Wow, Pretty amazing to read all the supports out there for young autistics. When I was away at college 1975-1979 I did not know I was autistic and would not find out until last year at age 55. Only the most incapacitated Autistic's were recognized if they were recognized at all. I had to do it all by myself. High Functioning/Asperger type Autistics were "painfully shy", "loners","losers" , "lazy", "making excuses" etc. Now despite so much more knowledge supports for adults are extremely minimal.
Everybody has a theory about why autism diagnosis has massively increased. Many mental health "professionals" still think adults can't have autism, or most that are diagnosed are in it for the money or to make excuses because they do not want to grow up. Others people believe it is all a scam to get benefits, while others think it's vaccine poisoning. As person who has experienced 56 years of living with Aspergers-Autism I have a theory of my own. Differences in thinking were more allowed back then. 20 years before the term "Aspie" was invented we had "New Waver". David Byrne, Devo, Elvis Costello,Gary Numan (Aspie), B-52's WLIR’s "Dare to be Different" For a bullied kid with no friends the idea that you can be really weird and have fun doing it was a revelation as the idea there were others that were similar to me. If you were a engineer or programmer it was accepted you were the "nutty professor" type. Management did have to like you as long as you produced. I did not get promoted but I had a job I liked that paid the bills. Our paranoid, post 9/11 Columbine/Sandy Hook era is quite different.. "Common Core" education standards have been in the news lastly. You can tell it is not system to celebrate difference. The hiring process involves batteries of personality tests to make sure the candidate will "fit in" . And there is networking, the most Autistic unfriendly thing ever invented and crucial to getting hired.
To be Autistic or Aspie one has to have significant impairment in functioning not just be a little shy and awkward. In 1982 I was functional member of society, today I am not, yet I am still basically the same person.
I have mixed feeling about all this support. Of course some people do really need it and these supports are way better then throwing people in the street, locking autistics in a room or an institution like they did when I was young. But a lot of these “supports” are smothering our youth and turning them into nice rule following clones. As this publication is well aware we are finally allowing gays to be gays, we need to let autistics be autistics. We have listen to autistics and stop letting “neurotypicals” totally define Autistic’s problems and proscribe solutions. Adding skills is fine, forcing people to act “normal” 24 hours a day 7 days a week causes way more mental illness then Autism which is not a mental illness but a difference in brain wiring. Autism is a PERVASIVE development “disorder”. So it really does define a lot of who we are. And while we are at it, can people stop using “disorder” “odd”, “strange” to describe us. We are human and we do internalize that..