3 min read
By author of Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad? and Loving Your Place on the Spectrum Jude Morrow
Being autistic is a pleasure! It took me long enough to realize it, although for a large portion of my early life, I thought it was my biggest setback.
The reason for this was that—according to many publications and opinions—being autistic is considered a “disorder,” one that should be pitied or fixed at every given opportunity.
Looking at a lot of the negative stereotypes that exist, there is one specifically that does strike me most, and that is the belief that autistic people somehow lack empathy. Imagine, people telling a small, marginalized group of people that they lack empathy, how empathetic of them!
I used to have so many feelings of self-doubt and self-sabotaging beliefs because in my mind, being autistic was so socially unacceptable that I had to do absolutely everything in my power to hide it. Autistic people, like me, often feel they must hide their authentic selves in a world not made for us—something I have dedicated my life to over the past few years.
Today, I guide global firms and nonprofits to remove their unconscious negative biases toward autistic people in order to boost their reputation, increase their revenue, and create better environments for autistic people, young and old. Given I have both the professional experience of having been a social worker for years and being a member of the autistic community, I have found my true calling in life and love seeing safe spaces for autistic people become a reality, free from outdated notions and unconscious negative bias.
I wanted to compile the most common issues faced by autistic people, and they are not what you may think! Marketing companies and opportunistic medical businesses will say that autistic people need to change or amend their wonderful autistic character to “fit in.” The main stereotypes that exist among autistic people are that we don’t make friends easily, we don’t like socializing, and we can’t communicate properly. Each of these are simply untrue.
Autistic people live and interact with the world in an autistic way. This autistic way is not broken, disordered, or in need of any repair whatsoever. Everyone, regardless of ability, should be celebrated for who they are, not for what they are not in comparison with their peers. I wanted to write down not only my experiences as an autistic person but have contributory stories from others too.
There is always strength in numbers, and through Loving Your Place on The Spectrum, I wanted to demonstrate that there are many proud members of the autistic community. I wanted to gather a collective of stories of the autistic experience to have readers learn from our experiences and know that we are allowed to be proud of who we are. There are still many challenges that the autistic community faces, in the workplace, in relationships, at a college/university, and even at home.
Loving Your Place on the Spectrum offers the autistic experience from an autistic point of view.
Many books on the subject are written by parents of autistic children, or medical professionals giving their take from the outside looking in. If there is one thing that the autistic community—or any oppressed community for that matter—knows, it is that if people don’t speak their truth, others will speak on your behalf. I wanted this book to be the written proof of the autistic spirit, and I will always be grateful for having captured it.
Jude Morrow is an autistic entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, consultant, philanthropist, and the founder of Neurodiversity Training International, the world’s premier neurodiversity-led training and consulting firm (neurodiversity-training.com). In 2001, Jude was diagnosed autistic at the age of eleven, after having been viewed as having communication and social difficulties. Jude’s journey to becoming a proud autistic adult is chronicled in his first book Why Does Daddy Always Look So Sad?, which also follows Jude’s experience of being an autistic dad to his non-autistic son, Ethan. Jude graduated with an honors degree in social work in 2012 and brings his personal and professional experiences to all the work he does.
Loving Your Place on the Spectrumreleases from Beyond Words Publishing on September 14, 2021. Preorder your copy today at: https://beyondword.com/products/loving-your-place-on-the-spectrum-a-neurodiversity-blueprint.
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