Inside Our Autistic Minds

I watched a new program ‘Inside Our Autistic Minds’ tonight, with my husband and our two boys. BBC Two – Inside Our Autistic Minds, Series 1, Episode 1

It was presented by the wonderful Chris Packham and featured two Autistic adults Flo and Murray, who share their lived experience of Autism.

I wanted our sons L (11) and H (8) to watch it with us so they would understand how lucky they are to have their Autism diagnosed in childhood.

I wanted them to see how uniquely individual and amazing Autistic people are.

I wanted them to understand that non speaking Autistic people have thoughts and feelings and hopes and fears and the right to be heard – that there are so many ways to communicate other than speaking!

I wanted them to understand why I love my job as an Autism trainer. Why I love helping other Autistic children and their families, so they can embrace their identities like we do in our family.

H needs to be constantly moving and challenging his vestibular sense to feel regulated. My husband gets a lot of exercise helping him achieve this!

L absolutely loved the program. He opened up about a few different things he experiences with stimming and with social communication – it makes me so proud how well he is learning to understand himself.

H kept asking ‘Mum, why are you crying?!’ When I explained I was feeling sad about my childhood growing up without an Autism diagnosis he said ‘Yes but why are you CRYING?!’ My very own little Mr Blunt still watched it to the end and said it was ‘quite good’.

My two favourite Autistic people in the Universe and the cat who walked with us.

I was crying because I was that little Autistic girl Flo described in the program. I grew up confused, feeling different, self loathing, not fitting in. Masking to try and make friends. Constantly overwhelmed and melting down only to be told I was mad or bad.

Unlike Flo, I didn’t have a loving mother to help me, to protect me, to guide me. My mother judged, she silenced, she punished, she manipulated. When I was eventually diagnosed Autistic at 42, my mother showed no empathy; no acceptance. It was just another reason to criticise me and undermine me so that ultimately, she could control me and control the way others saw me.

Chris Packham said Autistic women are 8 times as likely to commit suicide than non Autistic women. That is why I had to estrange from my mother following my Autism diagnosis at 42…because I knew I could not stay alive if she continued to be in my life. Perhaps my decision sounds extreme but there are thousands upon thousands of Autistic adults like me who grew up in persecution and choose to sever contact with their birth family to save themselves from further mistreatment, to protect their mental health.

In the program ‘Inside Our Autistic Minds’, Murray is blessed with the most knowledgeable, gentle, patient parents who are committed to helping him tell his story. It is so moving to see what parenting an Autistic person can be like, when you remove judgement and let go of neurotypical expectations.

If you haven’t watched ‘Inside Our Autistic Minds’ with Chris Packham, please do. It’s beautifully filmed and so informative. We are NOT a medical diagnosis, we just have differently wired brains that affect how we experience the World. We are a different type of human, but a human nonetheless.

A medical diagnosis of Autism is often missed or withheld unless there is obvious suffering and struggles. But ALL Autistic people should have the right to discover their neurodiversity. A diagnosis is about getting access to the rule book for our brains so we can live well and thrive. So that we can help others understand what is going on inside our Autistic minds.

Inside H’s mind is a thirst for thrill-seeking!

I sometimes joke to my husband or friends, that if they had to live inside my head for even an hour, they would run out screaming, forever traumatised! But in truth I love my different brain now I understand it. It is an honour to raise our sons to understand their Autistic minds and to see them already advocating for themselves at home and at school is my greatest achievement to date.

Authentically us. We share a mutual love of water and our happiest times are in and around it.

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