Recently, as an actually autistic adult and advocate, I was invited to a series of meetings (currently ongoing) as part of a strategy panel for my local borough. The panel assesses how various branches of the local ‘system’ work, and if they are accessible for autistic adults. We discuss healthcare, housing, education, work, and any other relevant topic to being a living breathing human that you can think of.
The panel was created as a result of a suggestion that a new organisation specifically for autistic people in the community was needed, but this would have meant another hoop to jump through and another set of professionals who were not directly in touch with other professionals. Autistic people do not need to be coddled, we need accessibility to even the playing field between us and our neurotypical peers. By creating a panel, we can revise how autistic people can better access each individual service that already exists, and give them tailored advice as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ information guide.
I will go into more detail in separate blog posts about each meeting and the outcomes and responses to the topic in hand.
At one such meeting designing a logo for the panel was brought up, as was the infamous jigsaw puzzle piece, which I quickly went on to note was extremely unpopular with the autistic community, given its negative ties to Autism $peaks as well as ABA organisations and a whole host of other negative connotations. This shocked many of the professionals on the panel; they simply had no access to a real autistic community and as a result were under the impression that the puzzle piece logo was universally popular. I mentioned that I could put it to our community to have a very brief brainstorm about possible ideas, so I’m going to follow up with a link to a survey I have created. It is extremely brief and anonymous but I’m welcome to all suggestions and ideas so I have something to relay to the panel. Thanks everyone!