I want to talk a little about how “quiet rooms” have turned into de-facto isolation units within schools. [thread]
These rooms are often sold by schools as rooms where a pupil can go, in order to destress and unwind if they are in a stressful situation or find themselves becoming distressed. It conjures a picture of calm lighting and warm colours.
That is very rarely the case.
Most often, these rooms are effectively isolation units. They often have no other use than to as a place to put “disruptive” pupils, and many kids can be put in there for hours on end.
Just going to do a short thread here, talking about some of the good experiences I’ve had, during my time of being an Autistic Advocate.
I’ll kick off with this. Meeting Steve Silberman, which was a huge, huge honour.
This was at the 2019 @AsIAmIreland conference, where I was also a speaker. I also had the pleasure of meeting @NaturalistDara (and his mum!), and getting to speak to him about his book, which I’m delighted to see has went on to be a huge hit!
I also met the very tall @LifeOfIrwin who made me look even smaller than I usually am.
Okay this morning I just found out about an Irish Autism “advocate” (using that term very loosely here), went on the Auti$m Speaks Podcast.
I have one question;
I mean, for starters, they don’t even (officially anyway) operate in Ireland.
Autism Speaks are a group I’ve never worked with, and never will work with. I don’t care how much they claim to have changed, Autism Speaks have done more damage to Autistic People than any other organisation ever has.
You painted Autistic People as a threat to humanity, and for a long time you portrayed us as an unspeakable horror that destroys families and akin to AIDS and Cancer.
Yes I accept the study has been paused, but the answer from the Department of Health has worried me.
Why the hell are they encouraging participation in this?! (Yes I know it says “should individuals wish to do so”)
I’m extremely, extremely concerned that the department of Health is getting involved in this. IMO, The Department of Health should have absolutely nothing to do with Spectrum 10K, and it’s things like this that make me worry.
This is the key problem with a diagnosis of Autism being based entirely upon the deficit model.
Any sort of developmental progress is then seen as that person becoming somehow “less Autistic”.
It’s not becoming “less Autistic”. It’s human development.
For example, I reckon if I was referred for an Autism Diagnosis today, I’d not get one.
That’s not because I’ve suddenly became not Autistic.
It’s because of the support I received, which has allowed me to develop ways and methods of communicating/interacting that work for me
That’s because my Speech therapy helped me learn ways of slowing my speech down, how to communicate clearly, and I’ve also adapted my communication style in order to suit me best. I prefer written communication so I use that whenever I can, for instance.
Now, I just want to explain why I’ve set one up [thread]
I’ve been doing my advocacy work on an entirely voluntary basis for almost a decade now. In recent months, the amount of work I’ve been carrying out has grown massively. It’s now reached a point where it takes up comparable hours to my job.
And for most of this time, I’ve been paying for all my own travel, accommodation and any other expenses I’ve incurred in doing this work.
These costs have now reached a point where I have to either scale back my work, or find a way of covering them.
Just want to do a short thread, explaining what it is that I actually *do* when it comes to Autism.
People seem to think I only do Twitter rants, and I do those sometimes, but a lot of my work is offline and isn’t really visible.
So I’m going to just talk about it a little.
A lot of my work here in Northern Ireland takes the form of direct engagement; I make myself available to provide advice, support, answer questions and provide some guidance where I can, to Autistic People, and also their families.
For example, the past few weeks I’ve been working with a lot of young people who are currently starting University, sharing with them my experiences of university, as well as talking to their parents who are (understandably) worried about how their kids will cope.
Right, attention to all Autistic People in Northern Ireland;
This is our biggest and best opportunity to directly have a say in the services and support networks that we depend upon, this is our best chance to directly tell the people in charge, what it is we need from them.
I know filling these things in can be a bit dull, but I cannot emphasise enough just how important these things are. If we don’t participate in these, our voices will not be heard, it’s as simple as that.
The more detail you can include, the better. There’s no word limit for your response, write them a full on novel if you want, every single response will be read by the people involved in drawing up the strategy.
At the time I was at school (which was only a few years ago), I didn’t know a single other person who was Autistic. I felt completely alone in the world, like I was this weird species of human that didn’t exist apart from me.
I just felt like “why am I the only one like this?” And this was a time when social media wasn’t the all-encompassing behemoth it has become, so I didn’t know about online communities or anything like that.
*Attention for anyone with an Autistic Child between 11-18 in NI*
@SpecialistsNI have launched their new ‘Connect4’ Mentoring scheme, which allows Autistic Young People between the ages of 11-18 to meet and learn from Autistic Adults, and all new participants are welcome!
I’ve worked with Specialisterne for almost 10 years now, and I cannot praise them highly enough.
The work they do is absolutely outstanding, and from a personal level, I certainly wouldn’t have the job I have now, if it wasn’t for their support, training and encouragement. I honestly cannot praise them highly enough for the work that they do.