One of my more popular tweets advised NT parents that, no matter what problem or issue their autistic child is facing, there is an autistic adult who has faced the same thing and can advise them.
A line that often gets thrown in our faces when we try to advise parents on helping their autistic kids is “you are not like my child”. And yes, it is true that I may not have faced the exact same problems your child has. But I can guarantee that there is an autistic out there who has had a pretty damn close experience.
Non-verbal? There are many adult autistics who were non-verbal as children. Many still are. Some have learnt to type and are willing to describe their experience.
Epileptic? I know many autistics who have co-morbid epilepsy. They have helped me so much with my own questions on the subject.
Stomach issues? Many of us have those, for myriad reasons. We can point you in the right direction to get some relief for your child.
Self-harm and self-injurious behaviour? Yep, so many of us have been there, done that.
Problems with activities of daily living? Eg brushing teeth, haircuts, getting dressed. We can advise on tips and life hacks and ways of getting to the heart of the issue.
Food issues? School issues? Executive dysfunction? Finding and keeping a job? Burnout?
There is no issue your child is facing that an autistic adult hasn’t. Might not be to the exact same degree, but we can at least help you help them. Offer ideas and solutions if we can. Work with you and your child, to help them in the most positive way we can.
My tweet did get one reply that at the time I thought was a parent being lazy. It was “but how will we find them?”. It annoyed me because I thought the answer was self-evident. But I now realise that not everyone knows the right words to search for, the right hashtags etc.
At the time, I pointed to the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag as a way of finding adult autistics. But now, thanks to @NeuroRebel we have the brand new #AskingAutistics hashtag specifically for this purpose. It’s gaining popularity, both by NT people asking for advice but also by #ActuallyAutistic people too. It’s a way of asking “hey, anyone have experience with X?”
A lot of us are spending time looking at the questions linked to that hashtag. And if we can’t answer them ourselves, we pass them onto those who can, or ask around and share. It seems to be a wonderful resource developed from the ground up.
So, there you have it. Have a question about autism? #AskingAutistics is the way to go.
Or if you don’t use twitter, it may be used on Facebook too. I know @NeuroRebel uses Facebook, but I don’t so I’m less clear on that part. Or you can contact us via our blogs too!