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We're in this together.

Sep 05, 2023

I had a close friend and colleague reach out to me about six months ago to ask how I'd feel about them writing a book on parenting neurodivergent children. They know that I'm also working on this (insert laughter coupled with PDA) and honestly?

I was pumped.

If we truly are working in advocacy, if we really want to be building collective capacity and supporting individuals and families, why would we not want as many books as possible out there written on autistic experience from autistic people?

Nobody can develop resources, programs, presentations, books and content on autism like autistic people can. It's our lived experience and story telling that provides another narrative that is so incredibly important.

This is why I employ neurodivergent parents of neurodivergent children.

It's why I spend time teaching others how to build private memberships. I even bring them into our paid spaces so they can see what we do, and go off and build their own space.

As a company, we donate to others who are in the startup phase of building their own businesses, and we invest in their visibility.

We prioritise financial support of BIPOC and disabled business owners and I'm really, really passionate about this.

It brings me JOY.

Minoritised and marginalised communities often source support from within their own communities, particularly when accessing support outside from people who consider autistic people disordered and inherently flawed is a very real risk and often a more predominant experience than not.

In the past six months, in creating a trauma recovery plan for one of my children, I have been more connected with my community than ever. I have found expertise, compassion, love, connection and gentle walks on the beach (kidding, but had to add that in because it sounded like it was going that way).

My child's life is changing.

My life has changed.

It's within this community that I have made the most beautiful lifelong friendships.

It's within this community that I have found the most knowledgeable, kind and generous people who I reached out to and asked to work with me as a parent.

And I pay them to support me.

I see so much discouraging rubbish about autistic people charging for their services. In fact, I received an email once asking why families should have to pay for support.

I thought it was a joke. It wasn't.

All those years of wasted hours and thousands of dollars on professionals who still don't know what autism is, and are frequently referred to as experts.. on a human experience they've not lived and will never truly understand, and have based their 'expertise' on the outcome of an internalised experience..behaviour. Behaviourism.

When people see an overall fee, they often scoff at that final figure. And, they overlook that when broken down into hours of work, time, energy and research, recording, sourcing, etc that final figure doesn't even reflect the national minimum wage.

Many autistic people offering paid services are also raising autistic children as well and our lives are not dissimilar to those we support.

When we position ourselves somewhere on a hierarchy, we miss out on so much.

We miss out on learning. I *never* want to stop learning.

We miss out on connection and potential support.

The amount of beautiful people who take chances and reach out to me, who whilst I was experiencing debilitating pain reached out to me despite their anxiety in doing so left me astonished.

I had no idea of the love and support on offer to me.

Anything remotely close to competition turns me off instantly. We're not all wired this way, of course. There are people in my life who thrive on competition, who find their motivation in it.

But, if we're working to actively be at the top of some mythical advocacy ladder then everyone loses.

If you're autistic and have a page, or a service, or offering, then feel free to post it in the comments below.

We're in this together.

- KF x

Image is a meme that reads: "It's ok to support another person who is doing something similar to you. It won't hurt your initiative. If anything it will help you both."

Shared via my wonderful friend Nigh.functioning.Autism


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