The Subtle Spectrum: An Honest Account of Autistic Discovery, Relationships and Identity
Am I autistic, or is autism something I suffer from? Should I come out, to my friends, to my family, to the people I work with? Should I drop the mask? How can I explain my experience to a neurotypical world?
The Subtle Spectrum offers an exploration into the postdiagnostic landscape of autism and the transformative journey of one woman, from her awareness of difference, through acceptance, to an embracing of autistic identity and beyond as she questions the cultural identity of autism.
Joanna’s narrative is enriched with insights from a range of diverse contributors, creating a reflective opportunity for people to gain a better understanding of the experience of being autistic. With a focus on relationships built across a neurodiverse divide, the book considers topics as broad as mental health, work opportunities and abuse, weaving theory and research with lived experience to give true insight into the life of an autistic person, both pre- and post- diagnosis.
Written with a raw and engaging honesty, this is a crucial read for anybody who identifies as autistic as an adult or teenager, or anyone looking to support somebody exploring diagnosis. It will also provide an invaluable insight for social workers, educators and relationships counsellors working with autistic people.
Preface Identity First Language Trigger Warnings Chapter 1. Introduction Chapter 2. Mapping Experiences of Being a Diagnosed Autistic: More of a Doodle than an Ordinance Survey Map Chapter 3. Travelling from Autism Awareness to Autistic Identity Chapter 4. Fragments of Difference Chapter 5. Reflections on Difference Chapter 6. Fragments of Awareness Chapter 7. Moving Between Difference and Awareness Chapter 8. Diagnosis Chapter 9. The Report Chapter 10. Blog Part One: The First Weeks after Diagnosis Chapter 11. Reflecting on the Impact of Diagnosis on my Identity Chapter 12. Blog Part Two: The First Months after Diagnosis Chapter 13. Reflection Chapter 14. Blog Part Three: Half a Year after Diagnosis Chapter 15. Reflection: History Repeating Chapter 16. Love Across a Neurodiverse Divide Chapter 17. Reflection: Interoception Chapter 18. Emotional Connection Chapter 19. Pregnancy Chapter 20. Special Interests Chapter 21. Reflection: Recognising the Impossibility of Change was Crucial Chapter 22. To be Identified is Our Pride Bibliography
This wise and compassionate book provides a roadmap toward what author Jo Grace wonderfully calls 'a small private place, unseen by the outside world, a hidden gem' -- to personal acceptance of oneself as autistic, and the discovery of autistic community, in a world built for non-autistic people. It's engaging and uplifting reading for anyone on the spectrum, and for readers who want to comprehend the nature of autistic experience.
Steve Silberman, author, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
Grace writes with candour and intensity and this book supports those currently looking to claim an autistic identity as a definition of self, ‘like a handrail you grab when trying to stand unaided’.
It will also be of value to those working with adolescents and adults with a diagnosis of autism.
Mary Mountstephen, SEN Magazine