Having Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a bit like being a bird. And just like you can learn a great deal about ostriches, say, by studying hummingbirds, it’s critical to remember that these birds are also quite different from each other (especially when it comes to what each might squirt out onto your car’s windshield), and that sooner or later if you want to learn about ostriches, you’re going to have to study actual ostriches.
I have started using the term autistickish in an attempt to capture this aspect of autism. It’s my more friendly and colloquial way of expressing the underlying notion of neurodiversity being captured more technically by the term Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Of course, I’m also hoping it helps answer the puzzled looks I sometimes get when I tell people that I’m autistic and all they know about autism is what they’ve learned from watching movies like Rain Man and Temple Grandin. Hey, look, I can assure you that I really do meet the diagnostic criteria for ASD, but if you try to test me by dropping a pile of toothpicks on the floor and asking me how many are in the pile, you’re going to have to wait while I get down on my knees and count them!