Most people don't know what autism is or what being autistic is like, including mental healthcare providers. Almost nobody makes any effort to understand us or accommodate our needs, and we're often punished for standing up for ourselves or asking for fair treatment.
We prefer the social model of disability over the medical model: Autism is not a disorder. The autistic neurotype is a natural difference that is poorly supported in our NT-dominated world, so we are effectively disabled by lack of accommodations and C-PTSD from poor fit.
The majority of us prefer "autistic person" (Identity First Language) over "person with autism" (Person First Language). We *are* autistic, we don't *have* autism.
"Self-dx" is short for self-diagnose or self-determine. It's how we name the step of realizing you're autistic without an official diagnosis. Some autistics avoid "diagnosis" because that language pathologizes autism.
We avoid labels like *high-functioning* or *low-functioning*. An autistic individual's "functioning" can vary a lot both over time and across different skills. We tend to talk about support needs as that is a better way to set expectations and avoid unhelpful labeling.
Asperger Syndrome is an outdated term and we avoid it. The name Asperger is associated with Nazi eugenics. And what we used to call Asperger's is now understood to be just another place on the autism spectrum. This change is in process, and some folks are used to the old term.
We don't have a good scientific understanding of the autistic neurotype and how autism relates to other cognitive neurotypes. The high rate of coincidence of autism and ADHD suggests they may be related or even different aspects of the same thing, but we don't really know.
Yes, there are a lot of trans and enby folk who are autistic, and there are a lot of autistic folk who are gender non-conforming. Studies confirm this overlap. We know it's a thing, but not why.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a big topic. It is promoted as treatment for autistic kids to help them to better communicate and function in NT society. But many see it as operant conditioning for autistic people to act in a socially tolerable way.
ABA practitioners, and parents and caregivers of autistic kids, claim they act in the kids' best interest, but they routinely ignore and speak over the objections of autistic adults, many of whom went through ABA as kids.
AutismSpeaks is the best known autism organization, but it's a hate group that preys on autistic people. Autistic people despise them. Be wary of A$ and any other autism organization that doesn't have strong, autistic leadership. Nothing about us without us!
Some beloved celebrities are bad when it comes to autism. Jon Stewart is on the board of NEXTforAutism, a pro-ABA, allistic-run charity, so he's kind of the enemy. And William Shatner seems to despise autistic people and hates on us every chance he gets. It sucks.
Most of us are exhausted from having to do the heavy lifting to translate between autistic and allistic communication all the time, and frustrated at how often we fail because we're not getting any help from the other side.
A lot of autistic folk don't speak. That doesn't imply intellectual disability, and often it's an issue of motor control and coordination. Their thoughts and ideas are just as meaningful, and they deserve to be accomodated and included in the autistic community.
It's a common thing for un-dxed autistic adults to realize it because their child is dxed as autistic. "How can they be autistic? They're just like me! Oh…" Often people around them will make the connection sooner and point it out.
If you realized you're autistic as an adult, you'll likely have moments where you flash back on your childhood and see a memory through autistic eyes, and it will make sense in ways you never could understand before. I'm pushing for calling this a "retropiphany".
There's a recognizable kind of tweet that goes "Either autistic people have to stop being so relatable or I have to talk to my therapist." If you can recognize yourself when autistic people talk about their lives, that might mean you have more in common than you realized.