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An unlearing and relearning journey.

Updated: 4 days ago




Hello!

I have never done an introduction post for Autistic Realms, so after 18 months and some one kindly nominating me for the Positive Role Model Award as part of the National Diversity Awards and receiving so much lovely feedback, I thought I would share a bit about myself!

I am Helen Edgar, late identified autistic and I have two neurodivergent children. I didn't know I was autistic until my 40s, so it has been an enormous unlearning and re-learning curve for me over the past few years.

I worked as an early years teacher in an SEN setting near Birmingham for almost 20 years, primarily working with those with profound and multiple learning disabilities and complex health care needs. I resigned due to my own children facing barriers to education and needing to be at home with them.

More info about barriers to education and autistic burnout is here:







I thoroughly loved my job as a teacher and still miss it but feel hugely priveleged to have been able to be a small part of children's lives and also learn from such an amazingly supportive multi-disciplinary team of other teachers, support staff, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, nurses and teachers for the visually and hearing impaired, to name just a few! This work provided me with the foundations for Autistic Realms and continues to inspire me. These experiences are now inevitabley woven into and transformed into the writing and the resources I am creating, My passion is reading about autism/monotropism/mental health/learning disabilities and discovering and reflecting on ways forward to provide a kinder, humanistic ecological approach to care and education. I feel I learnt more from being with the children and their families than they likely learnt from me, although class was always busy with multi-sensory stories, messy creative play and dance massage fun! I learned the importance of listening and being there even when verbal words aren't used, the value of connecting in shared spaces, and the potential of guiding learning by following and building on children's personal interests to deepen their learning through play to provide more meaningful experiences.

My teacher training took place in the early 00s, which meant it was based on behaviourism, an approach I now reject. Through Autistic Realms I am passionately advocating to help families and professionals understand the value of understanding and embracing a trauma-informed, neurodiversity-affirming approach to support young people.






Discovering the neurodiversity-affirming theory of monotropism has been life-changing for me as an autstic person. I am deeply grateful for Dinah Murray and her colleagues' first monotropism paper in 2005, which conceptualised this, and also the subsequent work from the research team that developed the monotropism questionnaire, which has helped explain and validate every aspect of my life.







I set up Autistic Realms 18 months ago at the end of 2022, with a passion for advocating for a better understanding of neurodivergence, mental health and learning disabilities. I am in the process of developing a more accessible and organised website, which will launch later this year, in the meantime you are welcome to explore the monotropic musings of over 50 blogs, 20 free downloadable e-books and around 500 infographics.....the collection grows almost daily!

Resources here:









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