You don’t have to choose between pretending to be 100% NT all the time and disclosing your diagnosis. You don’t have to choose between never asking for accommodations in informal situations and disclosing your precise diagnosis. Here are some things you can say.
- “I’m bad with faces” (as opposed to “I have prosopagnosia, also called face-blindness, which involves a neurological deficit in…”)
- “I have sensitive hearing” (as opposed to “I have auditory processing issues which present as a sawtooth audiogram, meaning that I’m more sensitive to certain frequencies than others, causing problems with tolerating loud noises and with understanding auditory information”)
- “Sometimes, I’m tactless, so tell me if I accidentally say something offensive so I know not to do it again” (as opposed to “I have an autism spectrum disorder”)
- “I don’t want to eat that food right now” (as opposed to “I have tactile sensitivities which make eating certain foods difficult”)
- “I think better when I fidget” (as opposed to “I have stims and symptoms of ADHD because of my ASD”)
That’s all they need to know. Don’t bother to disclose everything to people if you don’t want or need to. Of course, don’t hesitate to disclose if you truly need to or if you feel it’s important that this person know.
Lol — maybe something’s wrong with me because I typically choose the options in parenthesis. But yeah — I guess it’s true that sometimes giving all that information isn’t expedient and can actually cause more confusion than when I’m trying to “educate the world” about being autistic.
Nothing wrong with educating the world if that’s what you want to do. The problem is when people think they *have* to do that as a prerequisite for getting accommodations.