My ideas constantly change and evolve, but my main sort of idea is to have a Psychology clinic where Autistics are counselled by Autistics, and not Neurotypicals or Allistics.
I have been to clinics specifically for Autistics, and they focus on “curing” or “treating” Autism as oppose to talking through issues imposed by society, and learning how to be self accepting. Their whole aim is making Autistics as Neurotypical as possible, when I don’t believe we should do that. I believe their techniques are playing a part in the hugh amount of mental illness in the Autistic community because people, even authority figures, don’t accept us.
I’ve also found, in my own experience, that Allistic psychologists/therapists/psychiatrists etc don’t have the same sort of understanding. I think there would be a lot of value in having adult Autistics mentor young Autistics to be the best Autistic people they can be. Autistic people, especially Autistic children, need guidance, acceptance, protection, and love. They need to be taught how to advocate for themselves. They need to be taught to be who they are, and not taught that how they communicate, move, grow, and learn is wrong.
Autistic adults are the only group of people that can definitively say to an Autistic child/adolescent “It’s going to be okay, because I went through the same things you’re going through and I’m okay.”
I would also run groups where Autistics come together to have a chance to meet likeminded people. With so many Autistics feeling like they’re the only person going through what they’re going through, with most of the “help” out there focusing on how wrong they are, it’s no wonder that 14% of Autistic children have talked about suicide, compared with 0.5% of Neurotpical children. That’s more that twenty eight times the normal rate of suicide ideation… In CHILDREN. And two-thirds of a group of adults/adolescents diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome said
they had thought about committing suicide at some point, and 35 percent
had made specific plans or actually made an attempt. I think these numbers could be drastically reduced if these people didn’t feel so alone in their struggles, or weren’t going through therapy that focuses on cures or treatment.
There are comorbid conditions of Autism that need to be treated, however. As shown by the figures above, many Autistics experience depression. One recent study showed that the rate of parent-reported symptoms of
depression in Autistic children was between 22-28% aged up to
five years old, to 58-72% in teenagers. That is compared with 16.6% (1 in 6) of the general population.
Autistics also have a higher rate (when compared to the general public) of sleep disorders, Tourettes, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Intellectual Disorders, Bipolar, Anxiety Disorder, and many other psychiatric issues that do need treatment. Many Autistics also experience learning difficulties and disabilties such as sensory processing disorder, dyslexia, dyspraxia, communication issues, etc. These are things that do need treatment and help. Autistic behaviours, such as stimming, special interests, echolalia etc. don’t need to be prevented unless they are physically or emotionally damaging to the Autistic person.
So, basically, I want to help work through the issues that society and comorbid conditions cause for Autistics, and not work towards treatment or cure for Autism. I want to guide Autistics to become the best Autistic person they can be. I also want to show Autistic children and adolescents that they aren’t alone by creating support groups for Autistics to meet up with likeminded people.
I want more acceptance for Autistics, and I think I can help create that world that I dream of.
TL;DR: Autistics need to be encouraged to be who they are, and not shaped in to a “socially acceptable” version to please the Neurotypicals/Allistics around them. Right now, most psychologists/psychiatrists/therapists etc. work towards “treating” or “curing” Autism. I hope to become an Autistic psychologist for Autistics to work through the issues imposed by society, and also help treat comorbid issues such as mental illness and learning difficulties. But ultimately help Autistics find acceptance within themselves and feel free to be who they are through one-on-one therapy and also group sessions with the ultimate goal to meet other likeminded people. I believe that this could reduce the hugh amount of people facing mental health issues.