Why do autistic people need to write about autism?

writingThe answer to this is an easy one – if you want to know about autism what better way to find out than to talk to someone who is autistic? You can read all the books by non-autistics you like, but all you will find is people trying to get in to the autistic mind.  Well myself, and my fellow autistic writers don’t need to try, we are already here. Not to try and blow my own trumpet as the saying goes, but no one will give you sharper, and better insights in to the autistic mind than us autistic people.  There are a few things to clear up here though: firstly, yes, we can give you insights in to our own mind, but it is true that we sometimes need help.  I have been hepled by non-autistic people to deal with issues relating to my autism, and sometimes being able to take an objective outside view point can help a lot.  So when it comes to advice on how to deal with autism issues non-autistic people can have perfectly valid, and important things to say.  But there are times when you should take the advice of autistic people over non-autistic people.  An example of this would be when it comes to autistic` behavior`.  Everybody has `behaviours`, and every piece of autistic` behavior` means something.  However odd and pointless it might look, it will have some use and meaning to the autistic person.  A lot of non-autistic people will advise otherwise, and try and come up with ways of getting rid of things such as stimming.  Whereas if you talk to autistic people we will explain to you how we might want some level of control over when or where we stim, but we do not want to cut it out of our lives.  There would be no point to this; we do them and there is a point to them, so why would we want to cut them out of our lives?  In cases like this what you need to do is hear what autistic people are saying, and listen to this above what a non-autistic person might tell you.

A second thing to think about is that not all people with autism are able to write, or even say how they feel about things.  They might be non-verbal, or not have the skills to write down their feelings and thoughts.  But we need to make sure that a small core of autistic people don’t end up speaking for everyone on the spectrum.  Or atleast that they speak for the spectrum, and not just for, and about themselves. To do this we need to take the time to find out what everyone on the spectrum feels, and thinks, and put this out in our writing.  Someone may be non-verbal, but that does not have to mean they can not write or type.  And in fact there are a lot of good writers out there who have never been able to speak, but can write extremely well about what it is like to be non-verbal and about the aspects of it outsiders could never explain.  A lot of parents do say when they read a blog or article by someone else who is non-verbal that it opened their eyes to their own child, or loved one.  And showed them what they might be thinking, or feeling and how aware the person is of the world around them. This is of course a good thing, and the more insight people can get in to their loved ones the better.

I have read things written by other autistic people that have helped me understand more about myself, and my autism.  And that’s just it; autistic people writing about autism does not just help non-autistic people to get a good insight in to autism – it also helps other autistic people.  I find – and I know I am not alone – that something written about autism by an autistic will always have more of an impact, and more relevance to me than something written by a non-autistic.  Again this is not meant to insult anyone, or say you can only write about autism if you are autistic, as that would be silly.  All I am saying is that there can never be enough autistic people writing, or putting their views out there in whatever way possible.