Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

A Mine of Information


As an autism consultant with an encyclopedic mind for systems and lists of information I often found myself perceived as something of a walking textbook, a mine of information. Whilst I am logical, practical, empathic and so have a natural inclination toward being helpful, I also found that until I learned to put boundaries in place I was a walk in for users, all of course grateful, sometimes gushingly so, but from my side of things, I was being exhausted and the rest of me was invisible to these people, by comparison, it just wasn’t… well, of use to them!

After 4 years of working voluntarily in the autism field, answering pages of questions and licking the stamps I’d paid for myself to send these strangers their answers, I started my own consultancy and charged an affordable fee for my time, around the same as I’d have got per hour as a teacher, the formal qualification I actually had. I sketched this artwork years ago, didn’t name it or sign it, but came across it recently in an old folio of very early artworks. I was unsure, at first, if it was even mine, but there were parts of it I remembered doing and I remembered the diggers digging out the figure’s back, the person being utilized like a mine, and so I called it, a Mine of Information.

It’s a reminder of the overlooked humanity of those we use without thought of their own personhood. It’s a reminder why we need boundaries, why volunteering is important and a great basis for experience, even belonging, but that we have a right to also know our worth in a monetary world where even eating, sleeping, and shitting have associated financial costs.

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.

I acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners of this country throughout Australia, and their connection to land and community.

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