Self-Care for Community

Written by Laura Z. Weldon

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” — Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light and Other Essays (1988)

The origins of “self-care” are far more powerful than the commercially-diluted “me-time” we are marketed to sell products or justify spa-days. When activist and intersectional feminist Audre Lorde wrote this line, she was affirming that preserving herself, as a Black lesbian woman, in a world that was (and still is) hostile to her identities and communities was a political act proclaiming her right to exist and thrive.

When children are diagnosed autistic, parents receive advice about how to make them seem “less autistic” rather than how to support happy, healthy kids. When we are diagnosed as adults, we are not given a treatment plan to support our sensory systems and flourish in a world that is not designed for us. We are on our own, figuring it out as so many of us do, teaching ourselves by experience. We care for ourselves to survive adversity in a society that deems us less or disordered, and by doing so affirm that autistic people matter and are worthy of acceptance and care.

This, to me, is what the Autism Health and Wellbeing community is about. The platform provides a virtual space where we can share what we have discovered with others that they may pick up what serves and supports them. Here we can read a myriad of practices that cherish and nourish autistic bodies and minds, celebrating our differences and caring for ourselves and one another in a radical act of community.

Laura is a naturopathic doctor, writer, and neurodiversity advocate on the Autism HWB team who lives along the rivers of Kentucky.

Dr. Weldon’s telemedicine practice provides naturopathic consulting services to neurodivergent and chronically ill clients: You can find them on Instagram @neurodivergent.naturopath and
Twitter @neuronaturopath.

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