What's Your SPIN???
Special Interests and Autie Joys for #AutismCelebrationMonth
It is April, Autism Month. Here at AutLoud.ie, we support the Autistic Community in the push to replace #AutismAwareness with #AutismAcceptance. In fact, as our April website banner may give away, we think it could easily go one step further to #AutismAppreciationMonth. Because us Neurodivergent folks rock, and SPIN in so many ways, and the world should really know this!
Giving a voice to Autistic Adults in Ireland is a key part of AutLoud’s mission. As part of our launch month, we have been running some important and some quite serious content to support this. We have looked at the Autistic community and how to access it, Autism myths, do’s and don’t for Autism month, Autism and the workplace, Autism diagnosis, as well as personal journeys, life hacks, and so much more. All of this is to help us build our community, and explore real issues faced by us in the #ActuallyAutistic community.
We also want to share the really good parts of being Autistic. These are our USPs, our strengths, our passions, our talents, the breath and depth of our interests, and our creativity. In a nutshell, these are what make us awesome.
So in recognition of all that awesomeness this week is SPIN week. We are having a Spintastic Spectacular. This means a series of SPINs posts here on Autloud.ie, and a campaign to share them with the world.
Because sometimes awareness, acceptance, and appreciation are not enough. Some things need to be CELEBRATED!!!! #AutismCelebrationMonth
So what is a SPIN anyway?
It is a special interest, that sparks joy, or fascination, in a person’s soul. SPINs are the wide range of activities and interests that we see every day in our community. A lot of the time when the phrase ‘special interests’ is used with respect to Autism, it has an undercurrent of negativity. There is an unspoken implication that the interests are restrictive, repetitive, even unhealthy. We disagree. Vehemently.
Last week, on the Autistic Paddies Social Page on Facebook I asked members of the group about their SPINs. With input from approximately 54 group members, 231 SPINs were added to the discussion over a 24-hour period. The maths are very clear, that’s multiple SPINs per person, 4-5 on average per person, and all strong enough interests to be considered special ones. The word cloud record below represents those 231 SPINs, plus the 15 instances of the words love and obsession. Restricted, really? I think not. This highly academic, ‘not even a straw poll’ poll clearly puts that myth to bed.
So what is our plan?
It is a simple one this week: We are going to celebrate the things that make us SPIN and bring us joy. We will be posting more details on many of the SPINs above. Keep an eye on Spintastic each day for updates.
Sally Anne is an autistic academic, mentor, and mother. Her interests are her family, her books, the housing market, the environment and tech. She is recently diagnosed (though had suspected for a while). Through this blog she wants to connect with the autistic community and understand herself better. She believes in “knowledge for knowledge’s sake” and if she finds a button, she will need to press it!