I found autism forums invaluable when I realised that I was autistic. I spent months reading thread after thread to see if other people’s experiences were similar to my own, and they were. It was partly this knowledge that gave me the confidence to seek a formal diagnosis. I spent hours reading about other people’s experiences, met some really interesting and people and learned a lot about autism.
- Wrong Planet – ‘Asperger and Autism Forum Community’ – This is probably the most famous and largest of these forums, but I have heard various people state that things can get quite heated on here (if you know what I mean). I’ve never experienced that myself however, but that could be because I have deliberately shied away from discussing anything that could be considered too controversial. The site states that it is for “individuals (and parents/professionals of those) with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, PDDs and other neurological differences” and consists of a discussion forum, useful articles and advice on subjects such as “Friends and Relationships” and “School and Jobs”.
Although the site does cater for those with various neurological differences, I no longer feel totally welcome here, as my formal diagnosis ended up with me being diagnosed with Classic Autism (more properly ICD-10 ‘Childhood Autism), rather than Asperger’s.
When you first register, you are presented with a dropdown menu giving you a choice of
- Have Asperger’s – Diagnosed
- Have Asperger’s – Undiagnosed
- Not sure if I have it or not
- Family member with Asperger’s
- Other autism spectrum disorder
These are presumably in order of rank!
Anyone who has a diagnosis of ‘Autism’ rather than ‘Asperger’s’ has no option but to choose the ‘other autism spectrum disorder’ option. The glaring omission of ‘Autism’ as an option makes me feel like I’m an afterthought and that I’m not actually welcome.
In addition, some of the discussion threads are restricted to people with a diagnosis of Asperger’s or ‘Aspie’s’, so I don’t feel like I can legitimately join in. Still, you can’t blame the site for the this I suppose. If you are an ‘Aspie’, you’ll probably really like this forum, but I would advise anyone who has been diagnosed with ‘Autism’ to give it a miss.
- National Autistic Society (NAS) – Community – A “discussion forum for people on the autistic spectrum, their carers and relatives, and professionals working in the field of autism to meet online and share their thoughts and experiences”
This forum is UK based which is useful if you live in the UK and would like to discuss things like the NHS, UK benefits and Pot Noodles without feeling awkward about it. There’s not a huge amount of traffic on it, but still worth a look.