I’ve been infantalized by well-meaning medical workers. I’ve been treated as incompetent by non-well-meaning medical workers. I’ve been treated as entitled and spoiled for being disabled. When people learn about my diagnosis, the assumption is that I’m not competent or intelligent when I am.
Medical workers are not trained in how to interact properly with autistic people. As a result, I’ve usually gotten one of two scenarios: being treated as entitled for having sensory challenges, or being treated as a specimen to study by those who say they “love autistic people.” The ER is a sensory nightmare for me and many other autistic people. It’s difficult to deal with that on top of it.
Many countries deny immigration to autistic people. I am not ever allowed to move to New Zealand or Australia, for example. That is ableism.
While I’m still glad I was able to get my diagnosis (which I had to fight for and was privileged to get) because no one was taking me seriously (including the evaluators), there is an additional cost to it that I will be paying for the rest of my life.
Self-diagnosis is valid. Self-diagnosing autism does not look like someone reading what a person posted online and just deciding that they must be autistic too, as many non-autistic people assume. It involves a whole lot of research and a lot of work to make sure. It’s important to validate all autistic people, self-diagnosed or officially diagnosed.
Self-diagnosis and official diagnosis saves autistic lives. For many of us, learning that we are autistic makes our lives make sense, and it puts us on the path of learning what our needs are so that we can finally work to have them met.