Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents as a range of social, cognitive, behavioral, sensory, and communication differences, with no singular presentation. Each person on the spectrum has a unique profile within the expanse of human neurodiversity, "the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species". For some, these differences result in impairments or can be disabling.
Historically, definitions of or research on autism did not include Autistic voice, experience, and/or expertise. The Neurodiversity movement has brought Autistic perspective to the table and is helping to shift understanding, alongside conversations between the Medical and Social Models of Disability.
The best way to understand autism is to listen to and engage with Autistic-led organizations or groups and self-advocates, and to do so with a Disability Justice lens. No identity is singular, all are intersectional.
If you are not Autistic, understand that the labor of creating this window for you is taxing and something that you should find ways to acknowledge and, if possible for you, compensate.
Autistic-led Organizations and Groups
Autistic / Neurodivergent Activists on Instagram
Disability Justice and Advocacy Organizations and Individuals
Disability Together (@disabilitytogether)
Sins Invalid (@sinsinvalid)