Just over a week ago, I wrote a post highlighting the problems that the autistic community must pay attention to in Australia. Those issues are still important to me, but I’ve changed my mind about what I can contribute as a member of the autistic community.
I’ve often thought of my life as though I’m a juggler. I am continuously juggling multiple balls because I have multiple roles and multiple interests. Sometimes, I try to juggle too many balls at the same time, and then I drop them all. That’s what I have been attempting to do for the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to juggle too many balls and I am in danger of dropping all of them, so before I do, it’s time to put some balls down.
It’s not possible for me to continually advocate for absolutely everything. I simply don’t have the spoons or the time that such a massive undertaking requires. That doesn’t mean that I am giving up. I’m just re-orientating my focus. In this way, I hope to be able to make a larger, better quality contribution in the areas that I choose to focus on, while supporting other autistic people in their own focus areas.
So, what would those areas be? I’m still working them out, because it’s important that they not only fit me well but I also have a solid foundation from which I can contribute.
One area that I seem to be able to contribute to is respectfully parenting autistic children. I can do this by sharing stories about my life as an autistic parent of an autistic child. I’m not claiming to be a perfect parent. I don’t think anyone can possibly make that claim, but I do think that my experiences with my own parents have provided me with the basis for being a better parent to my son.
My parents were probably the antithesis of perfect parents, and there have been times when I have seriously questioned whether they were even trying to be decent parents. But, I can still be grateful for the experiences that I had as a child, because those experiences have given me a fantastic template of what not to do. So, I have gratefully, with some excitement and trepidation, accepted an invitation to be a regular contributor to the Respectfully Connected blog.
Another area that I believe that I can play a role in is providing a space for the families of autistic children to learn about the neurodiversity paradigm, regardless of whether the parents are autistic or not. This is very much linked to the above, but it will also include some advocacy. I can’t do that alone, which is why I am incredibly grateful to be in the company of brilliant, like-minded people at Autistic Family Collective.
There is a third project that I’m currently working on, but it is in the early stages at the moment, so it will take a little time before I am able to share the details of that project. But it will involve support for neurodivergent people – and hopefully, the ability for autistic people to be able to immerse themselves in autistic culture.
By keeping my focus on those three things, which are all interrelated, I believe that I will be able to make my best contribution. I believe that I can be part of the change that the world and society needs in order to be more accepting and accommodating of autistic people. That doesn’t mean that my small contribution is going to make the largest of differences; it just means that I have figured out how to make my small contribution.
That’s not to say that I will be abandoning this blog, but I see most of my posts here as part of my original intention: a meager attempt to try and explain the strange meaning of being autistic. I shall continue to do so by sharing relevant bits of things that are on my mind.