You need to know that we are everywhere.
Autistic women are playing, studying, working, walking alongside you…somehow managing to survive and even thrive in a world set up for the non-autistic 99% of the population. Autism comes with incredible gifts and challenges largely unappreciated even by autistic individuals themselves. We are different and important.
The journey to understanding autism has really just begun
and I am very happy to be on it in my small way.
I am a 47 year old grandmother of three and mother of one. I live in the country outside Melbourne on a 22 acre property with my husband of one year, two stepchildren, horses, dogs and chickens. I have a huge vegetable garden and I am passionate about sustainability and the environment. I work for our local Council as it is close to home and allows me the flexibility I need to support my daughter and grandchildren in a very hands-on way. Prior to becoming a grandmother I worked in the CBD for high profile organisations such as the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria. My analytical mind and finely honed sense of justice lent itself well to a career in Conciliation for over ten years; however it is always family first with me. I take my mother and grandmother roles very seriously.
Personally, I am intense and intuitive, a deep thinker and straight talker with a cheeky and sometimes unappreciated sense of humour. With the exception of my daughter and her children and a very small number of close friends (two at last count), I enjoy my own company and that of animals and plants over human interaction. I’m notoriously bad with ‘social norms’ and have mostly followed my own rebellious path when it comes to almost everything. I am very authentic, but that doesn’t always end well.
My diagnosis freed me from feeling ‘damaged’. That is the single most beautiful thing about it. It completely ripped back the power I had given to poorly behaved humans, and placed it gently back in my hands. I am not a broken neuro-typical person; I am a whole healthy Autistic person. I have my eldest grandson to thank for that as he too is Autistic and it was through his diagnosis and my innate understanding and connection with him that I started to suspect I walked this path too. In fact I am surrounded by Autism as my husband also has Aspergers, as does his son. We suspect my father and both of our daughters are on the spectrum and my middle grandson is waiting for an assessment. We seem to be an Autistic family.
I am still processing my diagnosis and it is a bit of a rocky journey. I feel a great deal of compassion for my younger self and could fill many pages with all the ‘ah ha’ moments and traits that fit this diagnosis perfectly. I am hopeful that fragmented pieces of me keep filing in and that moving forward I can be the calm, creative and settled woman I have always longed to be.
I would also like to find my ‘tribe’ if they exist, and contribute to making things better for the wonderful Autistic women who follow this path too, now and into the future.