Put a group of autistics together and they are bound to get along, WRONG! The thing with autism is that it is so varied we can end up clashing. One autistics need could be another autistics meltdown trigger. For example some autistics needs peace and quiet, but at certain times too much silence can be bad for me, giving my OCD thoughts and anxiety a chance to take over. I used to be part of an autism support group on Facebook. It was fine for a couple of months, but people started disagreeing on various topics, getting more and more heated in debate. In the end it led to arguments and people getting upset, so I left the group. If autistics struggle to get along with other autistics, how an earth do we expect to get along with non-autistic people?
Actually I sometimes find non-autistic people easier to get along with. They can be more willing to except difference and change, more able to understand that people’s opinions may differ from their own, less easily upset and stuck in their own way of doing things. An autistic person may obsessively tell me about a hobby or interest to the point I am almost at meltdown and have to find an escape from them. I find some non-autistic people very hard to get along with, but no more so than some autistics. Autistic people like everyone else have personalities so we will not all get along.
The National Autistic Society in the UK campaign for more autism friendly services and shops. The trouble is what is more autism friendly for one autistic may not be for another. I do wish other people understood autism better and were more excepting of our needs and differences, but I feel the term ‘autism friendly’ can be misleading. It assumes that all autistic people need the same changes, which is simply not true. I would rather people just accept us as a bit different and that we may not fit the social model of ‘normal’ all the time.
The fact that autism is so varied can be an issue. Instead we need to look at it more as an umbrella term rather than as one specific thing. It is several conditions that have common characteristics. There is a need for books and guides on the subject of autism to not stereotype or it could be a case of ‘oh, but the book says…’. I tend to find the books written by autistics themselves are often better than those written by so called experts on the subject.
I recommend The Girl with the Curly Hair Project as a good guide to what autism is like for a lot of people, especially females with Asperger Syndrome. https://thegirlwiththecurlyhair.co.uk/