A Letter to the Welsh Assembly About the Autism Act That Didn't Pass
Over here in my corner of the U.K., it’s been a big week for autism rights. The Welsh Assembly, or Senedd, has been voting on whether or not Wales needs a specific “Autism Act” that would protect autistic people’s rights in law.
Sadly the motion didn’t pass, despite every party pledging their support to autism rights. So where does that leave people like me? People living here now, with no support?
I was inspired to write a letter.
I don’t have a loud-hailer or a soapbox. I don’t have the ability to build a public, social platform. I don’t have the structure to make you listen.
But I do have a voice.
I started off meek and mild and questing, the more I learned the more frustrated I got, but I still wake full of hope. I still believe. I still know things can be better.
This week the Welsh Assembly, a beautiful, swoopy glass building, voted against an Autism Act for Wales — 24 to 27. So close. So few minds to change to change my world, but change they did not.
Why oh why would we need such a thing? An act just for autism? An act of autism? An enactment of autisming?
Because of me.
Because of people like me. Because of my autistic community, my people and their families and carers. Because it matters.
Do you know how much support is available to me in mid-Wales? Right here and now, today, as an adult with autism?
There is nothing. Not one thing. No occupational health services for autistic people (no specialists), no counseling services for autistic people (no training in relevant adjustments), no support groups (“too functional”), no support in work (“not functional enough”).
Why do we need an Autism Act? Why do we need any legislation that offers support and constructive solutions? Because it changes people’s lives for the better. Because it helps. Because suicide rates in “high-functioning” (I hate that term) autistics is nine times that of the general population, but there’s less support available than for neurotypicals.
Whatever we have now has resulted in nothing. No safety net.
I am the eternal optimist. I will keep hoping. I will keep using my muffled voice, because there are those among us who need me to speak.
Wales, I love you. I adore you. Your people, your greenness, your mountains, your valleys. Only you know my hiraeth when I’m not here. Nowhere undulates like you. Nowhere is warmer and kinder. But you’ve let me down. You’re letting me down every day.
And we need you.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.