I’ve just finished hosting our virtual picnic for Autistic Pride Day, and wanted to share a few reflections.
Wow, just wow.
Where to start? So many great things to say. First, a big thank you to Kate Fox, who chaired a panel discussion and Q&A superbly, before quickly swapping hats to come back and perform three of her wonderful poems. Absolutely top work. Signed copies of Kate’s latest collection, The Oscillations, are available online at Forum Books and from The Bound Bookshop in Whitley Bay.
And then there was our panel, Becki Parker (aka Autistic Dancer), Claire Hussey and Matthew Moon. They eloquently offered personal insight into living with neurodiversity. Thoughtful, expressive and honest. They certainly made me listen and reflect.
What did I learn?
Not a lot, to be honest. I already knew many of the key points – we too often see the diagnosis, not the person. We treat people as one group rather than as individuals. We need to be more flexible, offer people more options to suit the way they think, more time, more clarity. But it’s one thing knowing these things and it’s another hearing from people directly about how neuronormative demands and expectations impact their lives, their wellbeing, their opportunities.
It reminded me that I must try harder. We all must try harder to question the systems we employ, the buildings we build, the assumptions we make, the jobs we design.
If this god-awful pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we can do things differently, when we need to. We can be agile, we can pivot, when we need to. Well, if we want to make life better for neurodivergent people, if we want them to enjoy the same human rights, if we want to benefit from their brilliant minds and talents, then we need to.
Oh, I need to correct myself. I learnt two things today. One, we have an autistic dancer who can speak as gracefully as she dances. Two, I can scoff a Greggs Mexican chicken sandwich in exactly the time it takes Kate Fox to perform three poems.
Happy Autistic Pride Day! 😁
You will find our future events listed on our Events page.
Image: Becki Parker (@AutisticDancer1)