So today I’m starting a whole new chapter of my life (excuse the pun) by becoming a blogger. It’s something I’ve toyed with for years but somehow have never found the time to pursue, but today all that’s changing and I’m taking the first of many small steps on what I’m sure will be a challenging, enlightening and ultimately very fulfilling path towards a happier future.
The first bit of advice I’ve been given is to always imagine that I’m talking to one particular person – my ideal audience member – and basically have lots of conversations directly with them, to stop me second-guessing myself and constantly wondering about whether or not I’m going to offend anyone by challenging their ideas about ‘Autism, the Universe and Everything’. Well, there’s your first clue as to who my ideal audience member might be: they’ll have to be just a little bit nerdy and understand references like that one (which for the uninitiated was a play on the title of a famous Douglas Adams book). Yes, I am a giant nerd, and proud of it too, so you’ll get used to that about me very quickly.
Secondly they’ll have to have a bit of curiosity about autism and be prepared to do some research if I mention anything they haven’t come across yet. One thing I can’t stand is being patronised, so I can promise you I’ll never talk down to you or over-explain anything. The down side of this is that after a whole lifetime of living with autism every day, I’m bound to forget sometimes that not everyone knows the meaning of every single autism-related expression, and I might therefore also forget to explain something important. Apologies in advance if I do this at any point, but a quick trip to Wikipedia should sort it out for you, so no harm done.
I’m guessing the majority of my readers will either be autistic themselves, or be autism parents or grandparents, special needs teachers or carers (although it’s not essential of course) so my ideal audience member is definitely living with the condition every day in one way or another. They struggle at times because that’s just the reality of the condition, but they’re always on the lookout for ways to improve their situation, and are probably doing a much better job than they give themselves credit for.
Finally, and most importantly of all, they’ve got a great sense of humour, and even when things are at their toughest they can still find a reason to smile and keep their head above water. They understand the difference between laughing at something (which is never acceptable) and laughing about something (which is essential on the front lines of the autism world unless you want to totally lose your mind on a daily basis) and equally, they know when it’s okay to break down and cry, and that crying can often make you stronger, not weaker.
I’ve named my ideal reader ‘Crystal’ because to me it represents something with many different facets which are all equally interesting and beautiful. Crystal could be young, old, black, white, gay, straight, strictly religious or the world’s most devoted atheist, I really don’t mind. You’ll find no prejudice here, only a desire to help every single one of you to live a better life in your own unique way. I appreciate that sounds like the slogan from some dreadfully cheesy inspirational poster, but I mean it from my heart nonetheless.
Welcome, then, to my brand new blog. Please bring your sense of humour, curiosity and a genuine interest in improving the world for people living with autism, and I can promise you we’ll get along just fine!