When you’re “not allowed” to have mental health issues
Apr22

When you’re “not allowed” to have mental health issues

Officially, I’ve had mental health issues since 2013. Or at least, that’s when the therapy started. I might have had mental health issues from childhood. It’s difficult to tell, because so much of it just felt normal.   When I look back, the reason I never sought professional help was because it was for “other people”. As a child in the 1990s, I thought mental health was about “people going crazy”. As a...

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Bridging the Gap Between Autistic Adults and Autism Parents
Feb26

Bridging the Gap Between Autistic Adults and Autism Parents

Sometimes, the internet is toxic. That’s no secret. And that extends everywhere, even in the autism world.   You’d think the community (namely autistic adults and parents of autistic children) would be pretty close-knit, right? After all, we’re all impacted by an issue that requires compassion and understanding from others. And autism can feel extremely isolating, so common ground can feel like hallowed ground. But unfortunately,...

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I just found out I’m autistic. What do I do now?
Feb19

I just found out I’m autistic. What do I do now?

When I first found out I was autistic, I didn’t take it well. (Spoiler alert- things have changed a lot since then.)   I remember my conflicting response to having the news broken to me: the cross between relief that there was an explanation for my ‘weirdness’, and the grief of knowing I’d never be ‘normal’ like I was ‘supposed’ to be (back in the days when I thought becoming normal would actually be a good thing). On top of...

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I asked my followers to share the most ridiculous “autism causes” they’d ever heard. Brace yourselves.
Jan17

I asked my followers to share the most ridiculous “autism causes” they’d ever heard. Brace yourselves.

Once in a while, I invite Autistic Not Weird’s Facebook community  to contribute to my articles. Most of the time, the results are either funny, informative, or actually worth publishing in a book. [All links open in new tabs, by the way.] But this time round, I went with something different. And I never thought the phrase “hilariously depressing” would apply to anything on Autistic Not Weird… but I asked my followers for the most...

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My response to “you’re not REALLY autistic, are you?”
Jan08

My response to “you’re not REALLY autistic, are you?”

I went through most my teaching career without talking about my Asperger Syndrome. I imagined every negative outcome; people questioning my ability to teach, children in my class wondering what was ‘wrong’ with me, parents asking the headteacher why they’d knowingly hire a teacher with a disorder, and so on. But the reaction I perhaps feared most was belittlement. You see, it takes a great deal of courage to open up about issues that...

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Five Tips for Handling Low Self-Esteem and Worthlessness
Nov23

Five Tips for Handling Low Self-Esteem and Worthlessness

This is a big one, guys. And it’s time for me to stop procrastinating and face my past. Those who have known me for a while will know that I have a fair amount of experience with low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, lack of belonging and negative self-perception. So this is another article I didn’t want to write, purely for personal reasons. But in my experience, they tend to be the most useful. (And if 11 Diary Entries From My...

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We need to stop saying “we’re all a little autistic”
Oct02

We need to stop saying “we’re all a little autistic”

A few years ago, I was the only diagnosed autistic staff member in a special school. The rest of the staff weren’t autistic, but many jokingly claimed to be. “Oh, that must be my autism,” some would say as they parked their car in the same space each morning. (Meanwhile, I just parked wherever was easiest.) “Yep, that’s my autism right there,” others would say as they tidied up the staff room in a very specific manner. (Meanwhile, the...

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Asperger Syndrome and Religion: Reconciling Logic with Faith
Sep24

Asperger Syndrome and Religion: Reconciling Logic with Faith

‘I just can’t understand how someone with a maths degree and a brain like yours can believe in God’, a relative said to me once. Oddly enough, this was years before either of us learned about my Asperger Syndrome. But even back then, it felt like I wasn’t ‘supposed’ to have religious faith. To be fair, if you could design a stereotypical atheist it would probably look like me. In terms of gender, age bracket, ethnicity, level of...

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The balance between helping autistic people and doing it for them (and how to get it right)
Jun12

The balance between helping autistic people and doing it for them (and how to get it right)

During my work in special education, one story that really stuck with me involved a sixteen-year-old girl who came to us after a lifetime in mainstream schools. The most revealing moment of her first week came in an English lesson. She sat down with the rest of the class. The task was set and the other students began to work. But this girl did not.   Upon further investigation, this sixteen-year-old student was waiting for a...

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50 Pretty Big Facts About Autism
Apr30

50 Pretty Big Facts About Autism

After this album of pictures got over 3,000 shares on Autistic Not Weird’s Facebook page [all links open in new windows], I thought I’d upload them all here for your viewing pleasure! For those who are seeing these for the first time, I hope you find them useful.   (Important note- after Autistic Not Weird became so well-read that my articles were being stolen literally on a daily basis, I had to disable...

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