How it Works

Eighteen months after that initial realisation, it’s become clear that although much more has made sense, there is so much to learn and adjust to make my way from autistic ‘surviving/striving’ through to autistic thriving.

At times, the pace and scope of this task can be overwhelming, because this is happening at exactly the same time that autism in adults, and neurodiversity in adults in general, is becoming better recognised.

Many more adults are being diagnosed; the neurodiversity movement and awareness is growing; and resources, books, speakers, conferences, and social media groups are appearing faster than I can add them to my list of Things To Investigate More Throughly. At the same time, the world is still struggling to handle the complex ramifications of the major societal shifts created by the pandemic.

Additionally, there’s an incredible diversity amongst the experience of autism within the autistic community; its very nature means that there is much variation from one person to the next in terms of how being autistic looks and feels for them.

In other words: it’s complex. Lots of information, lots of shifting norms, and on top of that, a very personalised approach is required to ‘make sense’ of what works for each individual. The good news is, like many other autistic people, I do like to solve for complexity and to work out a system.

I also know that:

  • Truly effective self-care is about crafting a life that pulls in more of what I like. (Actually, I am not at all sure I know enough about what I like. Or what else I could do, if I increased my sense of self-efficacy.)
  • My brain needs a problem to solve, or it will ruminate. It needs to process something in the background.( If it doesn’t have one, it will most likely go off and reprocess something old that never quite made sense. This is not very productive!)

Therefore, autisticlarity is my methodical approach to understanding how to live authentically: working in harmony with my brain and its needs, as much as I can.

This works by defining key questions and issues, followed by investigating everything I can find about what works, synthesising this, developing strategies to test, and then seeing how these work in practice. (And writing about it!)

In this way:

I’ll be able to invest my time and energy beyond just coping, into development.

I’ll be mentoring myself; consciously observing.

This is: ‘autistic sensemaking, powered by curiosity’.