Although autism is actually a physiological type rather than a disorder per se, the only way to get officially labeled as autistic is to have a qualified, knowledgeable medical specialist identify enough things that are ‘wrong’ with you to actually pronounce you to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is comparable to using dysmenorrhea and mood swings as criteria for diagnosing an individual as female. They wait until you break, otherwise it doesn’t count.

This means that many people who are physiologically autistic do not learn how to optimise themselves, because they never end up at a specialist and therefore never find out that there’s a name for how they function. Knowing this about themselves could have led to connecting with other autistic people and learning from them about how their own lives can be specifically enhanced. Instead, because they are unidentified, they often underperform on many levels, living like swans trying to shape up as ducklings.

Not that those who are diagnosed necessarily fare better: once diagnosed, it takes a conscious effort to extricate oneself from the notion of having a terrible incurable disorder requiring treatment by trained professionals, and from “playing the hand you’ve been dealt” with a doleful smile. It takes conscious decision to extrapolate beneficial knowledge from the deficit-rich vocabulary of autism research and to present it to one’s own reasoning in a form that can be effectively applied in an ambit of moral responsibility for self-improvement as a valid human being.