There are close to 200 posts on this blog, which can make it hard to find what you’re looking for. I’ve put together a loosely categorized list of essential topics on this page as a starting point for new readers. If you’re looking for something autism-related that you don’t see here, let me know in the comments. If I haven’t written about a topic, I probably know of someone who has.
Most of the posts here are geared toward autistic adults/adults with Asperger’s syndrome, but a few in particular deal with adult topics like relationships, parenting and aging:
- adult ASD diagnosis series
- aging on the spectrum
- marriage and partner relationships series
- motherhood series
Communication impairments are a big part of autism. I’ve talked about this extensively, but these three posts are a good starting place for someone how wants to understand what communication impairments can look like in autistic people of all ages: Echolalia and Why Talking is Hard and (Not) A Little Slow
Executive function (EF) is a broad term that refers to the cognitive processes that help us regulate, control and manage our thoughts and actions. It includes planning, working memory, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, initiation of actions and monitoring of actions. I’ve written an Executive Function series plus a post on the difference between procrastination and Executive Function impairment.
Growing up on the Spectrum
Thoughts on some of the challenges of growing up on the spectrum:
- the doubly exceptional label (gifted and autistic)
- loneliness and being alone
- sleep difficulties
- coordination and sports
- “little professor” syndrome
- why girls are less likely to be diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s
Life on the Spectrum
Answers to some common questions about life on the spectrum:
- What are special interests and why are they important?
- What’s up with all of the rules and routines?
- Why do we avoid eye contact?
- Why is asking for help hard for autistic people?
- Are we more prone to perfectionism?
- What is catastrophizing and why do we do it?
- Why is saying “no” difficult?
Meltdowns, Anxiety and More
Firsthand insight into some of the more difficult aspects of autism/Asperger’s:
- autistic anxiety
- autistic regression
- emotional dysfunction
- resistance to change
Most autistic people experience some form of atypical sensory processing. I’ve written quite a bit on key aspects of sensory processing, including sensory diet, sensory seeking, sensory sensitivities, tactile defensive, interoception, and proprioception
Repetitive movements, known as stimming, are nearly universal in autistic people. I’ve written about why stimming shouldn’t be labeled socially inappropriate and how stimming can help rather than impair concentration.
17 thoughts on “Essential Reading”
I love that you have made all these great overview pages! I hadn’t really noticed how well categorised your blog had become:-)
Thank you! 🙂 I realized that I was spending a lot of time referring people to the same few articles and constantly having to look them up. Now I can find them more quickly and hopefully this will be a good starting place for others who want to get up to speed quickly or just read about a certain topic.
It is a great idea!
Hi, I didn’t know where I should comment. I’m 50 years old and have been “exploring” the possibility of my being on the upper end of the spectrum. Although I prefer the Aspergirl thing. I went to a neuro dr. Very uncomfortable situation and the questions seemed way to vague. One answer questions don’t cover what we experience. I have been mulling the situation over in my head every since, and am sure i will continue until i get the results. My deal is I confessed that I smoke cannabis. He never asked how it helps me. That without it i get too excited and act like a fool. I must admit that I became guarded pretty early into the process and am therefore not at all sure what the outcome will be. The minute I mentioned my self medication I felt his judgement sweep over me. Pretty much I started shutting down at that point became wicked frustrated and lost all focus. I feel so very lost and lonely. Heather
I downloaded your book (nerdy, shy and socially inappropriate) this morning and read it all day. I’ve just finished.
I did stop to feed my kids their dinner. I’m a 40 y.o female and I was told on Friday that I have Aspergers. I was expecting it. Your book was brilliant – just what I needed. Especially useful were the parts, to me, on sensory stimulation – there’s a name for it!!! Stiming – I’ve done it my whole life. Plus there’s a reason I always dim the lights! There’s a reason I hate noise! There’s a reason behind everything. It explains my childhood, my marriage, my parenting style, why I can’t decide what to cook for dinner if I haven’t thought about it first thing in the morning.
Your comment made my day. 🙂 I’m so happy to hear that the book was helpful. Congratulations on your diagnosis!
I am extremely glad I found your blog this morning. It has been a wonderful read for the last few hours.
Thank you!!!! 😃
As a self identifying border case Ive been doing a lot of reading recently. Ive commented on another page and describe myself as at least an aspie sympathiser, but it is very hard to tell whether I was born this way or made
I really like your site and find the topics personally interesting. Would you consider doing a questionnaire / survey on the topics of stimming, eye contact, perfectionism? It would be very helpful to me to see the various responses for personal reasons given for these traits. eg. I read that with an aspie eye contact is avoided, but elsewhere I read that it is actually preferred initially, but it makes NT people uncomfortable becayse it is ‘too intense’. Is the avoidance a learned response to aggressive reactions of NTs? And how frustrating do other possible aspies find it when politely avoiding eye contact also elicits an aggressive response due to its interpretation as a guilty conscience or lack of respect? Therefore do we really have no ability to understand people, or do we just find them to be inconsistent in their social rules and so we make up our own or end up preferring our own company. Im sure I think 80% of aspie traits are methods to deal with social stress. Do we start out as introverts, or do we become one later? Can you become an aspie due to changes in brain structure after stress or burnout? Are clear aspie cases just another valid default brain configuration that happens to not work so well in current society but previously worked well to make excellent businessmen and engineers back in the day when we were labelled merely as ‘gifted’ and ‘late bloomers’ and ‘literal minded’.
Lots of questions, no need to answer them all, but I hope my brain dump adds to the duscussion and mutual understanding of us more diverse sorts. Thanks again for taking the time to blog your musings. I always appreciate reading the insipring and humbling thoughts of those with a clearer mind than mine.
I just found out I might be Autistic. I am a 55 year-old male Chartered Engineer and my employer more or less required me to get a referral. I feel quite devastated to be honest but your website is easily the best I have come across and it is a tremendous help putting the confused jigsaw of my life into some sort of perspective.
Now comes the NHS waiting game whereby I have to be officially sanctioned Asperger and yet juxtaposed against that there is the thought that even my nearest and dearest have thought I was ‘odd’ for years. Seems a bit like Kafka.
Without wishing to effervesce unduly, thank you for putting this site together. It is great.
Awesome blog, thank you! I found it while looking for suggestions on creating a soothing space for my 11yr old son, this was a great find.
Just an FYI: I have found the TV Tropes page on Aspergers Syndrome to be an excellent introduction to AS for the newbie.
Hi Cynthia – just a thought. I know that you have already written some books but wondered if you had ever considered turning your blog posts into a book – either as a compilation or focussed on one topic. Think they would be really helpful to many Auties and Aspies
Hello, I was wondering if you knew of any good interactive websites for autistic kids? I don’t mean websites to teach them how to do things or whatever, I mean websites where kids can talk about autism and interact with other autistic kids. I am a preteen with Aspergers, and whenever I try to find a website about autism for kids, all I can find is “These games will help your kid with autism learn how to get dressed” or websites for NT kids to learn about autism. If you know of any websites for autistic kids, please let me know! Thank you.
Thank you. You’re putting words to my experiences and helping me make sense of my 33 years. I have had migraines my whole life and after realizing this week that I have a *lot* of autistic tendencies, I now have a theory that masking myself is causing the pain.
I have a lot to chew on and your blog is very validating as I try to sort out my brain.
Thank you so much for everything on your blog, my 4 year old is being referred for an assessment which led me to look at my life and realised I too am probably on the spectrum. I bought both your books and stuck labels in any pages that resonated with me… https://ibb.co/YpsbNw0 (link to pic of book) so I am now asking for a referral for myself!!
Thank you for taking the time to curate all of this. I didn’t believe the tests at first so went back and did all of them. The stereotyping and general search results made me think ‘hey I’m not like this.’ But after reading so many posts from other people and their experiences something just clicked. I have cried for three days lol. Laughing at somethings I used to think we’re just weird. The more posts I find the more it sounds like they were written by me :D. I binge read your entire series in one go and will be bookmarking this site for later. I am going to start going down the route of self diagnosis as well but am terrified. So happy that you got your closure 🙂