One of the first, and most important, things to be said about existing in society as an autistic person is that it’s tough. In my time in the autistic community, one of the main things that I have seen that brings us all together (sadly), is ill-treatment and violence towards us at the hands of allistic (non-autistic) people; I have never met an autistic person who doesn’t have some experience of this. Autistic people don’t get spoken about this way very much, but we’re some of the most brave and resilient people – we shouldn’t have to be, but we are. The fact that the majority of us have post-traumatic stress is a clear indication of what we are put through over the course of our lives. There’s a saying in the community online, that it is very telling that the diagnosis criteria between a deeply traumatised person, and an autistic person, is so blurred – our current society is not capable of raising an autistic person that is not traumatised in some way. So I want to start off by giving you the credit you deserve for your strength and determination to still exist in this world. Doctors, and the people who get their ideas about autism from doctors, like to speak about autism like a list of deficits, as though autistic brains were disordered or ill. But it’s important to know that autism is not a disorder, not a ‘condition’, and you don’t need to be cured. You are not broken, and there is no part of you that is missing for being autistic. You aren’t a piece short of a puzzle.