It’s an exciting time to be autistic. The field is expanding rapidly and a neurodiverse lens is helping more and more people understand themselves and see they are autistic.
It can still be a confusing journey though, and we need more short, straightforward depictions of late identified autistics. We need more stories and experiences so unidentified autistics can find themselves and neurotypicals can understand what it’s like to be autistic.
In June 2022, I came up with the idea to do written interviews with late-identified autistic individuals. In short, I send an individual a list of written questions, they choose which they would like to answer, and they write their responses. I chose this format because I know autistics need time to think, process, and write. I also needed an interview process that didn’t require high levels of interaction and energy from me. I also thought it would be interesting to see how different people answered the same questions.
I shared my interview questions in an essay, hoping to develop an interesting set of questions. As I started doing interviews, I realized different questions that could be tweaked or added.
I’ve now completed 10 interviews. My interview questions have evolved significantly and I think this is a good time to check in with the public again. Below are the questions that I send for my interview. I would love feedback to improve the phrasing of questions. I would also love to know if there are questions you would like me to add.
What is your preferred name (you may also choose anonymous)?
How old were you when you learned you were autistic? (If you want to protect your privacy, you may select a decade “In my 40’s”)
Optional Questions: Please answer at least 5. You may answer as many as you want
Learning You are Autistic
How did you learn you are autistic?
How did you decide whether to self-identify or diagnose?
How did you feel when you learned you were autistic?
What is your gender? How do you feel this impacted your journey as an autistic individual?
How did any other of your identities (ex. race, religion, sexuality, etc.) impact your late identification as autistic?
How did your friends and family respond when you told them you are autistic?
Did you seek out therapy, coaching, or other forms of structured support for autism?
How has learning you are autistic impacted your life?
Your Current Life
How have you modified or adapted your life since learning you’re autistic?
In what ways does being autistic enhance your life?
What are some topics or activities you’re passionate about?
What does a typical day look like for you?
If you work, what do you do for work?
Is there anyone else in your family who is autistic?
What are some of the challenges you face in being autistic?
What helps you prevent or cope with moments of overwhelm?
What skills or strategies have helped you to work with your autistic mind?
How does your autistic identity impact your friendships?
How does your autistic identity impact your romantic relationships?
What is your experience with medical systems? Are there ways you feel they can be improved for autistic individuals?
How did being an undiagnosed autistic child impact your childhood?
What ways did you camouflage or mask?
How has your identification as autistic changed how you view your childhood or earlier periods of adulthood?
How did being an undiagnosed autistic impact romantic relationships?
Talking to Others About Autism
How do you describe autism to people who are not familiar with it?
What do you wish others knew about autism?
What is your advice for someone who thinks they might be autistic?
Are there any resources (books, articles, videos, etc.) you would recommend for people who just learned they’re autistic?
Are there any resources (books, articles, videos, etc.) you would recommend for people who are exploring if they might be autistic?
Are there any autistic characters in books, tv, or movies that accurately reflect autism? Which ones?
Connecting with You
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)
Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. I am still looking for more late-identified autistics to complete interviews. If you would like to participate, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org