Ryan Hendry Profile picture
Autistic. ADHD. Sometimes a bit Shouty. “Modern Campaigner”, according to the Telegraph. Linfield fan, McLaren Fan
14 Oct
This is what one school calls a “calming room”

That’s not a calming room.

That looks more like a padded cell to me.


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.
Read 16 tweets
12 Oct
Actually I want to talk about something positive.

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. Image
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! Image
I also met the very tall @LifeOfIrwin who made me look even smaller than I usually am. Image
Read 17 tweets
12 Oct
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.

You can’t fix that with a PR makeover.
Read 14 tweets
29 Sep
I want to talk today about “mate crime”, a specific form of disability hate crime.

I want to speak about it from the perspective as a victim of it, as I was a victim of it.

However, I only recognised that I was a victim of it very recently.
To set out some context, the events I’m about to described when I was between the ages of 16-18, and was still very much in the position of having no friends, so I was especially vulnerable to it.
To be honest I’ve tried to write this a few times now but I’ve stopped because I’m sort of ashamed but I figure I’ve nothing to be ashamed of.
Read 44 tweets
27 Sep
Okay this caught my attention today.

Question was asked by @GildernewColm , about whether the Department of Health in NI had any role in the Spectrum10K Study.

The answer has rather worried me.

#StopSpectrum10K #BoycottSpectrum10K @BoycottSpect10k Picture of a question asked...
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.
Read 6 tweets
27 Sep
Hassaan’s thread is a good coverage of what driving can be like for an Autistic Person, and I’d just like to add on my perspective, this time from the ADHD angle. [thread]
Weirdly, I find that my Autism doesn’t have as much an effect on my driving as my ADHD does. Allow me to explain.
My license, for example. It is an Automatic license, as I found doing my driving test in a manual to be an absolute disaster.
Read 11 tweets
26 Sep
I know the Autism and Chicken Nuggets connection is a bit of a meme at this point, but it’s actually a pretty accurate meme, and I’ll quickly explain why.
It’s simple really; Consistency.

I know what I’m getting. 20 Nuggets from McDonalds will be the same, regardless of if I get them from the McDonalds in Carrickfergus, or the McDonalds in Singapore.
The texture will be consistent, the taste is consistent, the visuals are consistent.

Us Autistic People, we like consistency. Consistency is good.
Read 5 tweets
26 Sep
Its 10pm and I’ve just realised I’ve forgotten to even have dinner.

ADHD at it’s work again
Not to worry Image
Come to me, my sweet sweet nugs
Read 4 tweets
21 Sep
Watching the Ni Assembly debate on the Autism (Amendment) Bill.

£10 says I come away from this wanting to cry with frustration at the language being used
Robin Swann said Autistic People.

Well done sir, well done.

People, pls copy the Health Minister’s example.
“Aware of the need for Autistic People to be involved in this strategy”

I swear I nearly just fell of my seat. I can’t believe I just heard those words.
Read 8 tweets
21 Sep
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.
Read 6 tweets
21 Sep
Okay despite REALLY not wanting to, I’m going to have to address this because it’s clearly becoming a big story.

This “study” is a complete and utter waste of time, and allow me to explain why [thread]

For context; I’m Autistic myself.
Right, let’s start with this.

“Longer-term research on more children is needed to see if the effects last”

So this study has no idea if this therapy even works beyond the very short term.
“Over five months, the parents of about half of them were taught to:

Interact with their baby even if there was no eye contact”

The neurotypical obsession with eye contact is just weird at this point.
Read 6 tweets
21 Sep
No, you can’t “prevent” Autism. Headline from the Telegraph, stating “Autism can be preven
And as for the strong hinting that it’s basically the parents fault, nah just go and get stuffed
Some explanations of the very big problems of the story;
Read 5 tweets
20 Sep
Okay, there’s a bill being proposed here in Northern Ireland that will create a post called “The Autism Reviewer”.

I want that job. I want it I want it I want it.

Consider this thread my application to become the Autism Reviewer.

#AutismReviewer Image
Firstly, business card.

“Ryan Hendry, Autism Reviewer”.

I’d be firing them at people left right and centre.

Literally walk into a room, and just make it rain with business cards.
First order of business, hand dryers in toilets, banned, instantly.

Waste of money, the noise is intolerable, and paper towels do the job just as well.
Read 50 tweets
16 Sep
Hi Folks
I have decided to set up a Patreon Page, in order to allow me to continue my advocacy work and hopefully allow me to continue doing what I do.

The link can be found below;


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.
Read 9 tweets
16 Sep
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.
Read 18 tweets
26 Aug
🧵 #StopSpectrum10K

The Co-Principal Investigator of #Spectrum10k is a man called Daniel Geschwind.

Now, Daniel is a “distinguished Professor of Human Genetics, Neurology and Psychiatry at UCLA

I’m going to quote from his bio here.


“He guided development of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, founded by Cure Autism Now, and now a program of Autism Speaks.”

So the man in charge of integrity for this study has worked for ‘Cure Autism Now’.

Well, that’s pretty explicit what his goal is.

Here’s another;

“His work focuses on identifying genetic factors that cause ASD and then using this knowledge to understand the mechanism of the disease.”



He views Autism as a disease.

Read 18 tweets
26 Aug
I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as demoralised as I have done over the past 48 hours.

A lot of us have raised a lot of concerns we have with this Genetic project, and lots of us have a genuine fear as to where this is going to lead.

And we’ve been ignored
Attempts to have our concerns addressed have been rebuffed. I’ve watched very close friends get attacked and derided simply for saying they are scared about where this project will go.
I’ve watched friends and colleagues try and explain the issues in this project, only to be swatted away and told “stop being silly” or that it’s none of their concern.
Read 7 tweets
24 Aug
Well, I guess I have to say something about this.

Personally, an organisation wanting to collect the DNA of thousands of Autistic People for the purposes of ‘research’ has set off alarm bells in a lot of ways for me.
I don’t know much about academia, so I’m not going to talk about that, as there are others much more qualified than me who can do that. I just want to talk about my perception of this.
Anything that will help improve the lives of Autistic People, I’ll always be interested in. So I’m interested in this. But my interest is tempered by previous experience.
Read 8 tweets
23 Aug
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.
Read 8 tweets
6 May
Anyway, now I’ve done the promotion, I just want to explain why I’m so happy to see this come together and why I’m so happy to be involved.

When I was at school, this sort of mentoring programme would genuinely have changed my life.
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.
Read 11 tweets
6 May
*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!
For a bit more info and to apply, check out specialisterneni.com/connect4/ , if you are interested.

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.
Read 6 tweets