At 23, I read over my medical records for the first time and discovered that 8 years prior, my doctor had referred me for an autism assessment. This referral was rejected by the man in charge without even so much as taking the time to meet me. He “wasn’t convinced”. It’s difficult not to feel resentment towards this man when I consider how different the last 8 years might have been had he given me the time and consideration I deserved. I often wonder if I had been a 15-year-old boy with these difficulties instead of a 15-year-old girl, would that have inspired him to engage in more critical thought?
Finally accessing this diagnosis has been the most truly liberating experience of my life and the person I have to thank for that, is myself. I found it, I researched it and I fought hard for it to be taken seriously. If I hadn’t, I would still be flailing around in those muddy waters, lost and alone. For the first time in my life, I understand myself and I am committed to authentically honouring my needs.
That is why, I beg you to reflect, before expressing outrage over self-declaration, or forcing your employees or colleagues through a degrading process to ‘perform’ their disability for you, just so that they can access basic support.