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About

On this page you'll find some definitions, my preferred terminology, and what this website is (and isn't) for.

 

Definitions

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined by a combination of traits. No two autistic people will have the exact same difficulties. On this website, I group autistic traits into the three categories below, as these feel quite tangible. This isn’t exactly how diagnostics would refer to things. See the DSM-V criteria for that. There is also a helpful overview on the National Autistic Society’s website.

  • Social stuff: anything to do with communication difficulties, understanding people, social interaction, masking autistic traits to “fit in”

  • Sensory stuff: any hyper- or hypo-sensitivities, good and bad(!) and actions to balance those out, including repetitive behaviours such as rocking or bouncing

  • Routine stuff: anything to do with routine and structure, repetitive or restrictive interests ("special interests"), a tendency to systematise, and difficulty with managing change

 

 

Preferred terminology

I use and prefer identity-first language, e.g. “I am autistic” rather than “I have autism”. My rationale is that autism is just a description of the way that my brain works, and what makes me "me". It is not an ailment or disease that I have contracted. I believe this is a common preference, but worth asking the people that you are talking to or about(!)

I also prefer not to be referred to as “high-functioning”. I feel this diminishes my needs, because the speaker does not understand what is really going on behind the mask. It can also come across as a justification or excuse (e.g. “my friend is autistic, but she’s not that kind of autistic”) which perpetuates people’s misconceptions about what autism really “looks like”. Again, I don’t believe this is an uncommon position, but always worth asking.

 

 

What this website is (and isn't) for

After my diagnosis, I found that there were not many practical resources for autistic adults. I finally had an explanation for all of my difficulties, but was left thinking: “well, now what?!” I started experimenting with lots of things and writing about them. I found that this was getting a reaction, and knew I was not the only person in the same situation.

That’s where the website comes in. I’m starting out with my own reflections, tips, and experiments, but looking for other contributors. My experiences cannot even come close to being representative of all autistic people, so the more views the better. If you want to contribute, sign up to the Colour me autistic newsletter. You'll receive information on all the ways you can get involved.

What this site is not is a way to diagnose autism. There are lots of tools out there for that, which I’ll rummage through and link at some point. While I want to help support people with the same kinds of difficulties as me, I am not qualified to dish out any labels(!) That being said, I have written a little bit about the routes to diagnosis here.

Lauren x

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