January 24, 2021

When I look around a room, I see lines – or at least, I feel them.

What I mean is, the edges of furniture and frames don’t stop at the corners. They continue across the room, like straight spiderwebs, intersecting other lines and piercing various objects.

This makes it very easy to notice when things …

January 23, 2021

Many people believe they’re autistic – and are accepted as such by other autistics – but have trouble getting a diagnosis, because they don’t match the narrow criteria in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.”

I am not one of those people. I meet every possible criteria, and scored off-the-charts on every test I took for …

January 20, 2021

I’m conscientious to a fault, because I can’t figure out when it’s safe not to be.

In between “Everybody does that” and “Nobody does that,” there’s a gray area: “Many do that, and most get away with it.”

In high school, I wish I’d known that my gray area could have included skimming through required …

January 18, 2021

I keep seeing memes and anecdotes that treat “returning grocery carts” as a litmus test for goodness – whether someone is willing to help others with no benefit to themselves.

They underestimate the cost for someone on the autism spectrum.

For me, it is painfully uncomfortable to guide the beast back to its stable, wheels …

January 17, 2021

These days, it seems like nearly everyone objects to the fairytale trope of a damsel in distress. “I’d rather rescue myself,” one singer says, with many echoing the sentiment.

I do rescue, protect, and provide for myself. But it’s no adventure.

For me, adventure happens in the moments when I can find help, when I …

January 14, 2021

Twenty years ago, in the dead of winter, I was a miserable middle schooler – anxious, friendless, and too smart for my own good.

My parents pulled me out of school for a week, and took me somewhere new. I’m pretty sure that week single-handedly saved my mental health.

We drove and drove, crossing state …

January 11, 2021

I can do many things – some of the time. When I can’t, it’s hard to convince people who’ve seen me do it before.

Moreover, it’s hard to convince myself.

I push myself too hard when I assume that my current self is the same as my recent self. It’s not – my abilities fluctuate …

January 10, 2021

The Internet has thousands of ideas to help autistic people thrive – also known as coping strategies, accommodations, or life hacks.

If I see a good idea but then keep scrolling, I usually forget to try it. If I make a list of every good idea I see, then I get overwhelmed and ignore the …

January 10, 2021

Autism is internal.

Does it have external effects? Sure – in how I move, speak, react, and position my body. But if you took away all of that, my mind would still be autistic.

Still gathering details before drawing conclusions.

Still noticing patterns in diverse data.

Still processing some info under a speed limit.

Still …

January 9, 2021

Here’s what I know about “selective mutism” – the ability to speak at some times but not others. This is based on limited personal experience (a few times a year), plus what I’ve learned from others.

Many advocates with selective mutism seem to dislike the name. It makes it sound like a choice – something …