Mentors, peer support and fairy lights #autism

December 3, 2016 § 5 Comments

 

stringlights

Blogging is such a good way to let off steam and to disseminate information for autistic people.

Those of us newer to the game can quickly find our blogging forays replicated many times over in the online journey’s of other autistic adults. This is comforting.

Comforting in that we find ourselves reflected and validated, often after whole lifetime without it. There is a pattern to absorbing this difference it seems. Sometimes we just need to process and never mind the repetition.

Being a newbie I’m still learning. Unpicking the tangles created by not having known I am neurologically different in so many hidden ways.

These ways appear as tangled threads uncoiling and mutating into something bright and new.

Coordination is not a strength. Sewing can be a trial, often resulting in the sudden snag, mother to the multiple knot in thread. The kind which no matter how you prod it with your needle will never shift. There’s nothing to do but cut and start again.

We often live defensively because of our sensory and social challenges – but not knowing how we are different produces such tangles that the only thing to do is cut away. Lives disjointed and disrupted by not knowing.

Knowing is (conversely) to me a string of festive lights – a powerfully charged connecting cable. The pretty bulbs are of course ideas, or rather the illumination which comes with a knowledge that enables. They appear as a series at intervals, pulsing with life and good cheer.

The words that follow this train of thought are courage (that knowledge brings), and connection – not only is this circuit untangled and unbroken but it allows others to see you. Ha! Now I imagine a forest of fir trees in which some are blinking out coded messages – it’s getting to look a lot like Christmas (for which I apologise). But yes…

Beaming out and beaming in – it’s the kind of thread you would never dream of putting a blade to.

These are thoughts that rise and fall, and sometimes turn and twist as I consider all the voices and the often bewildering array of arguments about autism and neurodiversity.

The signalling taking place between autistic people is crucial to us staying whole and untangled. I have come to believe that for once it’s something the neuro-normative population can’t be part of.

More than this.

It’ s this signalling that rights us and sets us on our way. Neuro-normative culture is so pervasive that it threatens to block the light. We need good allies in our struggle for civil rights but…

It’s my autistic peers and mentors I turn to for a very particular kind of support.

 

 

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