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The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S52

Name, and/or twitter handle:Helen Ellis, Pronouns:she/her

Parent/non-parent: childfree,

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: self dx 15, clinical dx 21 (2009)


1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child?

I wasn't sure if I was different or just confused a lot, I didn't notice a lot of the differences until I hit my early teens and things began to get painfully obvious


2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual?

Yes absolutely! My parents (and stepparents) regularly talk about me and the work I do for advocacy/my book etc. They are both incredible at listening to my changing needs and trying to be as adaptable as possible for me.


3. How did you determine your ethical system?

I attended a CoE primary school so a lot of my formative morals and ethics were based around Church teachings (good samaria, do unto others etc) and heavily influenced by growing up in the world of competitive cycling and seeing how the 'bending of rules' could have really strong impacts on people.


4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front?

My private self is a lot more insecure and a lot more expressive - I would never sing or dance in front of others but away from anyone I do, I practise social situations in the mirror. At work I keep a tidy desk and hate people moving things or putting anything out of place but my home life is incredibly messy and chaotic.


5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and television...continuity etc.? Not really, it takes me out of the fantasy world and back to reality too much. Occasionally I do like to do a mental exercise about the science of something to stretch my old knowledge.

6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend?

Honesty, compassion, being able to share a comfortable silence.


7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing to overlook in a friend?

A fashion sense that involves clashing colours/styles etc, stingyness, being late.


8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your partner possesses?

Honesty, compassion, generosity of time


9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds?

Run a foundation offering grants and scholarships for autistic research and studies


10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail? Being able to do what I need to when I need to


11. What does success mean to you?

Having enough money to be happy in life at least 55% of the time


12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate?

Maybe? Not sure


13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions?

N/a


14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t want to talk?

Often, I'll make a phone call to one of my siblings or friends deliberately to be unavailable for conversation if its an unavoidable situation.


15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people?

Constant fatigue, being fed up and frustrated with an unaccesible or ableist world


16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child as an autistic caregiver? N/a


17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the world and why?

When I'm eventually I'm the position to have them - that I chose to Foster them for a reason but that nothing that has happened to them before is their fault and that bad things sometimes just happen, it's how you cope and move forward that matters.


18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not? No! Off the grid is far to isolated, cold and needing physical skills!


19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why?

I like greco-roman columns, simple designs and small cosy rooms. I'm not good on architecture terms/styles but I'm guessing something classical? Definitely not modern, gothical or art deco!

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