Home Mental Health & Well-Being Unapologetically Autistic: A Huge Collection of Quotes from Autistic People’s Instagrams (Part 1)

Unapologetically Autistic: A Huge Collection of Quotes from Autistic People’s Instagrams (Part 1)

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This is part one of a big quote compilation featuring insights from autistic content creators on Instagram. You can find more of their content by following the links under the quotes.

Although I’ve tried my best to include voices from groups experiencing different forms of intersectionality, I am aware that there is still an over-representation of the following experience of autism (which is already pretty well depicted online):

  • High-masking
  • Late-identified/late-diagnosed
  • Low support needs, LSN
  • Female
  • (Obviously, English users)
  • (Obviously, because this is my experience)

Basically, the autistic community is certainly not a monolith, and no sub-group within it is either. Each individual just represents their particular experience with autism.

I hope you find it illuminating!

Here is a glossary from Reframing Autism.

“Whether you are Autistic, formally diagnosed, self-identified or think you might be Autistic, a family member or loved one of an Autistic person, a researcher, teacher, other professional, or ally… we hope you learn something new or deepen and extend your existing knowledge of Autism and the Autistic community.”

Reframing Autism, @reframing.autism

What is autism?

Autism is like cake

“Autism is like cake. It can come in many different flavors, slices, sizes, shapes, types, or ingredients; but at the end of the day, it’s still cake! Someone’s autism might look different from the outside or result in different types of behaviors, but at the end of the day, it’s still autism.”

Embrace Autism, @embrace.autism

Autism is neurological/neurodevelopmental, and not a mental health condition

“Autism is not a mental health condition. Autism is a lifelong developmental condition. Whilst, like any person, autistic people can have good or bad mental health at any given time, we are at greater risk of developing a mental health condition over our lifetimes. According to research conducted by the autism charity Autistica, 80% of autistic adults experience mental health issues during their lives compared to 25% of the general population.”

Charlie Rewilding, @charlierewilding

Autism is not a choice <3

“Autism is not a choice. It cannot be cured. It is… not a disease, not an excuse, not a mental illness, not a trend, not a stigma, not a bad word. It is… not something you can grow out of, not something you can rip out of a person, not something you can put down when you get home, not something you can get over, not something to be ashamed of. It is… human, hard, beautiful. I’m autistic, I’m disabled, I’m proud.”

Lil Penguin Studios, @autism_happy_place

Cultural and racial intersectionality

Overlooked

“I think being Asian and autistic means my autism was overlooked due to my autistic traits being attributed to my Asianness. Being quiet, reserved, and nerdy fit the Asian stereotype, and my social awkwardness could be attributed to cultural differences.”

Ellin Park, @autistic.qualia

(If you’re wondering whether you are autistic, try the Autism Self-Assessment Workbook.)

Asian, female, and autistic

“Most Asian family dynamics are often patriarchal and favor male children, so if you’re a woman, there is a higher chance of you being perceived negatively for speaking out, not obeying authority, and advocating for yourself, and you’re less likely to receive medical validation.”

Janelle Lee-McGarraugh, @diversity_in_neurodiversity

Cultural stigmatisation

“In Chinese culture, autism is heavily stigmatized as it is perceived to be shameful, causing an individual or family to “lose face” in society. In other words, autism is considered to be a bad thing and this attitude is extremely apparent on Google: When you search for “autism” in English, you get a variety of images – many of them are colourful, positive, and you see a lot of happy children. However, when you search for “” (autism in Chinese), you basically only get dejected-looking children and other depressing images.”

LIS, @junkyardfrog

Struggles as an autistic Asian minority

“the autistic community has done a lot of good – but it has left some groups on the sides and is missing a lot of things. i am asian, and i’ve found that asian autistic experiences are scarce – both from asian autistics themselves, and from non-asian autistics acknowledging how asian experiences may differ from theirs.”

flappyfroggie, @flappyfroggie

Barrier

“If you are not male and White you may have a barrier to an autism diagnosis.”

Vishal Bal, @browngalspectrum

Being an autistic Black female

“Constantly being questioned about your identity. Having to both mask and code switch to survive. Feeling boxed in by the multiple biases and assumptions. Dealing with people painting you as the “angry Black woman” that you know you are not. Feeling pressured to live up to the unrealistic stereotype of a strong-at-all-times black woman. Being overlooked by doctors because of the lack of research and education. Not feeling seen. Tired of the media focusing on the autistic white male narrative.”

NADIA, @autisticblackgirl

Multiracial and autistic

“I’m often confused by how people somehow manage to fit into identity boxes. In those boxes, there are more people who they can relate to. As a Black multiracial woman who is queer and Autistic, I sometimes feel like I’m in my own box. All by myself … My body, movements, patterns of speech, and interests are often labeled by others as Black or white. I have had people tell me their personal decision on whether I am more Black or more white – without me asking for their opinion. I am proud to be Black, and I acknowledge the privilege that comes with being white. I am multi-racial, and I am also neuro-divergent. My brain, body, and cultural background are all different. My “box” is very different.”

Lauren Melissa Ellzey, @autienelle

Why you should follow BIPOC autistics

“One aspect of autism that we don’t talk about is the real reason you should be following BIPOC community members in this space … You should be including BIPOC in your content curation because you’re going to get a well-rounded perspective of autism. For example, there’s nobody that holds down masking better than POCs, because the amount of times we get marginalized within a given day. For example, I have to mask my voice so it’s nice and pleasant for folks, because it’s just easier for people to digest and doesn’t threaten people.”

Ryan Perez, @digitalstemcell

Late-identified/diagnosed female autistics

So many females receive the diagnosis late (if ever)

“Girls who don’t get diagnosed tend not to have readily observable co-occurring difficulties, such as hyperactivity. But many girls and women receive other (sometimes incorrect) diagnoses instead of, or before, an autism diagnosis. Many women who receive their autism diagnosis in adulthood have had various other diagnoses including anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders, borderline personality disorder, OCD, and eating disorders, where the underlying cause is likely autism.”

Much Much Spectrum, @muchmuchspectrum

Boy/girl health disparities and diagnostic sexism

“Boy 4yo…autistic! Girl 4yo…shy… Boy 16yo…autistic! Girl 16yo…bpd… Male 20yo…autistic! Female 20yo…bipolar… Male 25yo…autistic! Female 25yo…got an ASD diagnosis but “probably misdiagnosed bc it’s just a trend and she wants attention”.”

Autism World, @autismrworld (via X: @neurosqueak)

Clinician tips for spotting autism in undiagnosed women

“They can mask and present as allistic (not autistic) for several hours and typical autism assessment instruments are unable to detect autism in them so assessments should last several hours or across numerous appointments to fatigue them and reduce masking abilities.”

Kathleen Duncan, @anautisticguide

Autistic masking and camoflauging

Why so many autistics mask

“To avoid being judged by others. Peer pressure within our ‘friendship’ group. To get others to take our work seriously. To feel less alone in the world. To avoid the stigmatisation related to Autism. To get a job, stay in employment, and get promoted. Internal stigmatisation. To avoid experiencing verbal or physical abuse.”

Autisticly Me!, @autisticlyme.blog

The saddest thing about masking?

“Do you know what is the saddest thing about Autistic Masking? It’s not the exhaustion, anxiety or even the identity confusion it’s the fact that you nearly kill yourself doing it and people still think you’re weird. You learn every social rule and they still reject you anyway.”

Autism World, @autismrworld (via X: @SaltyAutistic)

Diagnosis equals: how troublesome are you?

“I feel like autism and adhd are diagnosed based upon how troublesome you are to others. and that’s why people who masked are missed.”

Neurodivergent Minds, @neurominds_ (via X: @Seasonal_Bitch)

Always was, always will be

“No, love, I’m not “getting more autistic” since diagnosis. I’m just hiding it less.”

Autistic Flair, @autisticflair

Neurotypical judgements

Sigh

“Neurotypicals: why are you so weird? you’re really weird. Me: i’m autistic. Neurotypicals: but then why are you so normal? you’re really normal.”

Autism World, @autismrworld

Please update your (medical) records

“To anyone who ever considered me weird, lazy, shy, anti-social, too much, too dramatic, attention-seeking, ill behaved, rude, obsessive, or annoying, I am in fact, autistic. Please update your records accordingly.”

Steph Jones, @autistic_therapist

Autism and “likeability”

“The studies revealed that NT assessors [without knowing who was autistic or not] generally viewed the autistic child and adult participants as less likeable than the NT participants within seconds of being exposed to them, and that these unfavourable first impressions did not change with increased exposure to the participants. Also, the NT assessors were found to be less interested in pursuing social interactions with the autistic participants than the NT participants.”

Callum Stephen, @autistic_callum

A strange horse or a normal zebra

““Why do you need a label?” Bc there is comfort in knowing you are a normal zebra, not a strange horse. Bc you can’t find community w other zebras if you don’t know you belong. And bc it is impossible for a zebra to be happy or healthy spending its life feeling like a failed horse.”

OMG I’m Autistic AF, @omgimautisticaf

Autism and being judged as “childish” or “immature”

“Many traits and things that are common among autistic people are often seen as ‘childish’ in the neurotypical world. In reality, these things are incredibly important for the wellbeing of autistic adults and children and help in preventing meltdowns/shutdowns/burnout.”

LiL Penguin Studios, @autism_happy_place

Bullshit politics of neurotypical society

“As autists we need to come up with our own definitions of friendship, relationship, community and career – free from the bullshit politics of neurotypical socety. We need to make our own social rules. Rules based on kindness. For to be kind – is to be clear and truthful. Imagine relationships, a community, friends, where you don’t have to guess how they feel.”

Luca Aria, @asianjohnnycash

The freedom to openly stim

“Stimpunks combines “stimming” + “punks” to evoke open and proud stimming, resistance to neurotypicalization, and the DIY culture of punk, disabled, and neurodivergent communities. Instead of hiding our stims, we bring them to the front.”

Stimpunks, @stimpunks

Being a good ally

“Being an ally goes further than just not adding to the collective harms the Autistic community experiences. Rather, it encompasses actively taking steps to combat the stigma, discrimination, exclusion, and oppression that Autistic people have faced and continue to face.”

Reframing Autism, @reframing_autism

(Here is their website.)

Ableism and disability 

Do you have internalised ableism? A list

“7 signs you may have internalized ableism

  1. You work hard to hide your neurodivergence from others and yourself
  2. Despite your strengths, you feel like you’re not good at anything
  3. You feel like you don’t “deserve” accommodations and insist on keeping up with neurotypical norms
  4. You feel the need to prove your neurodivergence” [Yep, that’s me!]

Method Creative (Wellness), @method.creative.mpls

Same ableism

“Criticising an Autistic person for having narrow interests, being blunt, misunderstanding context, looking away, fidgeting, being over-sensitive and struggling to communicate is the same as criticising a wheelchair user for not walking. Your ableism is exhausting.”

Autism World, @autismrworld (via X: @SaltyAutistic)

Feel like you’re not “disabled enough”?

“Your experience of disability is valid, whether it’s through mental health, chronic pain, neurodivergence or other invisible disabilities. You know best how your disability is impacting you.”

So, You’re Disabled?, @soyouredisabled

What is disability justice?

“Disability justice recognizes the intersecting legacies of white supremacy, colonial capitalism, gendered oppression and ableism in understanding how people’s bodies and minds are labelled ‘deviant’, ‘unproductive’, ‘disposable’ and/or ‘invalid’, from Project LETS.”

The Autistic Care Collective (ACC), @theautisticcarecollective

Disability justice (again)

“Everyone loves Disability Justice; no one wants to do it.”

Leahlakshmiwrites, @leahlakshmiwrites

Your worth

“Your worth isn’t defined by your contribution to capitalism.”

emily, @emily.a.foster

A natural condition can also be disabling

“Two things can be true. Autism can be a natural variant of the human condition and also disabling. Same with aging period. Disability is something that all of us will know if we have the privilege to live long enough.”

Tiffany L Hammond, @fidgets.and.fries

The autistic community and MSN/HSN autistics

Broad statements

“When discussing autism, I try to be mindful about whether the statements I’m making apply broadly. If a statement about autistic people doesn’t take into account the existence of nonspeakers, autistics of color/the global majority, LGBTQ+ autistics, etc… then it’s not accurate.”

The Autisticats, @the.autisticats

Treated like shit

“To start off, the community treats those who are self diagnosed and early diagnosed like shit. Early diagnosed people get treated like they’re trying to be “the most autistic”. And self diagnosed people are told they’re faking. Low need autistic people treat high need autistic people like shit. They fakeclaim them, accuse them of infantilizing ASD and more. There are some autistic people who do fit the “stereotypes” of ASD and often time they treat others who don’t like shit. Autism is a spectrum. The spectrum you’re experiencing does not make you more autistic than someone else.”

feral_jesters, @feral_jesters

The medium- and high-support-needs labels

“Most of the people shaming the support needs labels vocabulary do so because they haven’t faced the kind of discrimination that MSN and HSN autistics do; they feel as if acknowledging other forms of discrimination invalidates their experiences. Most of them are low support needs. Nobody is saying that LSN autistic people are “less autistic” or less worthy of support.”

The Angry Autist, @angry_autist

Dis-order

“Stating the very real, colonialist and eugenicist history of the word disorder DOES NOT MEAN AUTISM ISN’T A DISABILITY. Rejecting the inherent implications of the word “disorder” DOES NOT mean a rejection of the very real disabling aspect of autism.”

The Angry Autist, @angry_autist

Eugenics

“When people say they’re against eugenics because (for example) altering autistic people’s genes might “accidentally get rid of special talents and skills”… They aren’t actually anti-eugenics. In fact, that argument is very much in line with the core ideas of eugenics. When people say “Autism shouldn’t be eradicated because…” and then follow up that statement with things like: – “Autistic people are intelligent” – “Autistic people can be productive” – “Autistic people have special talents” – “Autistic people can be independent”…  They are doing two things: 1. Feeding into the idea that a disabled person’s worth comes from how well they can be exploited economically 2. Erasing autistic people who don’t fit those criteria, and implying that it would be okay for *those* people not to exist.”

The Autisticats, @the.autisticats

Non-speaking autistics

“I don’t listen to nor trust professionals, families, or Autistic people who think they know a damn thing about autism but have zero nonspeaking Autistic people in their lives nor at least follow online. They are highly unserious in their advocacy and they don’t have the range to discuss a lot. I hate shallow advocacy.”

Tiffany, @nigh.functioning.autism

Some (usually MSN and HSN) autists experience autism as a disorder

“First and foremost, how you identify is your personal choice and preference and not something others should have a say in … But denying that autism is a disorder overall, speaks over and ignores the voices of high and moderate needs individuals and erases the perspective of the most marginalized in our community. The majority of high and moderate supports need individuals do view their autism as a disorder. High and moderate support autistics have very different experiences from low needs autistics, and that is completely okay.”

AnOrdinaryDisabledLesbian, @anordinarydisabledlesbian

LSNs and the social model of disability

“I’ll just say this about a majority of the autistic folks I’ve seen agreeing with the social model of disability – they tend to be white, cisgender, able-bodied, speaking, and have low support needs. So, I can imagine that maybe they don’t feel very disabled by their autism a lot of the time. But that’s a privilege and is just not the experience for a majority of autistic folks – ones who don’t tend to have as big of a platform or voice in the community.”

Getaway Autist Mobile, @getaway_autist_mobile

Non-speakers’ resilience

“We nonspeakers are so strong and so resilient, and we keep trying and hoping and living through the immense challenges we face. Each thing we struggle with is not a weakness only, but also a profound strength. And much of that struggle, we cope with internally on our own.”

Danny Whitty, @dannywithwords

Misinterpreted

“If I don’t phrase my posts in a way that 40,000 people can accurately interpret, I have to spend a ton of energy explaining myself & insisting I know what I meant. Expecting me, an autistic person, to communicate things in a way 40,000 other people, many of which are autistic, won’t misinterpret is really unrealistic. Expecting me to predict every way 40,000 people can or will misinterpret what I’m saying is unrealistic.”

OMG I’m Autistic AF, @omgimautisticaf

Continued in part two.


Monique Moate is a writer, editor, wife, cat mum, and night owl who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics. She cares about mental health awareness and destigmatisation.

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