As someone who struggles over labels and believes in people first I am often surprised by how readily some of my friends and people I work with who are on the autistic spectrum happily tell you. "I'm autistic" often as soon as they meet you. Thinking about it i realise that actually it can really help, it allows the people they meet to make adjustments so that they don't receive unhelpful responses and people are sensitive to and can accomodate their needs and behaviour.
Having worked at Budock Hospital I saw first hand the mental, psychological and emotional suffering of people with autism who weren't understood and it still haunts me.
For me it is important to maintain the fight: visibility, positive inclusion and appropriate support for people so this doesn't happen again!
Someone who is vulnerable and needs support will always need it and the ongoing quality of their life is only as good as the next carer/support system. I have seen the positive and negative of this so often and we have come a long way, but we can never relax in case it slides backwards.
I won't go on too much but the obvious thing is also the support and understanding for the carers/ those who support them, often their family.
So this is to introduce a link which Eddie told me about last night and forwarded to Shallal on Facebook. I have huge affection and respect for Eddie as a person, friend and artist and enjoy working with him, he first came to Shallal some years ago - he will tell me exactly when! My vagueness is helped (in the groups) by people with autistic detail and memory!