For those new to autism and the autistic community, it can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of information out there, some good, some bad. This is a basic outline to help you get started and give you an idea of how the autistic community operates by #actuallyautistic individuals themselves.
Autism is a neurotype.
It is totally not a disease/illness that needs to be cured. It is not an add-on to a neurotypical brain that needs to be removed/fixed. It is an autistic’s very neurology. They are the way they are because of it. It is one of the many ways to be neurodivergent.
The autistic community prefers identity-first language over person-first ie “autistic” instead of “with autism.”
Most Autistics reject the puzzle piece and prefer the infinity symbol instead.
Autism Speaks is despised within the autistic community, for good reason.
– Functioning labels and DSM levels are harmful and ableist and should not be used ie “high/low functioning” or “level 1/2/3” or “Asperger’s/Aspie.”
– “If you’ve met one person on the spectrum, you’ve met ONE person on the spectrum.”
– The autism spectrum isn’t linear, going from mild to severe, as commonly misunderstood.
– ABA is an abusive therapy abhorred by the autistic community, and rightly so.
Nonspeaking does not equate to unintelligent, nor does it mean the person is “afflicted with severe autism.” Speaking is not a standard to be reached/achieved. There’s nothing wrong with being nonspeaking. There are other modes of communication besides verbal speech. Look into Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).
Communication First focuses on communication rights for nonspeakers
Stimming ie self-stimulatory movement(s) is a way to express oneself or self regulate. Forcing an autistic to not stim is taking away their right. There’s nothing wrong or pathological about stimming and it should be encouraged, not discouraged.
Meltdowns are not tantrums. Tantrums are manipulative, meltdowns are not. Meltdowns are a result of sensory/emotional/mental overload and should not be dismissed or taken lightly.
Simplistically speaking, shutdowns are internal meltdowns.
Masking is when autistics appear to be NT and is incredibly harmful. The problem is that if they don’t mask, they’ll be discriminated against for being autistic but when they do mask, that’s harmful to their mental (and physical) health. #TakeTheMaskOff is a hashtag one can look into.
Acceptance over Awareness
Autism Acceptance and not Autism Awareness, please.
Autistics are NOT “severely lacking” in empathy.
Sensory processing differences can definitely occur.
Proprioception, interoception, and the vestibular system are 3 senses that it’s best to be aware of.
As previously said, autism is not an illness or disease,so please avoid using “symptoms.” “Traits” is the word you want to use.
Please stop applying NT concepts and standards to ND persons. Stop trying to understand autistics relative to NTs. Stop viewing normal through the NT lens.
- “Socially unacceptable” – according to NT standards.
- “Cold, dismissive, mean, rude” – according to NT standards because people project their idea of empathic expression onto autistics
- “Doesn’t like to go social activities” – according to NT standards (some autistics are and love to be social, they’re just not “appropriately” social according to NT standards or may need accommodations in order to tolerate the environment).
- “No hugs/eye contact/affection” – Some autistic people avoid eye contact, some don’t. Some avoid physical touch. Others love it. Those who avoid those gestures have legitimate reasons which vary according to their sensory profiles. As for the affection bit, they’re not robots… they just demonstrate affection in different ways.
Autistics just communicate differently. That doesn’t mean the way they communicate is wrong. NT communication (or being NT) is not a standard NDs should strive to reach. Autistics communicate fine when people learn how to understand their unique language are actually willing to communicate in good faith.
– Special interests (or #SpIns) are subjects autistics are passionate about.
#ActuallyAutistic Facebook Pages
Following are links to autistic pages on Facebook one might like to follow for further information by #actuallyautistic people themselves: