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I was on Amazon today and I got a pop up saying Amazon would donate to a charity of my choice with certain purchases. And ASAN was an option! Autism Women’s Network was also a choice. You have to search for them, they don’t come up right when you click on the pop up. Just thought I would inform the #actuallyautistic tag about this. It’s not a huge percentage donated but if you shop on Amazon a lot it can add up. And they don’t charge you, so I can’t think of a reason not to.

Also putting this in the #autism tag so I can remind allistics: Please pick one of these charities instead of Autism Speaks! (I didn’t check to see if it’s an option but I assume it is if these smaller charities are).

Though it did cross my mind if that this is an April Fools joke, though it would be a really cruel one…

Edit: This article makes a good point so be careful to keep this in mind if you sign up.

it’s a real thing! We are indeed on there! While we’d love to get donations directly, if you are a regular Amazon shopper it certainly doesn’t hurt to just make this a part of your routine. (They also periodically will have a special day or week where they’ll make bonus donations which is pretty nice.)

Just as a side note, you do have to shop from smile.amazon.com instead of shop.amazon.com otherwise your purchases won’t contribute a donation.

is typing in a more slang way and using many abbreviations, or is generally lazy attitude to communications on the internet a common trait? its always been much more logical to type as little as possible bc im super lazy, and makes conveying tone easier bc god knos im im bad enough at that as it is. it just seems itd be more prevalent than it seems to be

Asked by Anonymous

I’d be surprised if it’s an autistic trait specifically, but it seems pretty common in general. 

I just got tested, and didn't get a dx. ivelooked at the criteria in the DSM V before, and I fit ASD in just about every way. I more than meet the dx criteria, and my therapist agrees. But I didn’t get the diagnosis. I feel cheated out of so many helpful things, including boosting my own self worth. Now I’m just a freak with problems that aren’t explained, like I’ve always been. I feel like if the doctor could live in my mind, or follow me around for a week, she’d give me the dx in a heartbeat.

Asked by Anonymous

If you are really confident you’re autistic and you can, I’d say go for a second opinion.

There are quite a few myths going around that can really hinder you getting a diagnosis.

It is common practice to not diagnose female-presenting autistics as the traits are often viewed as “cute quirks” or otherwise acceptable.

There are a lot of counselors who claim that only white people can be autistic.  (My 1/7 Native American heritage almost lost me this diagnosis.)

If you have other diagnoses like ADD/ADHD, OCD, BPD or really any mental disability, your counselor will often try to say that your autistic traits are a result of that diagnosis only (when often things like ADD/ADHD, OCD, and SPD are diagnosed where ASD should be diagnosed instead).

There are also two practices that are becoming more common now that the DSM-5 has been implemented (these being a result of a misunderstanding of the change to a general ASD diagnosis).

The first is the idea that you cannot be diagnosed as an adult.  As I understand it, there are no longer separate tests for different age groups as traits are now classified by current or history of symptoms rather than just current.

The other is that since the separate diagnoses for Asperger’s and PDD-NOS have been removed, a lot of counselors believe that the diagnosis is only applicable to those classified as “low-functioning”.  This means that if you have an average to above average IQ, if you’ve shown no language delays when you were younger, or for some other reason that probably makes just as little sense, you’re at a disadvantage for getting diagnosed.

If you can, find out why you weren’t diagnosed and remember that it never hurts to get a second opinion.

If anybody would like to add to or correct any information here, please do so.


I'm Aspergian, and I suspect a close friend (and possibly another of her family members) might have autism. Should I bring the possibility up in conversation or just leave it lie?

Asked by Anonymous

Personally, I think it’s probably better to just leave it lie.  It’s an area that other people tend to feel uncomfortable with people getting into and it can get pretty awkward especially if you’re left unsuccessfully trying to explain why calling someone autistic isn’t an insult.


I really don't mean to bother you, but do you accept questions about Autism Speaks?

Asked by Anonymous

If you mean “so what horrible stuff did they do this time,” possibly?

I’ve actually got a whole “Problem with Autism Speaks” tag on my blogspot-Alyssa

ACI Alumni Mat’thew on ACI 2013:


ACI for me was—most of all—an experience of validation. I felt much more secure in my identity as an autistic person and finally being in a community—beyond just an online community—played a huge part in that. ACI was the most supportive and comfortable environment I have ever found myself in as an autistic person.

Learning about various issues related to the disability community was different at ACI from what I had experienced in the past. Disability history was far more interesting to learn from ACI than from school and the more in-depth discussions we had about different things related to disability—such as assistive technology and accommodations—have given me a new insight not just on what resources I can or do use in relation to my own disability, but also how I can support other people with disabilities.

The different seminars on leadership and different ways to get involved in self-advocacy has also been very helpful in both validating what I have previously been unsure of what I’m doing right and shown me ways that I can get even more involved in ways I had not even yet considered. I have come away from ACI with a new motivation and understanding in what I can do to advocate for myself and others and how I can play a part in furthering the cause of the greater disability community both on my college campus and in my future.

The application deadline for ACI 2014 is SATURDAY, February 22nd- this Saturday! We are looking for autistic college students of all abilities and backgrounds who have an interest in civil rights and activism for people with disabilities. (You also have to be from the US, Puerto Rico, or Canada.) Please check out the description on our website and consider filling out an application!

Just bringing this up again for anyone who may be interested.  Two days left.



[Image is a poster explaining briefly the origin and meaning of green, yellow, and red interaction signal badges, referred to above as Color Communication Badges.]







if youre not autistic or suffer from an actual disorder, dont use these. its not cute.

er… you know a lot of autistic people go to conventions, right? And people with social anxiety disorders and panic disorders? Shit if I could get away with using this at work I would. 

Hello there, justsjwthings.

I would like to introduce myself.  I refer to myself as Sam Thomas, though my legal name and how a lot of people know me is Matthew.  I am officially diagnosed autistic.

Over one week in June 2013 (last summer), I was in Washington, DC for an autism conference called the Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) summer leadership program run by the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network for autistic college students.

If you have any question as to the truth of this, I would like to direct your attention to this YouTube video that ASAN produced promoting the above-mentioned conference.  I appear as the first person in the video and you can find more images of my face on my blog.

At this conference, not only did we use these communication badges pictured above, but we actually had the opportunity to meet Jim Sinclair, the inventor of these badges.

During the part of the conference in which Jim Sinclair gave us a history of Autism Network International (ANI)—which they were a co-founder of—they talked to us about the establishment of this particular piece of assistive technology.  Basically, it was a simple idea that seemed to fit a need and quickly became very popular among many autistic spaces for it’s practicality and ease of use.

The conference it originated from is called Autreat and is held annually by ANI. This is an autism conference that accepts Autistics and Cousins (ACs)—that is, anyone diagnosed or otherwise self-identifying with any disorder autistic or similar that may share a number of autistic traits.

There was a need.  The need was met.  This is how we can safely assume most technology either emerges or becomes popular.

We also talked about something called Universal Design and the Curb-Cutter Effect.  The Curb-Cutter Effect is when something to fit a specific need is found to create convenience in a broader area than intended.  Curb cuts allowing for wheelchair accessibility to sidewalks proved to also be convenient to anyone who may have trouble with steps or even simply a mother with a baby stroller or maybe a child with a wagon.  This is a desirable outcome with disability rights advocacy as creating convenience for non-disabled people often makes the assistive technology easier to advocate for.

In this sense, these colored communication badges could serve that Curb-Cutter effect.  Not only would this be perfectly acceptable for non-disabled people to use for convenience, but would also help to increase their effectiveness and convenience for those of us who need them.  Here are a few examples:

  • Increased popularity makes the colored communication badges more easily recognizable to the general public, making them as effective outside the above-mentioned autism conferences as inside.
  • Increase in demand would create increase in supply and availability, likely making these available to pretty much anyone and even being included with, say, the name tags you are required to wear at most cons.
  • In addition to these helping people recognize the communication state of the wearer, the wearer will be able to recognize whom they can feel more comfortable to approach.
  • Increased popularity would make these badges more acceptable for public use and less alienating to those who would wear them frequently.

This is not something that we are completely incapable of surviving without; this is something that was convenient and made our lives a lot easier.  If that can be easily shared with the general public, then what purpose does it serve not to share it?

Thank you for reading.

I think I’ve left some good information in this response and it may be a good read for some of our followers.  Just a bit of history and a couple concepts in disability advocacy.




Autistic Self Advocacy Network: Autism Campus Inclusion Leadership Academy

ASAN’s Summer Leadership Academy prepares autistic college students to go back to their campus and create real change for other autistic students as well as other people with disabilities. Students receive training from leaders in the Autistic & Disability Rights communities and in community organizing. In this video, some of our 2013 alumni share their experiences.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network is now accepting applications for our 2014 Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Leadership Academy.  

ACI prepares Autistic students to create systems change on their college campuses. Participants acquire valuable skills in community organizing, policy formation, and grassroots & campus-based activism.  Alumni receive support and technical assistance in implementing their advocacy goals following the training.  The Academy will take place from June 8 to June 14, 2014.    

Download the flyer or watch this video of our 2013 alumni for more information!

ASAN especially encourages applications from members of traditionally underserved communities, including nonspeaking autistics, autistics with intellectual disabilities, and autistics of color.  We are already receiving applications!  The deadline for application submissions is February 22, 2014!   


To apply, please submit a completed application to Natalia Rivera Morales at NRiveraMorales@autisticadvocacy.org with the subject line “2014 ACI Application”.

If you need assistance or accommodations at any stage, please contact Natalia Rivera Morales at NRiveraMorales@autisticadvocacy.org.

Just a reminder that the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network is currently accepting applications for this year’s Autistic Campus Inclusion Summer Leadership Program.

[Image is a picture of genderhawk in a store surrounded by hats, wearing an alligator/crocodile hat.]

I am an autistic alligator.

I was at the flea market with a bunch of friends, and we were at this hat stall and one of my friends put this hat on and of course I got excited, the crocodilian family being my VERY FIRST special interest.  It fits like a hood and has those hangy-down pockets like the expensive stim-scarves I’ve seen and it’s made of the BEST fabric with this rougher patch on one side of the pockets that also feels REALLY neat…  But I digress

The friend who found it saw my reaction, found out the price, and then bought it for me.  Or, bought two thirds for me, I paid five out of fifteen dollars for it.  NOW ITS MINE.

The rest of the day, twelve hours, was devoted to enjoying the flea market and happy stimming and occasionally reciting “How Doth The Little Crocodile” by Lewis Carrol or singing “Never Smile at a Crocodile.”


Submission by genderhawk

That is a wonderful hat.  You are now a real live autistic alligator!  Or crocodile.  I don’t know how to tell the difference with a hat…


If I submit the names of books can you or your followers tell me what they think of them and if they have read them?

Asked by Anonymous

Sure!  Go ahead!


Can I message you off anonymous about the The Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Summer Leadership Academy, a project of the Autism Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)? It sounds really interesting.

Asked by Anonymous

Absolutely!  I recommend fanmail to avoid character limits.

I did this last year and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.  I highly recommend people to apply.


I am afraid the people I want to mention in a message will discover the message and link it back to me even if I don't use their names. I don't know what to do though because I would love to help other people out.

Asked by Anonymous

Helping other people out is great, but don’t put yourself at risk for it.  Your safety is also important.

If you don’t think there’s a way around people finding out and you don’t feel safe with people finding out—I know this probably isn’t the answer you want to hear—then I don’t think you’re ready to help yet.

The decision is yours.  I don’t think I can really offer you any other options.


I love reading all of the questions and comments people submit. They help me reinforce the quote "If you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism."

Asked by Anonymous

I’m glad the blog helps you.  Honestly, though, that quote bothers me.  It’s not that I disagree with it.

I feel like that quote’s most common use has become a way of separating the community and trying to invalidate autistic people’s experiences and input as valuable to support for other autistic people.

The whole reason for the quote was to say something that I feel should have been obvious for the beginning.  People are different.  We aren’t a collection of stereotypes and specific types.  This is human nature.  It is an unbroken rule.  What the quote said was something that should have been implied.

Even so, it did need to be said at some point.  I really wish had worked as it was supposed to.


Is there a way for you to restrict who can see a message if I want to submit a reply to a question anonymously?

Asked by Anonymous

You are welcome to reply by sending in an anonymous ask.  Anyone can see it, but that’s really all I can do.  If you want only one person to see it, you can try going to their blog and sending them an ask noting you want it to go unpublished or fanmail if you follow them.  I know that doesn’t help much if they’re on anonymous.