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.

Dear Senedd,

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. 

Cariad

Rhi

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

boy in ghostbusters costume

What It Means to Be a Ghostbuster When You're Parenting a Child on the Spectrum

My boys’ obsession with “Ghostbusters” began one afternoon when I was trying to do yoga alone in my bedroom. The movie’s theme song came on, having somehow made its way onto my “Soothing Instrumentals” playlist. The boys stormed in. Soon the three of us were flying around with towels and blankets thrown over our heads, spooking [...]
mother and son walking together

When a Parent Gets Criticized If Their Child With Autism Wanders Away

Every year I feel like I hear more stories of children with autism who have wandered away from their families. It’s often one of the scariest feelings in the world when that situation occurs. Instantly the trigger kicks in, and it becomes a time when families start alerting law agencies, neighborhood watches and their friends and [...]
little boy playing hopscotch

I Want to See More Autism Awareness in Schools to Help Put an End to Bullying

One of the quotes I often see out there in the autism community is: “I don’t think the worst thing that could happen to me is raising a child with autism. I think the worst thing is to raise a child who is cruel to those with autism.” One of my earliest memories of cruelty [...]
dad and son walking hand in hand

When a Lady at the Grocery Store Gave Us Just What We Needed During My Son's Meltdown

I believe when God created this world, he sent in a few angels who would touch people’s lives with their kindness. They would come into our lives and restore our lost faith, our strength, our hope, and our happiness. When others stare or ignore, these angels would reach out and hold our hand; when others [...]