First-Person Accounts

Nobody can better describe living with an Asperger profile than those who live the experience every day. At AANE, we deeply value the unique perspectives and voices of those we serve and hope that their personal stories can help to foster understanding, generate empathy, bolster respect, and build connection within our communities. These irreplaceable first-person accounts will enhance your understanding of the gifts and challenges of those with Asperger profiles and the strategies that help them to succeed.

Essential Resources: 

Speakers Bureau
Perspectives on Adult Life
Artist Collaborative

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Liv Gallop: On Identity and Gender Affirming Care

Liv, I would love to know a little bit about your journey to discover your gender identity. How did you come to realize that you were a Transgender woman? It's interesting because as an Autistic trans person, my feelings of gender dysphoria were muddied by my Autistic traits. When I hit puberty... more

I Am Not the Cloud: How I Got Through Lifelong Depression

Warning: This article talks about depression and mentions being hospitalized for suicidal ideation.   I was depressed for about three decades. I recall being eight years old and feeling existential weight, malaise, fatigue, and sadness, emptiness, insecurity – feelings like I wanted to... more

Autistic Culture Has Always Existed

Several years ago I wrote a paper about the internet being a catalyst for the modern Autistic rights movement, and perhaps more importantly, neurodiversity as a defined subculture. When I engaged in the research needed, I was told by a clinician that autism and community are oxymorons. According to... more

Shifting Perspective in the Parent/Caregiver Journey

Parents and caregivers of Autistic children and teens often find themselves consumed with school meetings and communications, managing therapies, and preparing for every eventuality. These actions are important but can quickly overshadow daily life and family dynamics. If the focus is solely on... more

Why Being Autistic in the Workplace is Hard

Stigma, bias, and ableism are three of the biggest obstacles facing Autistic people at work, and I am no exception. I am an openly Autistic DEIB professional and the director of training at AANE, and, in an effort to educate and create equity in our workplaces for other Neurodivergent and otherwise... more

Sticking Around: A Spectrum Perspective on Friendships

For as long as I can remember, I have harbored an instinct to flee. Whether to escape noise or conflict or to gratify some impulse I can’t name, the deep, needling itch I feel to run is an undeniable one. I recall in early grade school making plans to run away more than once. I don’t remember what I was running from, but I know I was running... more

Finding My Independence

I am a 25 year old woman on the autism spectrum. I was officially diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was 17 years old. Being diagnosed explained a lot and helped me to better understand myself and how I see the world. I felt like I understood my feelings and emotions a bit better, as well as why I... more

In(ter)dependence: A Trans Autistic Perspective

For many years I preferred to be as independent as possible because relying on others was … unreliable. I’d observed that people tend to agree to things that they don’t actually have the capacity to do, because they want to be nice and they have a hard time saying no. Being independent... more

The Turning Point

TW: This article discusses experiences with suicidal ideation. In 2015, my husband was hospitalized and diagnosed with advanced metastatic lung cancer while on an out-of-town trip. It blew apart the foundation of our lives and heralded an accelerated medical crisis for which I served as his... more

The Expectation Equation: Managing Holiday Stress as an Autistic Adult

The holidays are a time of joy, gratitude, and kindness, but for some of us, it’s also a time of stress, grief, and trauma. With all those emotions rolling around, it can be a confusing time of year, filled with social and familial obligations stealing our energy and an overload of shopping,... more

Reflections on Apologies and Tire Swings

TW: This article discusses trauma, including death and school-related incidents. “What makes a girl start a fire in the hall, leave a lipstick scrawl on the bathroom mirror?” Ezra Furman, a trans singer/songwriter, sings with a tone of desperation and longing on “Trauma” off of her album... more

The Good Enough Doctor

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Neurocurious: Creating a Learning Culture

Twenty years ago I had been at a job for a number of months working for a supportive manager who’d recognized my skills and nurtured my development. But then she’d left for another role, and another group began supervising my position. The group was led by a tyrant of a man who supervised a... more

Autistic Voices on Creativity

We asked autistic creators about the role creativity played in their lives or to tell us something about their creative process. Here's what they shared. ***** Olivia August Nied In many ways, my creativity and my autism are linked and work in tandem with one another. I’m a musician and... more

Handling Disclosure as a Self-Advocate

As an autistic self-advocate, it is no secret that disclosing my autism to others has and always will be a complicated process throughout my life. There are many factors that go into how, when, why, and to whom I will disclose my autism, but they all have to do with the purpose for the disclosure... more