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  • Robin Kastengren

Listener Request: Resources

I have only one lane here: middle-aged white women with a lifelong history of trauma and abuse who are just discovering their neurodivergent traits. I can only speak from my perspective and add it to the growing number of stories that people like me are telling.


As you think about me and possibly yourself, leave room for all the neurodivergent people who have even more stacked up against them than I do. For example, people of color and incarcerated people. They're in far more danger than I am.


Warning: Resources for Autistic Adults are Painful


Regarding autism in adult women and people assigned female at birth, there is next to nothing in terms of time-tested, peer-reviewed scientific research. The vast majority of the resources I’ve found that have been around for a while are rude, condescending, infantilizing, and laser-focused on precious white boys with a little bit of money.


So many resources present autism as the burden allistic people find it to be and label autistic traits such as a strong sense of justice as “symptoms.” It takes a special kind of self-centered prick to see my belief in doing the right thing as a symptom of a disorder.


If you’re already struggling with your self-concept and the gigantic load of anxiety, dread, depression, and confusion that comes with being an undiagnosed autistic adult, these unkind words can be too much.

It’s hard to read around how distasteful neurotypical people find autism and find yourself in a list of symptoms they find distressing.

Do You Think You’re Autistic?

If you’re related to me, please consider the possibility for yourself or your kids. Autism and ADHD are highly heritable—you pass this brain type along if you’ve got it, and I’m pretty sure I got it from both sides. It doesn’t mean anything about you other than you’re right about how much harder it seems for you to exist and that you’re wrong about it being a moral failure.

I bought this book after reading some links my shrink sent about autism. Initially, I thought it was bogus because I identified so strongly with nearly every trait, every experience. Every line was a dead ringer for a well-known feature of being me, something that might not be a problem now but was when I was younger, or a terrifyingly accurate description of my dark secrets.

There are a bunch of very notable exceptions, but we’re talking one exception for every 10-15 slam dunks. I thought it was like a horoscope or something, written to sound like everyone. Rereading it now, I’m dying to know what it’s like to be in everyone else’s head. Wtf are you people doing all day!?

Give it a read, especially if we share grandparents or great-grandparents. If you think it almost hits the mark, but not quite, then it’s time to read up on ADHD because that’s in our DNA, too. Scientists are discovering a huge overlap between autism and ADHD and that up to seventy percent of autistic people also have ADHD. [Source: NIH]

ADHD assessments are coming for us this fall and I'll update with resources as I get them.


Do You Know You’re Autistic?


I believe this book is the current gold standard for adults who wish to learn about themselves on their own time and in their own space. It was the first book I found that didn’t present autism as a disorder. Rather, it’s just another way to experience the world.


For people who have spent a lifetime feeling like an alien, this book can help you feel seen for the first time.


Is Reading a Pain in the Ass?

There were a few weeks when I couldn’t read for more than a few minutes at a time and a few more where ten or fifteen minutes would be the max. Videos are a legitimate source of information as long as the person behind them is legitimate.

People will poo-poo using social media as a source of information, but when it comes to the human experience—especially one that science hasn’t caught up with yet—other people’s stories may be all you can find for a while.**

  • Dr. Joey Lawrence: Link is to her website so you can check her credentials before jumping into her videos on TikTok as they are extremely research-oriented. I recommend her content for the presentation of neurodiversity as simply another way humans exist in the world.

  • Sol Smith: is a life coach whose professional services I can’t personally vouch for, but his TikTok content is a good place to hear another grown person speak about things like meltdowns without making you feel like a pathetic loser.

  • TeeTeeAutism on TikTok is sharing her experience as a late-diagnosed woman trying to make sense of it all. Her content on masking was eye-opening for me.


Recommendations?

I'm only a couple of months into my journey so my list of resources is pretty small. I'll keep it updated with only things I can personally vouch for myself. If you have any recommendations, shoot me an email!





**Be careful about landing on the neurodivergent TikTok algorithm. It won’t be long before you get a bunch of spiritual people and tarot card readers popping up with messages of love and hope. It’s a fun coincidence I’ve seen a lot of autistic people comment about that I’ve also experienced. Who doesn’t want the tarot ladies rooting for you?

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