Sometimes as an autisitc person, I just want to not try to put an effort towards what I am doing. I have to say that if I didn’t have a multitude of support in my world, I probably would have ended in a long-term placement. While supports are good to have, they are not the answer to all your solutions and you must do the work too to your ability to show you can be a part of the solution.
There is a great emphasis on self-advocacy and empowerment in recent years. I had a mother that was an advocate like no other. When I was at my wit’s end (and she was too) she and supports pounded the pavement and advocated, oftentimes against the advice of the county mental health and managed care systems to ensure that I would get the best care for me to be safe, This also took place in the educational arena where she fought to get me the necessary supports in school even though administrators fought her tooth and nail.
One of the things that have stood out about my mother being an advocate is that she had the appropriately fierce tone, just enough to get the attention of the opposing parties, but not too much to cause a scene. Even though she witnessed things that were wrong with the educational environment, she kept her cool and acted in a dignified manner to ensure that the proper care was given to me. She followed the proper procedures when things didn’t go the way that they needed to go. When she didn’t get me what I wanted, she worked on the other supporting parties in ensuring that I was able to withstand the environment that I had to face..
I guess that is where the foundation of my self-advocacy comes from. Even into recent years when I was afraid to face issues that needed to be addressed, my mom worked with me with how to address them and properly word them so the issues were effectively addressed and not come down to the opposing party in a condoning or threatening manner. My mother has taught me that when you let advocacy mix with your personal emotions and feelings, they can come across that way to the person who you are advocating to and they will return back with the same level of retaliation, which really doesn’t solve anything.
Sometimes you can address an issue and while you think you are doing your best, your emotions may have mixed in at some point and what you have to say isn’t valued. Maybe you have a certain history with that person that is very complex and has some harsh feelings and because of past events they don’t value what you have to say because they don’t think you are being honestly sincere, that you just want what you want and not considering the whole situation that is being faced.
When looking at any situation, one must look at more than themselves. While our needs are important, we don’t know the whole situation and must realize that there are other things to look at than your needs. It can be a hard thing to face, but as long as the regulations and methods and standards are being met, there may be nothing that can be done to remedy that situation. Therefore, you may have to employ coping skills and other defense mechanisms to properly manage your way through these events that may trigger someone or cause a behavior.
It can be hard to accept the hard truth when things don’t go the way you want to . This is exceptionally true for autistics when things don’t go a certain way, but they must be prepared and plan to use their coping/defense mechanisms when necessary to get through a situation that may be difficult for them. Yes, it may be a rough road at the start of it, but once you travel the road for a bit, it gets easier. Just as autism effects people in a multitude of ways, sometimes you can not cater things specifically to everyone’s liking.
If you listen to that line from the popular Rolling Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want…but if you try sometimes…You get what you need. That is exactly the truth. You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need. Sometimes what you need is the ability to employ coping and defense mechanisms so that you can mature and better handle things for events down the road where modification isn’t possible.
You can advocate, but just because you advocate, that isn’t a golden ticket to getting what you WANT, you may get what you NEED, but you must be prepared for whatever comes your way.