One thing I have noticed is what people say when they find out that I am HFA. Most are people that I love and respect. However, some of what they say is inappropriate to ask. For example, “You don’t look autistic “. What does an autistic look like? Or, “You don’t act autistic “. Or, “You have been such a success. You can’t be autistic “. I have a good friend who, when she heard my diagnosis, said “It must be wrong. You aren’t autistic!”.
The website Ask An Autistic, with Amythest Schaber has a show about what not to say. This includes the dreaded “Look at me when I am talking to you ” and all the ways autistics are verbally punished for stimming behaviours. Ignorance fuels this type of behaviour. People mean well but they seem to operate on stereotypes. Most older HFAs “pass” as NTs. I am not comfortable passing. I passed as an NT for decades without knowing about my autism. My autism is as much a part of me as are my toes. I celebrate my autism and no longer find passing acceptable. I try to be tolerant of others, something I didn’t do very well before my diagnosis. I now understand the need for tolerance of everyone, including well meaning friends.
Here is a link to Ask An Autistic. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAoYMFsyj_k1ApNj_QUkNgKC1R5F9bVHs . I have not received permission to post this but I don’t think there would be a problem.