Resources by and for #ActuallyAutistic people

Reading blogs, and watching videos, by autistic people, was how I first came to the realisation that I myself am autistic, which spurred me on to get assessed. It’s not always possible to see yourself in ‘official’ descriptions of the condition – it certainly wasn’t for me.

I think it’s incredibly important, whether you think you might be autistic or simply want to find out more about autism and the experiences of autistic people, to go to those who actually know firsthand what it’s like.

And a plea, dear readers: if you come across a wonderful resource produced by an autistic person that I haven’t listed here and you think I should share it with the wider world, then please get in touch!

YouTube channels

TED Talk and TEDx videos

  • Autism: give me a chance and I will change everything” – this TEDx talk, by the rather ace Noah Britton, features some rather horrible noises at various points, so please be aware, and exercise caution when listening at loud volumes or headphones. They are used for a specific purpose, however. But it is brilliant, especially in describing some of the sensory aspects of being autistic.
  • “The world needs all kinds of minds“, TED talk by Dr Temple Grandin. A word about Grandin: she is one of our “elders”, and some of her views are markedly out-of-step with prevalent thinking in much of the #actuallyautistic community, particularly concerning the treatment of those autistic people with higher support needs and those who are pre- or non-verbal. I do, however, consider her a pioneer in many ways, nevertheless one from another era.
  • How autism freed me to be myself“, TED talk delivered by Rosie King.
  • The Natural Rhythm of Stimming“, a brilliant spoken word poem by Erin Clemens

Blogs I like

Here is a handful of blogs that I like. Each voice is unique, and I urge you to check all of these out. It also seems more common, especially among adult-diagnosed autistics, for female and/or non-binary people to blog about their experiences – perhaps because we feel ourselves to be ‘invisible’ in the more mainstream autism narratives. But hopefully that’s starting to change.

I have, however, made a semi-conscious decision to focus mainly on female/NB bloggers here (there are one or two male bloggers in here, from otherwise marginalised groups), although there are some very good blogs by male autists out there as well, of course.

I am also trying, gradually, to make this list less white. Even amongst us marginalised, underrepresented autistics who are female, non-binary or trans, there is further underrepresentation when it comes to autistic people of colour. As a white person, I have managed to find lots of blogs by autistic women who are very much like me, but I’m trying to seek out, and signal boost, more diverse voices.

For simplicity’s sake (because I’m in the app a lot), I have mostly listed WordPress blogs for the time being, but other blogging platforms are, of course, available.

Apologies to those wonderful bloggers I follow and interact with, whom I’ve missed out for now – there are absolutely loads of others. I will keep adding to this list, as and when I have the time and energy. In the meantime:

Twitter

Autistic Twitter can be (I use this verb combo as a quantifier, rather than stating unequivocally that it is) a fabulous and supportive, if sometimes very opinionated place. I go through phases of wanting to avoid it entirely as it all gets very emotive and political and this tends to play havoc with my anxiety, but I have still made contact with some wonderful people, including some I now count as good friends, and I’ve learned a lot at times through being on there. I’d recommend checking out these hashtags as a starting point when looking for people to follow:

  • #ActuallyAutistic
  • #AskingAutistics
  • #SheCantBeAutistic
  • #AutisticsInAcademia
  • #AutisticParent (note: this relates to, and is used by, parents who are autistic – whether formally or self-identified; whether or not their children are – and not relating to non-autistic “autism parents”. Note also the lack of “s” on the end of the hashtag.)

Autistic people are also rather good at hijacking cringeworthy neurotypical-created hashtags, both for shits ‘n’ giggles and to make a serious point about their absurdity (and sometimes downright offensiveness). Great examples include #livingwithautism and #touchedbyautism.

One of the most useful single thingummies on Twitter is something called #autchat, which takes place every Sunday afternoon/evening (depending on where you are in the world, but generally more North America/Europe-oriented).

A different topic every week (although they are repeated from time to time), with pre-planned questions – I’ve found this a huge source of support, information, and validation. #autchat is open to anyone who is autistic or similarly neurodivergent, including those who are self-diagnosed. It’s run by @autchatmods. Transcripts of each chat are published as Storifies, and scheduled topics and planned questions are published on the #autchat website.

What about books?

…I hear you ask.

Well,  I’d been meaning to collate a list, but as I haven’t had time, and someone else has already done such a good job, I thought I’d just link straight through to theirs. The Autistic Zebra has reviewed many, many books by #ActuallyAutistic writers – see the full list on this page. I take absolutely no credit for this list, but I simply acknowledge that it contains some really good things to read, and I suggest that you check it out.

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