In my original post (“The Silent Wave“)–and several other posts–I mentioned stumbling (quite happily) across a bunch of blogs, most of which were written by other adult females on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum. I described how they seemed to wrap me up in a warm security blanket, comforting me, supporting me, and bringing serenity, peace, healing, validation, and liberation.
The truth is, those blogs brought healing equivalent to about 10 years of therapy, over the course of a matter of weeks to a couple months.
Those blogs also gave me something else: incredible inspiration. Witnessing and basking in the beauty and eloquence those authors generously released into the cyberscape, I wanted (very much) to give back, pay it forward, and join in. So, I started this blog about a month after my own Asperger’s discovery.
It’s high time I gave those blogs and articles a shout-out, the recognition that they so incredibly deserve.
I’ll start with the blogs and posts that I came across first, and then I’ll also link to several of my favorite later finds. (If your blog isn’t mentioned in this post, don’t worry! I’ll try to come up with a more complete list in the future. 🙂 ) Most of the sources I’ve linked to are written by females on the autism spectrum, although not all. I’ve also included links to some of the contemporary allistic-but-neurodiversity-supportive experts, as well as some blogs written by males on the spectrum.
After beginning to suspect that I might actually be on the spectrum and taking my first questionnaires (which returned an unquestionably positive result), my first inclination–naturally–was to research various Asperger’s/autistic traits in females.
One of the first resources I found (luckily for me) was Samantha Craft’s Everyday Asperger’s blog (a blog that she has since retired and moved to Everyday Aspie) ; her post “Asperger’s Traits (Women, Females, Girls)” was incredibly informative. Right from the start, with the first item (“We are deep philosophical thinkers and writers”), I knew I had found my “tribe”. I started beaming, a smile that spread increasingly wider as I continued reading (“We are escape artists”; god, yes!). Her “unofficial checklist” (her words) “Females with Asperger Syndrome Checklist” is also uncannily accurate.
Early on, I also found Tania Marshall’s blog; Google took me right to her posts “Moving Towards a Female Profile: The Unique Characteristics, Abilities, and Talents of Young Girls and Teenagers With Asperger Syndrome or Autism” and “First Signs of Asperger Syndrome in Bright Young Girls Pre-School“. I remember being impressed right away; what she described was eerie. Here was a non-spectrum person (finally!) who “gets it”! I took to heart her disclaimers about how clinical observation runs significantly further ahead than academic research, and I went through her entire list of traits with a fine tooth comb, simultaneously nodding, smiling, and tearing up. Not only did this person “get it”, but she was one of the rare ones whom I felt “got me“. She mentioned that not all females on the spectrum would have all of the traits she listed, but I remember shrugging and thinking, “well, 48 out of 50 ain’t bad”. How the hell did she know?? (I also love her description of adult females on the spectrum!)
Then I came across Tony Attwood, and his post “What is Asperger’s Syndrome?” His post also consists of succinct bullet pointed lists, describing topics such as “special interests”, “cognitive abilities”, “movement and coordination”, and “sensory sensitivity”. I remember feeling waves of relief wash over me, just like I did while reading Tania Marshall’s material. Here were several “quirks” I had identified about myself, being described in such accurate detail that it was eerie! How the hell did he know?? (His more-enlightened “Aspie criteria” should be used, too.)
After that, I started looking up the US CDC’s “official diagnostic criteria” (realizing that I not only met but exceeded them), taking more questionnaires (ALL of which also came back unquestionably neurodivergent/Aspie/autistic), and began to feel solid in my Asperger’s self-assessment.
My next step was to “take to the streets” and gain the firsthand perspectives Asperger’s/autistic females themselves. What did they have to say? Did we have anything in common? Would I find echos of familiar thoughts and sentiments?
It didn’t take long for me to find out.
Google impressed me…
One of the earliest blogs I found was Seventh Voice. I remember searching for information on the positive traits of Asperger’s and I came across her fabulous post “10 Terrific Autistic Traits“. I remember my heart lifting and beginning to soar as I scrolled slowly through each paragraph. I also remember nodding and smiling as I read passages like “People with autism are not tied to social expectations”, “People with autism have terrific memories”, and “Autistic people play fewer head games”. I cheered!
She has written several amazing posts; although the excellent classics “The Gas-lighting of Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum” and “The Dark Side of the Diagnostic Process For Women With Autism” continue to make the rounds on social media (and deservedly so; they’re fantastic!), two of my other favorites are “I Looked at the World and the World Looked Back At Me…” (it describes, with impeccable perfection, what I felt as I learned more about Asperger’s and began to reconcile all of my seemingly-miscellaneous–and frustrating–“quirks”), and “Individuals with Asperger’s Are Not Sociopaths; Sociopaths Are Sociopaths” (which she actually wrote before that infamous Time Magazine article disrespectfully and inaccurately connected those two terms! If only Joel Stein had actually done a little Googling before running his mouth…).
Another early blog I found, The Third Glance, has a long history and a large archive of excellent posts. I’m saddened that her last post was written over a year ago and that her blog, although still online, appears to be dormant (no new posts in a while) for the time being. However, it’s still worth a follow (just in case! I’m sort of a hopeless optimist) and definitely a review through her archives. She has grouped some of the posts she is most proud of here; it’s worth a bookmark! Over the next few months, her “An Autistic’s Holiday Survival Guide” (a 5-part series, all of which can be accessed at once from the link) will become extremely useful for most of us!
Musings of an Aspie is another remarkable blog I found during those first few weeks. I’m not sure which post I stumbled upon first, but her “Adult Diagnosis” post links to individual (brief, easy-reading) chapters of an e-book “I Think I Might Be Autistic…” (link to its offering on Amazon), available for both Kindle and iPad.
What was utterly amazing is how much that post series mirrored exactly what I was experiencing. I got a lot of mileage out of her posts “Asperger’s and Marriage” (a 4-part series, all of which can be accessed from the link, although in reverse order, with Part 4 at the top), a hugely helpful post series about executive function, an opinion about self-diagnosis vs official diagnosis, a post about Asperger’s females and puberty, “The Empathy Conundrum“, and its follow-up post on “perspective-taking” (relating to empathy, and our accused “lack” thereof; the linked post is a superb rebuttal!)
I also ran across Anonymously Autistic in the early days, and I’m pretty sure several of those posts brought healing tears, too. Especially posts like “Being Anonymously Autistic“, especially where she talks about not being able to be “like everyone else”, adapting (or not) to the non-autistic ways of doing things, finally embracing the little girl inside her (hot tears!!), and having to “blend in” to avoid getting picked on. That blog solidified some of the self-compassion that got started earlier.
Of course, by now, April was in full swing, and every Fortune 500 company (or so it seemed) was “lighting it up blue for autism” (gag!) and although much of my early searching directed me to the well-optimized Autism $peaks website (I didn’t know better…yet), I was immediately disgusted. Nothing but pop-up screens for “find a walk near you!”, a bunch of other bullshit, and no real help, information, or resources. Seriously, a few more seconds on that website and I would’ve felt the bile start to rise up into my throat. I couldn’t hit the “Back!” button on my browser fast enough.
And that got me wondering what the Actually-Autistic people thought of A$. That didn’t take long to find, either. I found another decent blog, Emma’s Hope Book (written by Emma, an autistic girl who sometimes invites her parents to publish posts as guest writers), which told me everything I needed to know about what’s wrong with A$. She also has an interesting post (guest-written by her mom) about ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis); “experts” had roped the family into it, but after giving it a go, the mother is definitely not a fan.
It was also with relief that I found Rhi’s blog Autism & Expectations. Born (her blog, that is) just 16 days before mine, our blogs seem to be in synch at times; it was she who first exposed me to the term “social exhaustion” (in an excellent post of the same name), which I had felt creep up on me gradually over the past several years, finally coming to a head during the last few months prior (to discovering her blog). I had called it “feeling ‘peopled out’ “, and it was that one particular post that served as the last straw, the final kick-in-the-pants that I needed to put my foot down and say, “I’m not going to pressure myself–or let anyone else pressure me–to go out if I’m not up to it. And it’s OK if I’m not up to it.”
Woman With Asperger’s was another blog I discovered early on in my journey. I found her “Navigating the Social Matrix” especially informative! It’s lengthy, giving both academic background information, in addition to insight into her personal experiences. (Plus, I think that any post with the word “Matrix” is cool.) 🙂
I found Unstrange Mind (WordPress; later moved to its own domain, but visit both sites, because the posts do not overlap! They’re completely different) while researching Asperger’s and anger. I had chronically been accused of having “anger issues” (which wasn’t exactly true), although I did experience anger from time to time (like anyone else) that I occasionally had a hard time dealing with, so I investigated the subject. The post (on WordPress) “Dear Young Autistic – Anger” (from the WordPress site) shed some illumination for me that was much-appreciated. If you’re interested in DSM-V autistic criteria information in detail, the non-Wordpress Unstrange Mind site has a 10-part post series!
I found 1 Odd Duck a little while later; sadly, his (this blog is written by a male) is also dormant (still online, last updated in November 2014), but I’m really glad he left his blog online, because I found several posts especially insightful. These include “Concerning Social Anxiety and Meltdowns” (which helped me realize that I wasn’t “childish” or “angry” after all) and “Autism and Empathy” (where I first heard about the “Intense World Theory” of autism; as luck would have it, when I searched for those terms, I ended up on Woman With Asperger’s “Intense World Theory” blog category of several posts!)
I’m immensely bummed that the blog Aspie Warrior, written by an Asperger’s guy, is no longer. (Therefore, I’ve linked to the most recent snapshot by the “Wayback Machine”; not only will it show the page as it appeared while it was online, but all of the links have been preserved and are visible.) I really enjoyed his posts, especially the one about “Autism Awareness and Communication…”. I started off empathetically frustrated (alongside him), but then giggled when I read (I could hear a guy’s voice in my head saying the words on the screen), “If I say you are right, why do you call me condescending? If I say I was wrong, why do you call me a martyr? Do NT’s REALLY communicate like this???” That was pretty funny.
Another excellent post discussed gun control, “mental illness”, and Asperger’s potentially (and realistically) turning into a 21st-century witch hunt (nope, to his credit, he won’t take a side on the gun control issue–he just talked about the potential ramifications of mental illness and Asperger’s leading down a dangerous slippery slope of what I call “ableism on crack”).
During this journey (5 1/2 months so far), I’ve been incredibly blessed, enough to have been led to an entire Asperger’s/autism spectrum blogging community! I’ve also witnessed the “birth” of several blogs. I still visit the blogs mentioned above, and in addition to those, here are some more excellent Asperger’s/autism blogs I follow these days (in no particular order):
I highly recommend following ALL of these blogs; the talent is astonishing! (Aspie/autistic writers/bloggers, by and large, are some of The Best writers I have ever seen. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, eloquence, creativity, originality, and organization are unparalleled; the “rest of the world” does not hold a candle to the writing of people on the spectrum!)
Truthfully, I’m following many more blogs than that. One day, I promise I will list them all. And true to Aspie-me form, I will categorize them by topic LOL. 🙂