• Community Contributor

The #ActuallyAutistic Culture and Identity Project S26

Name, and/or twitter handle: Ilenia, @ieahleen

Pronouns: they/them and she/her

Parent/non-parent: non-parent

Age when you selfdx/were diagnosed autistic: official diagnosis at 26,

a few months ago. Started self-exploration to investigate for a

self-dx 3-4 years before.

1. Did you feel you were different from others as a child?

I never really felt I fit in anywhere, I was always the child in

classes that stayed outside of friend groups, or that no one wanted to

partner with for group projects.

I didn't understand the others, or what I was doing differently from the others.

2. Are your parents supportive of you as an autistic individual?

They have always been supportive, they have always allowed me to pace

myself for everything.

And now dad is researching with me, reading books, and figuring out

with myself how highly probable that the family tree is full of never

identified neurodivergent people.

Mum has since passed away, but I believe she would have been supportive too.

3. How did you determine your ethical system?

Just, hurting is bad. What are things that hurt others are not always

that clear, and sometimes I need to learn what something actually is

before firmly placing it in the bad category.

I don't have much of an emotional response for many things.

4. In which way does your private self differ from your outward facing front?

I'm much more reserved in private, I feel much less obligated to use

my words to talk (I'm learning sign language, and my boyfriend wtih

me), let myself switch off to recharge.

My outward facing self is more witty and chatty, but it's really

stressfull, I'm often drenched in sweat after a conversation.

5. Do you enjoy finding mistakes/errors in the production of films and

television...continuity etc.?

I find it interesting, and enjoy compilations of that kind, but it's

not something that I search myself. Though if I notice one, I share it

with everyone. So maybe yes.

6. What are the top 3 traits you look for in a friend?

My friendships can be counted on one hand, and are things that just

happened. I can't really say how, but sometimes I find myself

interacting with people, for group activities for example, and

sometimes the people stick around even after the thing ended.

I don't really have traits I look for, or I am not able to point them

out at least.

7. What are the top 3 traits you perceive as negative but are willing

to overlook in a friend?

I really don't know, things just happen. I just go with vibe or

something like that.

8. What are the top traits you look for in a partner/traits your

partner possesses?

All the relationships, friendships and my romantic relationship, just

happened. I never had traits I looked for in a partner.

But my partner is really supportive, and we have a common look for the

future: find a quiet place in the country side somewhere where we can

have animals and grow plants, and if we manage live from that.

9. What would you do with your life if you had unlimited funds?

The quiet place where we can have animals and grow plants from above.

After that, charity.

10. What does freedom mean to you. What does it entail?

I may be repetitive, but the quiet place could be my ideal of freedom.

Free from people, free from societal obligations.

11. What does success mean to you?

I don't really know, I would be happy with my life if I could find

that quiet place and take care of it. So maybe it's just that, succes

is finding my home, my place.

12. Are you more stable/happier/productive within the structure of a

relationship...partner/good friend/long-term roommate?

Yes, my partner balance me, helps me to stay stable, and take care of myself.

13. Do you find it stressful to be around other parents at school functions?


14. How often do you pretend to not see people you know if you don’t

want to talk?

I don't recognise people, so there is that. I don't pretend usually.

If people recognise me and great me, if I am really not in the mood, I

greet back and keep walking.

15. In which areas do you identify the most with other autistic people?

Finding people weird and difficult to understand, and executive

dysfunction. Like, it took me almost a month to answer these


16. What are the most stressful aspects of parenting an autistic child

as an autistic caregiver?


17. What are the top 5 things you want your children to know about the

world and why?

If I ever had a child, I think I would want them to know that:

-There are things worth living for, even if in the moment may not seem like it.

-Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do.

-You don't have to live like other expect you to, but how it is best

for yourself.

-You are allowed to take your time to make decisions like what "you

want to do when you grow up", you don't have to know what you will do

the rest of your life to live well now.

-That you don't have to keep in contact with relatives you don't like.

18. Does living off the grid appeal to you and why/why not?

It depends if we are able to live from it, otherwise I would really

need internet for a remote job, so I can still stay in my quiet place

without venturing in the outside world too much.

19. What is your favorite style of architecture and why?

I would say "stile mediterraneo", soft colors and smooth lines, and

amalgamated with the surrounding environment. (Like Porto Cervo and

the Costs Smeralda)

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