurobiological and genetic basis

– I DO support neurodiversity and the belief that autism is simply a non-typical neurotype but no less valid than any other

– I DO believe that society can only benefit from the different perspectives on the world and creative approaches to life that the autistic brain offers

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15 thoughts on “Fancy A Cuppa With Me?

  1. I’m glad you stopped by to have coffee with us today!

    I’ve been seeing some of what you’re saying about autism reverberating through my newsfeeds—changing ideas about how we talk about autism and about the people who live their lives with it. There are so many stereotypes about any sort of difference in brain chemistry, things we classify as illness and then pathologize. It’s the same with a lot of things, I think. But maybe the only way to change that is to keep talking about it, so I think that sharing your thoughts on a blog is a good start. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome to coffee share, yor post on autism is very good. As we learn more about how our bodies work, it should made life easier for those that are different. You will never make some people realize that everyone is socially equal. It is inbred in them. I agree with your statement that is neurological problem and not cause by vaccines. I have memories of before the vaccines were around.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with all your don’ts and dos. Definitely when I first started talking to people about understanding autism instead of curing it, I felt so outnumbered I gave up. But I have noticed there are more out there like you and me each day and you are making a difference. At least you’ve made me feel more comfortable talking about this than I have in years. I think the thing with vaccines is just that it can be stressful and the autistic tendencies that were there all along just became more noticeable. Both my sons had autistic traits from birth but I admit I didn’t recognize it with my younger son until he was a year and a half. In his case I’ve little doubt it was the stress of my divorce that made him to withdraw more. He got better as soon as I got past my own depression and was able to focus on being a parent, but he’d lost a year and still had the same level of autism he’d been born with. The saddest part of his life is the way his father and most of his teachers treated him like he was an embarrassment and too stupid to learn. You and others like you are helping change that attitude a little at a time. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carolyne. May I ask what country you live in? I am British and currently live in the Netherlands. Personally I see quite a big divide in the perception and approaches to autism between North America and Europe. IMHO The need to ‘cure’ autism that some people seem to have is much more of an American attitude. I’m still exploring what the reasons are that contribute to this but I have several thoughts as to why.

      On a personal level, I hear your words and I feel for you. I’m so glad that I have been able to connect with people like yourself via WordPress. Stay strong!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are correct that the need to cure, not only autism but many other mental disorders seems stronger in America (specifically the US). I am in the United States and can say that my life has been deeply affected by the local (each state is a bit different) need to make everybody seem normal publicly and to react aggressively to squash down all us round pegs that don’t fit in the square holes. I tried moving to a more accepting state many years ago (but could not abandon my elderly mother.)

        Like

  4. Your blog is a powerful means of communication and education to readers who in turn will further be able to pass along your truths about autism. You are one powerful woman with a powerful message to share. Keep on keeping on!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was my first coffee share too. It is very nice to meet you. I don’t mind drinking coffee with Legos. At my house you would drink coffee with Disney Princesses. Your blog makes a difference to many. I’m sure about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi there nothingtopuzzle, thanks for sharing, my blog-site is janemuras.com and I also try to educate through sharing our story. People can feel isolated at times. I am drinking coffee right now! Lol

    Like

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