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AMASE

Autistic Mutual Aid Society, Edinburgh

What: The first Edinburgh Autistic Pride Picnic.

Why: To celebrate autistic identity and the autistic community.

When: Sunday 17th June, midday-6pm. Drop in any time, and leave whenever you like. Official Autistic Pride Day is the 18th of June every year, but we decided to celebrate on the weekend before.

Where: Prince Albert Victor Sundial, the Meadows (the big stone monument near the trees at the west side of the Meadows). Follow this link for detailed travel directions.

What to bring: foods and drinks to share, stimtoys, picnic blankets, smiles, sunshines, coats (just in case).

Who: This event is organised by AMASE, but it’s just an informal gathering in a park. Feel free to invite your autistic friends, non-autistic friends, friendly dogs and grannies.

How many people will be there? It is always hard to tell with these things. Perhaps around 30-60 lovely people, but that is just a guess, and they won’t all be there at once. We’re told that last year’s London Autistic Pride Day Picnic peaked at 42 people, and their Facebook event showed about twice as many as ours planning on coming. At least one small friendly dog will be in attendance.

But what if it is wet? There is some shelter at the nearby Pavilion Cafe.

But what if it gets really wet? It won’t be, you are bringing your sunshine aren’t you? If it is really wet, there are other pleasant places we could decamp to nearby. Follow #AutisticPrideEdinburgh for updates, or contact us by email or social media.

Here is a Facebook event for this picnic. Regarding Facebook: The guest list is hidden, but that doesn’t necessarily stop Facebook from telling anyone you’re coming. Therefore if you’re not ‘out’ as autistic to your Facebook friends, you might prefer to save the event rather than saying that you are attending.

Note that this event is not specifically Autistic LGBT Pride, it is simply Autistic Pride. However if you are also proud of your sexuality and gender, that’s definitely 100% fine. In fact, we encourage it. LGBTQIA+ Pride Edinburgh is the day before.

How to get there: We are delighted to find that the three-word address for the location is ‘cool.punks.active’ (map link). Here are detailed directions, with photos and here’s a Google Maps link with directions. Both assume you’re travelling from Waverley.

More on autism and autistic pride:

What Is Autism?

Autism is a profound cognitive difference, meaning that autistic people experience and interact with the world differently from our peers.

We tend to experience what we’re focusing on very intensely, often to the exclusion of other signals. This can cause social difficulties, especially with people who are not used to autistic ways of being, and other problems to do with the world being set up for people whose brains don’t work like ours.

The autistic spectrum is both broad and deep - the autistic population is highly diverse, and autism manifests differently from person to person. It is not a linear scale running from ‘high functioning’ to ‘low functioning’, which are unhelpful terms. Instead, autism varies in several different ways - sensory differences, levels of anxiety, social skills and executive functions all vary both from person to person and from time to time. Autism often co-occurs with intellectual disabilities and other neurological differences including epilepsy and dyspraxia, but these are not universal.

Why Pride?

Autism is often classed as as disorder, but it is not at all clear that autistic thinking is any more disordered than neurotypical thought. We see autism as part of the natural variability of human minds and brains - neurodiversity - not as something that needs to be cured or hidden.

Autistic pride is a response to a world that stigmatises autistic ways of being, and is intolerant of difference in general. Like other pride movements, it is about celebrating diversity in the face of a society that too often treats one way of being as superior to others.

It is also a chance for members of the autistic community to get together with like-minded people in an autistic space.