May 5, 2021

“Coming of Age” interview

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 3:08 pm by chavisory

“For me, anyway, the irony is that a lot of the strengths of autism have to be spent on navigating or compensating for the ways in which our society is still very hostile toward autistic people. And I think a lot about the kinds of things we might be able to create or accomplish if we all had the support that we need or weren’t required to expend a lot of our energy and cognitive bandwidth having to look out for ourselves in ways that non-autistic and non-disabled people don’t, if we didn’t have to leverage our strengths so hard just to survive.”

Photo credit: Charlie Stern

I had a great time doing this interview with with Beacon Press editorial intern Evangelyn Beltran, which is out in the Beacon Broadside this week! In addition to discussing autistic identity, I talk about growing up undiagnosed in the 1980’s, and stage managing while autistic.

It’s the third part of a series, “Coming of Age and Living Authentically on the Autism Spectrum,” with my co-editors Sharon daVanport and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu! Sharon’s interview is here and Morénike’s is here!



  1. Liezl Wienand said,

    dear Emily. Love your work. In the small country that is Ireland, where most psychologists know somebody who knows somebody who will eventually know me, i would never again dare to speak out about my autism. i tried it once in 2017. it backfired spectacularly when i outed myself at work and swiftly found myself confronted with a made up HR investigation. the investigation dragged on for 10 months. i was on suspension, severely traumatised, suicidal etc etc. no misconduct or any issues of any kind was found in the investigation and the local Workplace Relations Committee process also found in my favour but the price i paid for pinning my autistic flag to the mast was too great


  2. danjodea said,

    Lovely piece. “Growing up undiagnosed in the 1980s” was both empathetic and painful for me to read. I grew up undiagnosed in the 1960s, back when corporal punishment was normal and many of the things that teachers and other adults did to me would be considered felony abuse today. I have PTSD from that. But

    Your later experience is similar to mine; being diagnosed late in life (around age 55) was a huge relief after 50+ years of being told I was “evil,” “a bad person,” “what the hell’s wrong with you,” and many other things. Have I done bad things? Of course… but those things aren’t me, not who I am. TBH, had I been diagnosed in the 1960s I’d have ended up in the mentally disabled classroom permanently instead of just for a couple of months.

    All in all, we are what our experiences have made us. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to pick up this book.

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