This blog was originally called Cleo’s Autism Awareness, back when I first discovered I was autistic. I self-diagnosed at 28, and was formally diagnosed at 31, in an era where autism research is evolving.
Since I believe self-diagnosis is crucial in an era where (a) medical care isn’t available to everyone, (b) affordable medical services often have “good ol’ days practice” doctors, and (c) research isn’t adequate for autistic women, autistic adults, and autistic people of color—I just go ahead and say I knew I was autistic when I was 28 years old.
Examples of “good ol’ days practice” doctors
- The psychiatrist who sees people remotely (via television) at Fresno’s Clinica Sierra Vista, who said, “autism only happens in boys and children”
- The general practitioner at one of my old college clinics, who said, “if you pray to God, it will help with your depression”
Changing our rhetoric may help with shifting our societal lens about who is autistic, as well as what autism means. For instance:
I’m learning as I go, and unpacking the internalized ableism that’s at the roots of my co-occurring mental illnesses. Part of that learning experience was transitioning from wanting awareness, to advocating for acceptance—which is when I changed the name of my blog.
Thank you for visiting!
I appreciate your interest in my journey as I learn to understand my autistic experiences. If you’d like to read more about my intent for this blog, consider visiting my Welcome to LightItUp.Red post.