“…this is more than a memoir. It’s also a model of how autism works, a mirror of how autism can feel, and a manifesto celebrating the beauty of autistic brains.”Annie Kotowicz
World Autism Acceptance Week began on March 27, 2023, which just happens to overlap with the last week of Women’s History Month. The Feelings Healers wants to spotlight the intersection between the two crucial (and underrepresented…whoop, whoop) communities by dedicating our inaugural book of the month post to autistic women, girls, and nonbinary folks!
Perceptions of Autistic People
This month’s book of focus is What I Mean When I Say I’m Autistic: Unpuzzling a Life on the Autism Spectrum by Annie Kotowicz, an autistic author and advocate who bares it all to neurodiverse and neurotypical readers. Kotowicz was diagnosed late at age 28 and created the blog Neurobeautiful to process her ongoing discoveries about life with autism and neurodiversity. She published What I Mean When I Say I’m Autistic in October of 2022, expressing early on in the text that she intends for it to be a glimpse into what life is like for an autistic person For those with an autistic loved one who seek a richer understanding of a loved one’s experiences with autism, those who may be autistic or otherwise neurotypical and undiagnosed, or—most namely—autistic women who may see themselves reflected somewhere among the pages, What I Mean When I Say I’m Autistic: Unpuzzling a Life on the Autism Spectrum is a memoir, but also a roaring declaration.
Life With Autism
Each chapter serves as an unfurling (or rather unpuzzling, as it were) extension of some dominant characteristics of life on the spectrum. Kotowicz’s draws from her own journey with autism as well as neuroscience to reveal what it looks like for her to engage in processing, interpersonal relationships, and misunderstandings. pThrough personal insight and with professional finesse, she breaks down a number of common symptoms of autism and the experiences often associated with neurodivergence, such as stimming, meltdowns and lesser-known autistic traits that she refers to as ‘“quirks.” Somehow, Kotowicz manages to simultaneously depathologize autism while also exploring the biology of neurodivergence.
Overcoming the Stigma of Autism
In keeping with Kotowicz’s own sentiments about her autism and autism in general, What I Mean When I Say I’m Autistic is a quick read that’s deeply invested in both advocating for and emphasizing the beauty of neurodiversity through the lens of personal growth and community support. Check it out!
Find these similar books on the web and on our BookShop!
- Annie’s Blog: https://neurobeautiful.com/
- The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek
- Unmasking Autism: Discovering the New Faces of Neurodiversity Devon Price
- Sincerely, Your Autistic Child: What People on the Autism Spectrum Wish Their Parents Knew about Growing Up, Acceptance, and Identity by Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network (Author), Sharon daVanport (Editor), Morénike Giwa Onaiwu (Editor), Emily Paige Ballou (Editor)
- Is That Clear?: Effective Communication in a Neurodiverse World by Zanne Gaynor, Kathryn Alevizos, Joe Butler
- Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women by Sarah Bargiela and Sophie Standing
by Raven Wilson
Raven Wilson is a graduate student and clinical intern at The Feelings Healers.