So what’s this hashtag all about?
Because autism wasn’t included in the DSM until 1980 and Asperger’s Syndrome not until 1994, widespread screening wasn’t available for children born earlier. That means that the roughly 1.2 million autistic girls, boys, and non-binary children born per generation worldwide1An estimate based on generational birth rates from https://www.statista.com/statistics/797321/us-population-by-generation/ combined with current CDC autism prevalence rates from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/data.html. were left with little information about who they were, few peers, and not a whole lot of public support. So, out of necessity, they (we!) found our own way.
For better or worse, we made it up as we went along. We cobbled together sensory mitigation techniques, masking skills in order to get by, and created safe havens where we could de-stress and be ourselves. Many times, we had no idea why we weren’t like most everyone around us.
Let’s never forget those who did not survive and those of us now, who continue to struggle. Suicide in the autistic community is real, it’s serious, and it’s often overlooked. If you’re having suicidal thoughts and/or feelings, treat it as an emergency. Reach out to someone you trust (or anyone you can connect with, IRL, online, wherever) immediately. You’re important and the world needs you.
Our solutions are as varied as we are people yet those coping strategies allowed us to make it through the turbulence of youth and young adulthood, often suffering greatly for the privilege. We’ve learned a ton about ourselves in the recent era of greater #AutismAwareness and #AutismAcceptance. Now we want to pass along the wisdom we’ve earned.
What does all this mean for you?
If you’re struggling with adulting, are newly diagnosed, and/or are one of thousands of adults discovering that you’ve been autistic this 👏🏽 whole 👏🏽 time 👏🏽, you probably have questions.
A. LOT. OF. QUESTIONS.😮
Searching for information out in the wild will often turn up an abundance of resources…but most are geared towards children and parenting.
Welp, adults are autistic too so the #AutisticElders hashtag was born.
How to use the hashtag
- Tweet any question you have about anything at all related to your neurodiverse life. Include the #AutisticElders hashtag.
- Volunteer mentors — all of whom are over 40 — will Tweet to your aid.
Looking for mentors who’ve lived most of their lives having been identified as autistic? No problem! The Young Autistic Adult Squad (#YAAS) is standing by for your questions. Find out more here! >>
Mentors will do their very best to give you their personal perspective based on real experience, point you to resources that may help, or just be there to listen. What’s better than that, right?
Give it a try. No topic is taboo. No question is wrong. And it’s free!
So what are you waiting for?
And, as always, for more general questions, #AskingAutistics is always there for you.
Want to be a mentor?
If you want to join the growing legion of mentors, hit me up here or on Twitter. I’ll add you so you. You can check the hashtag for questions, help out when you can, and take a break at any time. Each one teach one, right?
Already a mentor?
Here’s how this works. When you volunteer to be part of #AutisticElders, you’ve made a public promise. You’ll be added to the list as a mentor and sought out for your experiences and advice.
- Add your involvement as a mentor to your profile (optional). Wording is up to you.
- Check the hashtag at least once per week (twice or thrice are better!)
- When you see a question where your input would be welcome, respond!
Whenever you’d like to scale back your involvement for any reason at all, just message me and it shall be done. Want back in? Let me know. That’s all there is to it!
Remember the times you needed a little help or advice but didn’t know where to turn? Now you can lift that feeling away from someone else. Thank you for giving of yourself. May your kindness and generosity return to you many times over.