I’m an autistic art therapist who works with adults who just discovered they are autistic. I say “discovered,” because it does not take a formal diagnosis to know you’re autistic. Furthermore, the DSM-5 symptoms for Autism Spectrum Disorder do not fully describe the lived experience of many autistic folx.
Thanks to the growing neurodiversity movement, we are gaining greater insight into autism and more autistic people are able to self-identify.
It is still a dizzying experience to discern if you are autistic and then integrate that understanding into your life.
In an effort to provide more concrete examples of the lived experience of learning you’re autistic as an adult, I will be doing written interviews with autistic folx.
My purpose is many:
Help newly identified autistic adults feel less alone in their experiences
Assist individuals who are trying to discern if they are autistic
Provide an opportunity for autistic folx to articulate their experiences in written form
Provide the public with a better understanding of autism
I’ve designed a written questionnaire that will contain required questions and optional questions. I'm choosing a written interview format because I know many autistic people want time to process, think, and respond.
If you’re reading this, I would love your critical eye and assistance in formulating more questions. Are there additional questions that would help accomplish my above purposes? Are there ways I can refine or clarify my questions?
What is your preferred name?
How old were you when you learned you were autistic? (If you want to protect your privacy, you may say “In my 40’s”)
What other identities are important to you?
Optional Questions: (please select at least 3)
How did you learn you were autistic?
What do you feel autism adds to your life?
What are some of the challenges you face in being autistic?
How do you describe autism to people who are not familiar with it?
How has your identification as autistic changed how you view your childhood?
In what ways does being autistic enhance your life?
What are ways you camouflaged or masked?
What do you wish others knew about autism?
What are some of the things you’re passionate about?
What helps you cope during moments of overwhelm?
How do you prevent overwhelm?
What is your advice for someone who thinks they might be autistic?
What do you do for work?
Are there any books or articles you would recommend for people who just learned they’re autistic?
Did you seek out therapy, coaching, or other forms of structured support for autism?
If someone would like to connect with you, how can they reach you?
Do you have any works, websites, or other creative ventures you would like to share with others? (please provide links)
You may include images of yourself or artwork/photos that you feel reflect your personal experience. For legal purposes, they must be your own art/photos.
Thank you for the help. You may leave edits in the comments.
If you would be willing to be interviewed for my series,
please email me at email@example.com