Mar 5·edited Mar 5Liked by Kate Lynch

I think sometimes the issue is conflicting access needs though.

So speaking as an autistic adult, I’ve learnt the hard way that I can’t always be really great friends with some other ND people. Our profiles are all ‘spiky’ - and sometimes those ‘spikes’ poke each other. So just as an example, last minute changes of plan absolutely _throw_ me and can send me spiralling. Whereas another autist might have time blindness and turn up really late, or might be a PDAer who cancels half an hour before they’re due to arrive.

We’re all autistic - but our needs conflict. There might be ways around this, and there might not. But as I’m an adult, no one is telling me I ought to be a friend to them or invite them into my home, or to my birthday party (well, that’s theoretical as I don’t celebrate my birthday with a party).

And it’s similar with ND kids. There are always conflicting access needs within the ND community and I think it’s not as simple as saying we should just be open all the time. Some ND kids trigger each other and especially as for many of our ND kiddos the home is their ‘safe space’, I don’t think we should necessarily invite everyone around - there are often ways around it, for example, my autistic youngest sees her very boisterous ADHD friend in the park, as in the (small - don’t forget, many of us, especially those of us low income families, often have tiny living spaces) house he’s just too much for her and she melts down. But sometimes friendships don’t work for our kiddos because of those conflicting needs, and I do think as parents, part of our job is teaching our ND kids how to advocate for themselves and sometimes that might include boundaries over who comes to the house.

It’s a tough one isn’t it. I’ve also noticed that it’s usually on the more quiet, routine-craving neurodivergent children to be accepting of their louder, more spirited neurodivergent peers - and, not always, but more often than not, that tends to fall down gendered lines, which also doesn’t seem right. Like, I don’t think it’s necessarily ableist for an autistic girl to say ‘actually that boy doesn’t respect my personal space - it’s not his fault, but I don’t want him in my home, my safe space’.

I mean, as an adult autist these things are a struggle for me, too, but at least I get to set my own boundaries if you get me.

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