All about April (or an alternative to awareness)

April is fast approaching. For me April means a lot of things, many of them difficult. In 2007 the United Nations specified 2 April as ‘World Autism Awareness Day’ presumably from good intentions. I am unsure how many autistic people were consulted in this but from what April seems to represent I suspect it was not a great many.

In April I always think of puzzle pieces and lighting things up blue and people talking about how ‘tragic’ autism is, how it ‘wrecks families’ and how autistic people are ‘burdens’. Inject a bit of cure talk and that very unhelpful concept of an ‘autism epidemic’ and that – as far as I perceive it – is April. I know few autistic people who look forward to April. I have a friend whose hair is usually blue but in April he dyes it pink so as not to be associated with ‘light it up blue’ (more about that later). 

I have been doing advocacy since the medieval period (or so it seems) and so I have seen a lot of things change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. However, I have seen changes in thinking which are very promising. I am involved with an autism organisation which is neurotypical-run. I bit the bullet the other day and called and asked if they needed me to do anything for April. I must admit I was quite surprised when the staff member said ’oh we are more thinking of doing something for Autistic pride Day on 18 June’. 

Much more frequently these days I see articles in the media about neurodiversity. I see a LOT of other advocates doing amazing work and I see the beginnings of the mainstreaming of attitudes which were once considered radical. These are good things but we are not ’there’ yet by any means.

I attended an event not very long ago for an autism organisation which no longer exists. I was an influencer for this group – Well I thought I was. I said to them could we not go blue for April but instead go rainbow or gold. (For those who don’t  know, the ‘light it up blue’ campaign is closely associated with an organisation called Autism Speaks which has been very vocal in saying pretty much the opposite of all the things autistic advocates tend to think. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of autistic people I have met who were OK with the messaging from this organisation,  I believe  that this organisation may be changing their focus gradually but they have been a very problematic presence for some time). Anyway, the organisation I was part of agreed not to do blue but when I attended their event all the balloons were blue and there was a huge blue cake. It was as if I never said anything! 

This kind of invalidation and tokenism is something I tend to associate with April *although of course it can happen in any month). It’s like it is done on behalf of autistic people with little for no input on what we actually want and need!

A part of the April thing which needs attention is the concept of ‘autism awareness.’ I am not alone in strongly disliking this. Awareness as a stand alone concept is meaningless. A bully is ‘aware’ their victim is different and it doesn’t stop them bullying. In fact that awareness may well be the excuse the bully uses to attack their victim! What does being aware of autism even mean? It doesn’t suggest understanding and could simply mean someone knows there are autistic people  in the world. 

Despite all this, myself and other advocates can have a busy schedule in April. A lot of my work in April involves dispelling the myths and misconceptions, which is actually a useful – if rather tiring – thing to do. This year I have some really lovely events planned. I am doing a book launch thing for Graeme Simsion alongside fellow autistic author Clem Bastow and then I am going to Brisbane for the Autism Cooperative Research Centre participant day where I will be among great friends – autistic and allistic alike. I then go off to Sydney for an awards night where hopefully I will see lots of autistic people getting awards for doing great things. I also have a presentation with Neurotribes author Steve Silberman and the I CAN Network CEO Chris Varney which will be recorded but aired in April. I’m also  doing a podcast which is a bit secret squirrel so I won’t say what it is but it will be cool. I think this rather silly amount of activities will be much less stressful than just doing one event where presenters’ thinking is counter to the needs and wishes of autistic people and I am actually looking forward to going to four states in four days! 

One thing about April is it tests my sense of what my message is and it forces me to evaluate where things are up to, inclusion-wise. As events go, autism day is like the canary in the mine. Each year it has happened I have seen differences, sometimes large but often subtle. It reminds me that the future is not a given. It is not set in stone. If advocates and genuine allies do not speak up things will revert to an awful past and all those gains we have fought for will need to be fought for all over again. So while April makes me cringe and dread the media articles that my role as an advocate means I have to read, I also look at it as a time to stake stock of what I am doing and ensure I am working to empower and liberate. 

So happy autism acceptance, respect, value, kindness, love, understanding, empowerment (and awareness) day.   

I don't want 'Autism Awareness' for April. I want Autism acceptance, understanding, empowerment, respect, love, value and inclusion. Can we have that?

Why did we do what we do? Motivation and the autism world

A conversation I had online the other day got me thinking about motivation: why do we do what we do? And does someone’s good work eclipse a less than pure motivation? I am someone who does a lot of work in the community and, while much of the time I am motivated by altruism and the wish to make a difference (i think!), sometimes I am motivated by a wish for approval or recognition. This bothers me. I have found myself on occasion thinking I would be a better fit for a presentation than the person who was asked to do it or getting excited when my face is used to promote something   also featuring other people. I actually like recognition and find it energises me. However after considerable soul-searching I have arrived at the conclusion that my approach is OK. Well OK conditional on me not promoting myself ahead of others, getting jealous of others or only doing things because they have a recognition element attached. 

I think I am doing reasonably well in this area, with some need for improvement. I’m not a saint! I actually think my liking of recognition can have a positive impact on my work reaching and hopefully helping more people. This is because when I do something helpful and get acknowledged with a thank you then it encourages me to do more of the same. I imagine if, when every time i did something I received harsh criticism or even indifference, it would discourage me from continuing to do what I do!

Enough about me and my moral dilemmas though. What about others? I think every variant of motivation is exhibited in the autism world. Some people have what I consider an actively negative motivation – promoting damaging ‘therapies’ and selling snake-oil ‘cures’. Preying on vulnerable families, kids and parents in order to earn a buck. Then there are people whose only reason for being involved in the autism sphere seems to be to make money. Of course we live in a capitalist country and so this is OK and legal but I find it hard to engage with people for whom my closely-held Autistic identity is seen only as a means for profit. Then there are people who think they are helping but, to my mind at least, probably aren’t. Then there are those who want to make a difference for a variety of reasons – autistic  advocates, non-autistic parents, partners and other sorts of allies, academics and researchers, businesses and mangers employing autistic  people and peak organisations. Each of these groups – and the individuals within them – will have different motivations.

In my own life, I sometimes come up against people who think they are doing positive things but who I strongly disagree with and have grave concerns that what they are doing is actually harmful to autistic people. An example would be those promoting ‘therapies’ based on forcing autistic kids to seem less autistic, e.g. autism conversion therapies. People doing this – as practitioners or parents sending their kids off to this untherapeutic ‘therapy’ – often think that they are doing the right thing. This feeling is often a  genuine thing for them – they believe they are doing right, even if chances are they are not. Imagine someone saying to you that your motivations are wrong? I find it often takes time for people in this situation to come around – if they do. When I argue against those people I usually depersonalise it and argue about the ideas. It is unlikely to change their thinking but will enable me to have a conversation that others may see and it plants a seed in their mind – hopefully!  Because of my past experiences I am a very patient person. Given how awful and unethical I was in the past and that I changed, I don’t ever want to write someone off straight away. I like to imagine that we are all on a journey at different points and I can maybe influence people through my experiences to help them get a bit further along on their own journey. Of course some people have intentionally negative motivations and there is little point engaging them in conversation. If Andrew Wakefield wanted to engage me in conversation, for example, I would tell him to go away (probably not using those words!!)

I think most people in our community are motivated by wanting to genuinely help autistic people to navigate life better but not everyone is on the same page about how to do that. My framework for this sort of things is:

  • Autistic people and our thoughts, experiences and needs need to be at the centre of every act and decision 
  • Autistic people need to be involved in any decision-making on anything which impacts us 
  • Anything which tries to turn us into something we are not (e.g. conversion therapies) is not good and not OK 
  • Outcomes need to benefit autistic people 
  • If autistic people are involved in a for profit activity or process they need to be paid accordingly 
  • Within advocacy, some ego can be a positive element driving people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t but it needs to take a back seat to altruism, respect and the need to make change. 

I think that the aim of leadership should be to create more leaders

Whimsy Manor manifesto

This is, well a bit of a whimsical look at what I like and want to see, packaged as a manifesto.

At Whimsy Manor we are all for:

  • Autistic pride and neurodiversity everywhere!
  • Art in all its forms 
  • Poetry, pushing the boundaries and shining a light on the world 
  • Decorating the walls like a gallery exploded
  • Music – sad songs, radical songs, folk songs and anything by Mozart
  • Equity, respect, inclusion and justice for everyone 
  • “Different not less”
  • Work and more work and more work….
  • Movie night!
  • Friends and family – especially family of choice 
  • CATS!!!!
  • Diversity and respect
  • Stimming and shiny things, glitter and sequins
  • The rainbow wig and its wiggy friends
  • Being Queer and being Proud
  • Autistic people being empowered and in charge of our lives  
  • The medication which makes the mental illness manageable 
  • Kindness. Lots of it
  • Coffee 
  • Comedy which empowers and critiques the status quo
  • “Nice things” 
  • Kids having a positive and enjoyable life free from trauma and other things which kids should never have to experience 
  • Everyone having a voice, including  those who do not use verbal speech
  • Love and then some more love 
  • Leaving the world better than it was when you arrived
  • Freedom – in the physical, emotional and every sense 
  • The opportunity to write
  • The opportunity to give presentations 
  • Autistic and neurodivergent peers, colleagues and friends 
  • Actually neurotypical peers, colleagues and friends as well
  • Gender diversity and gender fluidity and a world free from bigotry
  • The opportunity to change the world for the better 
  • Art. Did I already say that?
  • Seeing the beauty in people’s character 
  • A home for recharging the batteries, energy and ‘spoons’. 

And Mr Kitty is all for

  • Cat food
  • The Human
  • Cat food
  • Sleeping
  • Sunny spots
  • Cat food
  • Cat food.   

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Why Pride matters (and why Yenn enjoyed Mardi Gras so much)

Yesterday I did something I have wanted to do since I knew it was possible. I marched in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras alongside around 30 other Autistic people and allies. The group I was with was Aspect / Autism Spectrum Australia. I have wanted to have – and be part of – an autistic presence at Mardi Gras for many years and I finally got to do it. It more than lived up to expectations. In fact it counts as one of the best things I have ever one. I am writing this and getting positive flashbacks from last night – the cheers of the crowd, being amongst friends and sharing their happiness, giving high fives from the spectators including getting a high five from a police officer! It was an incredible night. This is why.

I grew up in the 1980s. Being any kind of non-heterosexual sexuality or being gender diverse were things which many people hid. Homophobia was rife. In my later years of high school I overheard some of the boys saying they were going ‘poofter bashing’. There seemed to be a lot more hate than love. People were so often in the closet because it simply wasn’t safe to be out. I had friends in town who were a lesbian couple. They were older than me. They were out to a very small number of people. I came out as gay in year 12 – finding it hard to keep such a big part of me secret form those I loved. As an out teen I received a lot of hatred and bigotry including physical violence on a few occasions. I didn’t understand this hatred. Who I chose to sleep with surely had no impact on my classmates.

At this time I did not know I was autistic. I had tried for years to ‘fit in’ and be socially accepted but it never seemed to work. I was a hated and bullied teen. I was so damaged by bullying that I hated myself. This was the case for many years. I had no concept of pride in who I was. Autistic pride would have seemed a joke to me then. I was desperate to be accepted and ‘act normal’ (however one is supposed to do that! I never figured it out.) So the world of my formative years was not a supportive or respectful one.  

Gender, sexuality, neurodivergence. These things are an integral part of a person. These are things which go to our very being so the fact that there is hatred and bigotry for these reasons is particularly awful. If some one hated your shirt it would presumably be unpleasant but easy enough to brush off but when someone hates your very essence, well  that is dangerous.

Pride – Queer, Autistic, Disabled, pride in belonging to any oppressed group, these are positive things. They are in fact things which challenge oppression. We are given messaging that we shouldn’t be proud and that we should hate ourselves and be ashamed to exist. This internalised hatred is a key part of oppression. So when oppressed people own their difference and speak of pride and respect then this is a radical and wonderful thing.

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The initial Sydney Mardi Gras was a protest. It was 1978, a year when homosexuality was still illegal and considered a mental illness. Those activists literally fighting in 1978 have given us what we have now in terms of pride so respect is due them in a big way. Things are very different now largely because in the past people were willing to stand up and be counted. I mentioned to a friend last night that I loved how mainstream Mardi Gras is. How the City of Sydney put up rainbow things everywhere, how there were possibly hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets and cheering, how people smiled at me on the train in my rainbow wig and sequin shoes.

While the mainstreaming of Mardi Gras demonstrates a shift in societal thinking, there is still a lot more to be done. I want to see a world where everyone feels that they can be out – for sexuality, gender, neurodivergence – anything we are so frequently forced to hide away. A world where we don’t need a celebration like Mardi Gras because there is no bigotry and hate would be my goal but as it is, Mardi Gras is a great and necessary thing, a means of promoting pride and diversity and respect. It is also a whole load of fun and a great atmosphere. I think it would be impossible for me to have not been happy last night.

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It was quite emotional yesterday. I did a lot of high fiving the crowd and they were so enthusiastically cheering our Autistic group. To be there in the eyes of the world, being gender diverse, queer, Autistic and proud and being cheered on by thousands of people…well it was pretty special. At one point I felt quite overwhelmed with positive emotion. One of this moments where the world is so poignant and beautiful it just takes you over.

Pride is such an important concept for us. Pride challenges and changes society’s views and also changes our views of ourselves. I used to be ashamed of being me, especially when it came to my autism. To confidently and proudly say ‘I am Autistic Queer and proud’ banishes a lot of my own demons while giving a message to the world which can change people’s perception. The Mardi Gras parade is filmed by SBS. I hadn’t intended to speak to media but they waved a microphone at me and, with great emotion, I said ‘We are Aspect. We are Autistic, Queer and very proud. Thank you.’  I think that sums it up.

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Banishing the impostor – Managing self-doubt

The last week I have spent in a bit of a state. I had a couple of speaking  gigs cancel – not because of me, just because, and this was coupled with a perception by me that not many organisations were contacting me with speaking and other work. Was it my new name meaning they couldn’t find me? Not likely as my wonderful web designer Barb made sure that my old web address works even if you type in YennPurkis.com. Was it something more sinister? Was every autism organisation and university really transphobic / transprejudiced  and didn’t want an openly gender diverse person speaking for their events? Given the way my coming out has been received very positively by almost everyone that also seemed a little unlikely. Was I unable to deliver the goods any more? Had I lost my touch? Was I just the most tedious character and nobody wanted me working for them any more? 

The reason for the problem was something  entirely different. The reason for the problem had little to do with my work and a lot more to do with my self-perception. The concern around speaking gigs was  manifestation of a depressive state which was compounded by impostor syndrome and self-doubt, qualities of which I have a large amount! I found myself checking my emails constantly, disappointed every time there were no emails asking me to give a presentation. It got quite extreme and I was thinking self-destructive thoughts, and then thinking that would be the most nonsensical reason for self-destruction “didn’t get any speaking gigs”. At that point I realised it was something beyond my work and needed more than a couple of requests to be on a focus group or speaker panel to address. This was something in my psyche that was focussed on me not liking and valuing myself.

In the past few years I have been called a lot of very positive – and quite superlative – things: Autism world royalty, thought leader, game changer, rock star, that sort of thing. It never makes sense to me. My self-perception is very poor. I always say a little prayer before I go onstage and it is never a prayer for greatness. Instead it is a prayer to not screw up the presentation! So the perception of others who love my talks and my own perception are very different.

True to type I have been sharing my struggles with insecurity online. A few people suggested past trauma might be responsible, and I suspect they have a point. I had a very difficult start to life and lots of people gave me messaging that I was worthless. In fact when I started to change my life and become an autism advocate I was driven by the need to prove that I was not worthless, particularly to my parents (who I might add never demanded anything like that and were happy enough with me gong to university. I didn’t need to become the Prime mInister in their eyes but I sort of felt like I did).

When I realised my anxiety and feelings of worthlessness related to low mood I got into action. I have a whole book for of mental health strategies (I wrote it with Dr Emma Goodall and Dr Jane Nugent and its called The Guide to Good Mental Health on the Autism Spectrum. It literally is all my strategies written down with a bunch of other useful stuff. Sadly I don’t have a spare copy at the moment!!) I also contacted some of my friends and walked through what was happening for me with them. It was great to have the chance to share stories about this kind of thing as it helped me to feel less alone. As often happens with my mental health issues, once I figure out what the problem is I can start to address it. I can report tat today I am feeling quite  a lot better, mostly thanks to my friends and my own ability to be self-aware and put in place strategies to help alleviate mood issues.

Some strategies which ca address this kind of mood issues and insecurity are:

  • Logical thinking can help although it usually needs some backup from emotional strategies and depression isn’t logical I find
  • Accessing friends, positive family members and networks. You don’t even need to talk about the issue. Just being around people who you care about and care about you can have a huge impact 
  • Distraction, distraction, distraction! This means doing something engaging that you enjoy to take you mind off your mood. This one is used in a number of therapy models and is the gold standard according to a lot of people, including me. You can use different distractions and make a list if you like
  • Do something nice for yourself
  • Do something you are good at. This can help banish those self-doubts
  • Ask a friend or someone you trust for a reality check. Tell them what you are worried about and see what their perspective is. It is likely to be very different form yours
  • If this works for you and you feel the need of it, get some professional help. There are some great counsellors and psychologists who can support you and help you with your thinking.

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Autism = Strengths

I just got back to my hotel after an all day event for Yellow Ladybugs (one of my favourite organisations), talking about mental health, autism and women and girls. One of the other speakers, Clem, related how her autism is at the heart of her strengths. This seems like it should be an obvious concept but I think it is one that people do not always keep in mind when in interacting with autistic people, yet it is close to the heart of neurodiversity.

While it isn’t  possible to sort the autistic ‘bits’ from an autistic person and identify which of them result in their skills, autistic people do have a lot of skills that they almost certainly have as part of being autistic and that this is a world-changing notion.

Imagine a small child who has just been diagnosed as autistic. Their life might all of a sudden because quite medicalised and pathologised. Words like ‘’resistant’’, ‘obsessive’, ‘fixated’ and ‘atypical’ might be used. If that child has prodigious skills in area – as autistic people often do – the skills may well be dismissed as obsessive interests and things or something that isn’t much use to the child. The idea of ‘so what’ skills might be evoked – skills which are apparently ‘meaningless’ despite the fact that they are extremely meaningful for the autistic individual. In fact these skills may be extremely useful for the wider world but when someone is seen only or mostly through the lens of deficits, their skills are much more likely to be discounted, 

If you look at autistic adults who have done things that the wider world considers impressive, these ‘impressive’ skills are so frequently based in autism. There is a whole world of autistic experience based in strengths and talents, often based in passions and interests.

My areas of great skill are in the area of creativity – which is quite common for autistics. My autobiography was the first serious piece of writing I ever did. It took me four weeks to draft, two weeks and edit and was taken up by the first publisher I sent it to. I have never been to a class or read an article on how to write a book. I simply decided to write one and did it. Visual art is another skill of mine. I can pick up any art medium and make a meaningful, heartfelt picture using it. I have some strong musical ability – although in the talented rather than prodigious range – and anyone who has seen me on stage might think that public speaking is another of my skills. I have not really done much training in public speaking but it comes naturally to me. I also have some skills in caring and supporting others. All my skills are related to my autism – largely because I am autistic and they are my skills! 

Skills and strengths can come along as part of our experience, but they can be squashed or discouraged. Kids and young people with a great love or passion for a topic my be discouraged from talking about it and be shut down. This can in some cases lead to people giving up their passion despite the fact that their passion may encourage their deepest and most valuable skills. In some cases autistic people have only negative expectations placed on them meaning they often they internalise self-hate and negativity. They may not even feel able to do things they enjoy, and their strengths may be hidden. The attitudes of others around our skills and strengths can determine how we approach them – if we are encouraged then we are likely to keep on developing that strength but if we are shut down we might feel unable to engage in our strength and the world may lose the opportunity to benefit from it.

One of the most important things is fostering a sense of self-worth and pride in the strengths of autistics people and for people to view them as useful for the world. Instead of viewing skills as a ‘so what’ or ‘useless’ skill, make connections with areas where that skill is valuable. It doesn’t need to be hard. You don’t have to think too laterally to see the value of writing skills or coding, for example. I see it as requiring a tweak of thinking on the part of allistic people more than anything else and that tweak is the very important tweak which says ‘different not less.’ If people viewed the strengths and skills of autism and autistic people as a bonus and not an obsession or a useless skill then autistic people would almost certainly have more opportunity to share and appreciate our what we can do. This is a great way for us too feel good about ourselves too. 

To me our strengths are a fulfilment of my message and the message of so many others talk gin about autistic pride and empowerment. For if autism were all deficits and disability then our skills and strengths would not be possible. Just look at the value autistic people can bring to the workplace where their different perspectives and approaches make such a difference. Many companies now seek out autistic talent for this reason. Neurodiversity presents a world where skills are not subject to negative judgement, and where autistic people’s  skills are seen for the immense value they bring for us and everyone else. D0DeWk3VsAA_VPi 

 Me doing my thing this afternoon. 

Neurodivergence, inclusion and why I don’t celebrate International Aspergers Day

Yesterday (or today depending on where you live) was International Asperger’s Day. It is not a day I celebrate for a number of reasons, many of which are outlined in this post. 

I was asked to join an online group last year which had the term ‘Asperger’s’ prominently displayed. The questions the group admins needed me to answer to gain entry to this apparently prestigious club were all centred on the idea that there is a clear difference between ‘Asperger’s’ and ‘autism’ and the emphasis was on basically them not wanting to be included with ‘those autistics’. Horrified I deleted the request and advised the person who asked me to join that this was not an approach I would ever take.

It seemed amazing to me that at this point in history people wee thinking this way. These kinds of ideas were percolating around when the diagnostic manual the DSM 5 was being introduced a few years ago. As someone who had the Asperger’s diagnosis under the DSM IV I thought about how I wanted to describe myself and very soon after the change of diagnostic manuals I decided to identify as autistic not Asperger’s in keeping with both the new diagnostic label and my feeling that separatism was not going to serve our community well and besides it was elitist, mean and rude. 

The ideas of neurodiversity and neurodivergence are not new but I have seen great usage of them  in recent times rather than using specific diagnostic terms like autism or ADHD. Similarly to those of us in the autistic community when the DSM 5 and its changed diagnoses came in, we now get to think about how we describe ourselves in relation to others with similar but different experiences. Lately I keep finding myself writing ‘autistic people’ and then realise that what I refer to relates to people with other neurodivergences than autism alone. I feel it is a matter of inclusion. If something is experienced by people from a number of different neurodiverse groups, I feel it is often better to says neurodivergent rather than list the different diagnostic labels which whatever is being discussed applies too.

For those who haven’t  come across the term, neurodiversity is based in the idea that all humans have differently wired brains. People who are neurodivergent have brains which are ‘wired differently’ to the typical neurology. This is not a deficit or something ‘wrong’ but it is a difference to the ‘neurotypical’ majority. The idea of ‘different, not less’ is firmly based in ideas of neurodiversity, The neurodiversity movement works to address the disparities and discrimination against neurodivergent people. And neurodivergence definitely doesn’t relate only to autistic experience.

I must admit that up until quite recently when I thought about neurodiversity I only really conceptualised that as being an autistic experience  but of course that is far from the truth. Some experiences relate only to autistics, some things only to people with dyslexia or those with dyspraxia etc. but where there are commonalities I like the idea of capturing them within the umbrella of neurodivergence.

There is also the fact that many neurodiverse people have a number of neurodivergences. For example I am currently in the process of being assessed for ADHD (OK, I am just starting out but that still counts as being in the process!). I know a number of autistic people who also have a diagnosis of ADHD or ADD, dyslexia, dyspraxia or other things. 

Not everyone will agree with my approach of course and, as so many of us had to when the autism diagnostic label was changed, this is something people will need to consider where it relates to them.

I may be wrong but I think the current focus on neurodivergence rather than specific diagnostic descriptors  is a relatively new thing. As such it is an evolving understanding. I love evolving understandings because there is so much opportunity to find a way forward into an inclusive and respectful space. I tend to think that the concept of diagnosis is quite fraught anyway when talking about neurodiversity. I mean I know in current society we need to have a diagnosis in order to access the necessary services and supports but I don’t think I have a ‘disorder’ at all. I’m not broken and neither are my neurodivergent peers.  My ‘disorder’ is based in living in world that struggles – and sometimes completely fails – to understand or respect me a lot of the time. My disability is very much from the social model more than the medical model. A world full of Yenn Purkises would be a functioning world, just a bit of a different world from the one we have now. I am always aware when speaking of diagnostic labels that in a better world our diversity would not be so pathologised and that neurodivergence to me is more a sort of cultural linguistic thing than a deficits thing. If allistic folks l learned our ‘language’ a lot of the issues would cease to be issues.

So if we accept that diagnosis and disorders are a problematic concept and that the things which disable us are frequently nothing to do with any deficits on our part and are more due to a world which doesn’t understand us…well that suggests to me that a focus on what different neurodivergent people share rather than our differences is a good place to focus in order to make change and support one another to live our potential. 

So I am Yenn and I am neurodivergent and proud. 

We do so much better united than divided