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 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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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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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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How to Raise ACTUAL Autism Awareness
Nov30

How to Raise ACTUAL Autism Awareness

Remember when we all changed our profile pictures to ribbons, and it cured cancer? No, me neither.     The phrase “raising awareness” gets banded around on the internet a lot these days. It’s an extremely well-known idea and if you find the right cause, half the world can jump on board. It can even be as simple as taking the right selfie or pouring water over your head. On the one hand, such online crazes can make enormous...

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200 things to love about life
Sep28

200 things to love about life

Occasionally, people ask me how I recovered from the depression and anxiety I suffered up until last year.   Perhaps I’ll write a full article about it one day. (Edit- since writing this, I actually did.) But the short answer was two very important things: Knowing that even if my own life sucked a bit, life itself was still beautiful. Finding a ton of tiny but beautiful things about life I appreciated, and clinging onto them....

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How hard can it be to fund a school for disabled children?
May12

How hard can it be to fund a school for disabled children?

  I’ve often heard that you can judge a whole society on how it treats its most vulnerable. And I’m not going to reinforce that sentence with anything. You’re all bright enough to draw your own conclusions from it. Just keep it in mind while you read the rest of this article.   Funding in special schools is a sore point for many people. Personally I once lost a job in special education because the school, built to help...

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