Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism (TPGA) is the resource we wish we’d had when autism first became part of our lives: a one-stop source for carefully curated, evidence-based, neurodiversity-steeped information from autistic people, parents, and autism professionals.

The goal of TPGA is to help you fast-forward past society’s rampant autism fabrications and negativity, by providing clear, thoughtfully presented, balanced, and referenced information. We also want you to understand that autism acceptance is not merely noble but necessary—and are separate matters from the autistic and other autism communities’ never-ending fights for medical, legal, social, and educational accommodation.

Our belief is that all autism approaches should mirror the physicians’ credo “First, do no harm.” But how do you determine when benefits outweigh potential damage? The pseudoscience so often promoted as “autism treatments” has a handful of consistent identifying characteristics. Ask yourself:

  • Does this practitioner or vendor promise miracles that no one else seems to achieve?
  • Is the person promising the outcome also asking me for money?
  • Do I find any scientific research supporting their claims, or are there only individual (often emotional) testimonials of effects?
  • Does the practitioner or vendor promise a blanket “cure” for unrelated disorders, such as grouping together allergies and autism; or autism and ADHD; or autism, diabetes, cancer, and allergies?
  • Does the practitioner or vendor have strong credentials as an expert in the therapies they’re promising, or in the field of autism?

Thinking critically is one of the most important actions we can take for those we love, and for ourselves. Thinking critically starts with listening critically: You will find frank autistic voices on this site, sharing opinions, insights, and experience on a wide range of topics. They deserve your full attention, consideration, and respect. You may also notice that many autistic contributors appear in dual or triple roles as autism parents and/or autism professionals, and that some prefer to capitalize the term Autistic.

We hope that, with the support of the contributors to Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, you will find your rational self—and embrace the best, fact-based autism acceptance approaches and attitudes. We also hope you’ll realize how important it is to maintain the attitude “I love someone who is autistic and…” rather than “I love someone who is autistic but…” Whether that person you love is your child, or yourself.

Process and Submissions

We’d like TPGA to be a transparent, community-based effort. It helps that our community contains so many prominent and experienced voices.

Feel free to pitch us an essay topic. We also don’t mind if you submit an essay you’ve previously published. We want TPGA be comprehensive, not proprietary.

You can also help us improve our Autism Resources page by leaving a comment about useful autism websites, books, movies, communities, and organizations.