Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

How dare ‘An Autistic’ be ‘just a human being’


Polly Samuel aka 'Donna Williams' aged 6 The ‘I am autism’ trend is narrow, ignorant and passé. The stalkers and trolls and obsessed are frankly frightening people who feel that those who don’t identify the entirety of themselves with being ‘an autistic’ (some actually feel it is a crime against THEM if anyone publicly doesn’t identify this way or address them and ‘theirs’ solely in terms of these politics). The ‘we autistics’ is so disrespectful to the entirety of any one of us by making irrelevant the vastness of what makes each of us who we are that I hope we can all get over that ignorant and passé trend too.

The ‘awetism’ trend to portray all things ‘autistic’ as all ‘awesome’ silences all for whom parts of their autism comes from the impact of FASD, the daily presence of untreated absence or nocturnal seizures, from the viral impacts of impaired immune function or unaddressed food intolerances and food allergies or infant stroke or hemiplegia that nobody dx’d (most of which will not appear on MRI), genetic collagen disorders or neuronal migration disorders that impacted connectivity in the brain etc etc…. and maybe you might think these health issues are not ‘really autism’ but try not looking or developing in a recognisably ‘autistic’ way with a collection of this stuff on board and you’ll soon see that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck then it is for all intents and purposes a duck…And this doesn’t mean all people with autism have an array of health related neuro stuff… they don’t. Nor does it mean those with autism don’t have fabulous and awesome things about themselves… they almost always do. But some of those ‘awesome’ things will be products of their adaptations, sometimes products of their neurological differences, but sometimes just products of their identifications, experiences, opportunities and character.

The culture/pride/supremacist/’identity first’ movements are all eager to have ‘non verbal’ people on board… generally those using augmented communication… as long as they are signing their song, their politics…. the token ‘non verbal’ so to speak to legitimise and validate their cause… however most ‘non verbal’ people who use augmented communication are just busy living and being a human being among other human beings… autistic or not… and not fixated with or over invested in or over identified with the politics… and actually they are being the healthiest examples… for life is short, and modelling ‘just getting on with life’ and ‘being more than one’s condition/s’ is about being grounded, balanced, connected with a broader sense of self, a broader sense of the world, and of oneself within both the human world and the natural physical world we share so briefly before we all, inevitably, leave our bodies in death.

Personally, I feel heartbroken when that is obscured and minimalised by the label lust and narcissistic reactionism of seeing everything autistic as simply ‘awetistic’. It silences people like me. How is that ’empowering’?

I do love many aspects of my adaptations to my ‘autism’… I’d even say some are ‘awesome’ or at least ‘fab’ but this does not do justice to the many things that are part of MY ‘autism’ which are often health related neuro impacting stuff and the many things that are just part of me being a human being, or part of my identifications, opportunities, experiences, character as a human being…

I DO love my life, and I am what I am, but that doesn’t automatically make it all ‘awesomely awetistic’.

ho hum… I expect I’ll expect a Fatwa now from the hardcore extremist fringes of the ‘we autistics’ militia.

Polly Samuel (aka ‘Donna Williams’)
Author, artist, consultant and presenter.

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