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Learning Life Skills or Just Playing a Game? Why Can’t It Be Both? An Autistic perspective on TTRPGs

Shawna Spain twitter.com/LikeSevenSpoon Photo courtesy the author. [image: Woman with braided hair and purple glasses is bent over a notebook with a  character sheet for “Veri Truestone.” There are various dice around her, a rainbow set, a ceramic set, some resin sets and two metal dice in a tiny glass jar. There is a dice vault with rainbow colors, another with wood burning of a map, and then a dice bag with purple fabric.] I didn’t know I was Autistic when I started playing Shadowrun, a table top role playing game. My boyfriend at the time was playing, and I overheard a couple of sessions where they seemed to be telling a collaborative story—and I never heard any arguments or weird pauses, which is how most of my social interactions went at the time. So I asked a lot of questions:  Like, you all agree to the same rules?  Yes, he…

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Knowing Why Is Everything: An Interview With Editor Elizabeth Bartmess on Adult-Diagnosed Autistic Perspectives

Sarah Kurchak www.riskyfuel.com The Knowing Why book cover [image: Book cover with a black background, with silhouettes of people of all sizes and a dog, in a rainbow of colors. Rainbow-colored text  at the top reads, “Knowing Why: Adult-Diagnosed Autistic People on Life and Autism.] There are many problems with the ways in which autism is currently seen and represented in the media and public discussion. When the face of autism is still predominantly white, cisgender, heterosexual, middle or upper class boys, it erases autistic people of color, LGBTQA autistic people, and poor autistic people from the conversation and denies them vital supports and resources. It also ignores the fact that there’s an entire segment of the autistic population that spends their entire childhoods and adolescences not knowing that they’re autistic at all. As someone who wasn’t diagnosed until I was 27, I grew up knowing that I was different…

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Happy (Autism Diagnosis) Anniversary

Chris Williams medium.com/@Marrowsky Hello. My name is Chris Williams. Nice to meet you. I recently celebrated an anniversary. If you’re reading this, thank you for letting me share it with you. On January 7th of 2017, my doctor telephoned. My screening, my tests, my questionnaires, and interviews with my family had been reviewed and evaluated. My diagnosis was in the mail. “…Chris demonstrates pattern of behavior and impairment consistent with Autism Spectrum Disorder 299.00 (F84.)…” I’ll introduce myself again, for the first time: Hello. My name is Chris Williams, and I’m autistic. Nice to meet you. My diagnosis was, it still is, mind boggling to me. Perhaps to those of you who know me. Perhaps not. To have a paradigm shift, at thirty-six years old, in self reflection, and in reflection about my personal relationships. My memories now telling me different stories. An awfully familiar stranger resembling me in mirrors.…

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Imposter Syndrome and My Late Autism Spectrum Diagnosis

Andrea Michael www.andreamichael.art Django of Cacharel [image: Black-and-white drawing of a dark horse wearing a bridle, with a windblown mane.] I wasn’t prepared for the imposter syndrome that set in after my autism diagnosis. Why? Possibly because, after my diagnosis, I scoured the Internet for autism material, found too many opinions that my version of autism wasn’t “real autism” — and heard more often than not that if I was late diagnosed, that meant I was at the very edge of the diagnosis, just a mild case with no “real” challenges. At the time of this writing, I am in my thirties. I was diagnosed on the autism spectrum three years ago, after seeking answers for troubles that had been ramping up since my childhood. My diagnosis of extreme chronic anxiety as a teen, then one of depression (later extreme chronic depression) in my twenties, while true and correct, were…