About me

Image description: This is me, exploring some woods in Surrey and as usual, wearing completely impractical attire!
Taken: 18.11.17 

Who am I?
I am Krysia (pronounced kri-shah; blogger name krysiawally) and I'm a PhD candidate exploring autism in faith communities in a UK university. I'm in my late twenties, have a habit of asking awkward questions (sorry about that) and a big reflector on life's questions, big and small. My research interests include autism, [faith] communities, spirituality, accessibility, ableism, theology and how we perceive and process difference.

Oh and surprise, I'm autistic too. 

I call myself an all-round troublemaker because of my uncanny ability to get into scrapes without trying, possibly because of some of the questions I ask and the ideas I have. If I were a Mr Men or Little Miss, I'd definitely be 'Little Miss Ideas'. That aside, I love animals a ridiculous amount, like Diet Coke too much and would have definitely been a suffragette in a past life. 

When did you start this and why? 
I started the blog in September 2016. I started it as a means for me to share the projects I am currently involved in with friends, colleagues and family. It is also a means of sharing information; my second cousin, Amy wanted to find out more about autism. (I don't have any first cousins, my family is quite small.) I genuinely did not think anyone would read it or be interested, but with Amy's encouragement and encouragement from others too I have been proven otherwise.

This blog has grown to complement my current research projects and interests, in particular getting organisations, people and faith communities talking about autism with input from autistic people and more importantly, getting autistic people involved in and leading what I call 'autism education' and showing that good practice for autism is beneficial for everyone. No one should be left behind in my opinion.

This is my personal space. I aim to represent myself alone in my words, although they may resonate with you too.

Why do you babble on about faith? 
In part, because this is my area of research and I am fascinated with it and how it intersects with other things in our world and beyond. It's an interesting story how I ended up here as my background, prior to my research, was as a linguist (German and French). Maybe I should tell you one day...

I believe God often chooses highly unqualified people, in the eyes of the world, to do things and boy I do feel very unqualified at times. I struggled with writing and English horrendously at school (honest waste of my time at the time, never quite got the point, hated reading, weakest subject at school) and have always felt a bit squeamish writing or talking about myself to any degree. But through writing, I have learnt to take down some barriers and give myself the voice that has been waiting for me for many years. I honestly could not do this without God sitting with me at the keyboard, it would be impossible. My words cannot be credited solely to me.

That aside, faith and religion are seen as taboo and I am a firm believer in not shoving things under the carpet (metaphorically) and ignoring them. How can we grow to discuss these things without bias, while being open and listening with maturity if we do not start to have these discussions? 

What projects are you currently involved in?
I like to get my hands stuck in lots of things. On rotation, I am on local BBC Radio as Sunday morning current affairs panellist. I took part in the Methodist Church's Belonging Conference in September 2018, linked here and involved in the projects following off that conference. I have run workshops for faith based and secular groups, challenging beliefs and perceptions towards autistic people. My theology is simple: we are all equally loved and all made in God's image - including autistic people.

We need to move beyond the tokenistic nature of 'this is a nice idea' to recognising this is necessary for accessibility, and furthermore a non-negotiable right.

Theology aside, policy should be reflecting equity and we need to be challenged to move from a model of 'equality' to that of 'equity' and 'inclusion' - something which I believe needs a radical shift. We still are in desperate need of this shift in a non-tokenistic manner. No human is not worthy of dignity, respect or getting what they need.

I also have co-written a short piece on UK Disability Month with two peers for a student media outlet, linked here, with the reference for our piece of work linked here. I encourage you to read this. 

I'm interested in you/your projects, how do I get in contact with you? 
Please fill out the contact form on the side bar to your left from the click down menu. You can put your email in too to follow the blog for further updates. I am also on twitter as @krysiawally. 
(If it's me that seems interesting, I've fallen off my chair... please come and pick me up off the floor!)

September 2016 - blog opened 
September 2017 - 5,000 hits
April 2018 - 10,000 hits
September 2018 - 15,000 hits
July 2019 - 20,000 hits

updated 8.7.2019

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