In case you didn’t already know, the actually autistic community on social media is an amazing place to meet and interact with other autistic folks. The actually autistic community does some of the most important autism advocacy work on the internet. The community is a force for social justice and a great place to find others who “get it.”
Mighty contributor Jessica Chen outlined just how valuable it is to follow, listen to and learn from the actually autistic community in her article, “This Autism Awareness Month, Please Listen to Autistic People“:
Listen to autistic adults and their stories, because we exist. Autistic adults have been through school, university and job-hunting, and we have a range of experiences to share, from supportive experiences to traumatic ones. Let us tell our stories.
Following actually autistic people on social media, reading their blogs and watching their videos can be one of the best ways to support, affirm and embrace your neurodiversity all year round — and educate others why we should be advocating for autism acceptance as opposed to “awareness.” With that in mind, we asked The Mighty community for the actually autistic influencers on Instagram they recommend following.
Here’s who they suggested:
1. Daniel M. Jones (@theaspieworld)
AUTISM & SOCIAL CUES⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #AspergerSyndrome #aspergersawareness #aspergerssyndrome #Aspergers_Style #autismme #autism #autismworld #autismkids #autismparent #autismmommy #autismfamily #AutismAcceptance #autismdad #autismlove #autismwarrior #autismsupport #autismstars #adhdlife #adhdmom #stigmafree #adhdawareness #sensoryprocessingdisorder #autismacceptance #differentnotless
A post shared by Daniel M. Jones – Aspergers (@theaspieworld) on Jul 23, 2019 at 12:15am PDT
Mighty community member @ghostpatronus recommended Daniel Jones for being “very informative and positive.” Jones, who is also on YouTube, shares videos about what it’s like being on the spectrum on his Instagram. Past topics have included everything from weighted blankets and autism symptoms you need to know to anxiety and sensory overload. He also posts snapshots from his daily life in the U.K.
Follow Jones on Instagram @theaspieworld.
2. Haley Moss (@haleymossart)
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair” – Shirley Chisholm . #Inclusion is not having to bring your folding chair, but sitting at the table, rightfully so. . Thanks, @bestbuddies for giving me opportunities to talk about genuine inclusion and ensuring leaders at @bestbuddieslc listen to the desires/needs of us who have intellectual/developmental disabilities! ????
A post shared by Haley Moss (@haleymossart) on Jul 22, 2019 at 9:15am PDT
Haley Moss wears many hats as an attorney, artist, author and speaker. Like many other people on the spectrum, after receiving her autism diagnosis at 3 years old, her family was told not to have high expectations. Now she is an autism advocate, especially for autistic women, using her experiences to celebrate neurodiversity.
“Haley has had the distinct honor of being the first Autistic woman in Florida to pass the Florida Bar Exam and become an attorney,” Mighty community member Dan Jackson shared on why he follows Moss. “Her attitude is amazing, and her spirit is wonderful! She gives hope and inspiration to families like mine!”
Follow Moss on Instagram @haleymossart.
3. Leanne Libas (@callmemisslibas)
A post shared by Leanne Libas (@callmemisslibas) on Apr 5, 2019 at 9:33pm PDT
Leanne Libas is busy as a college student and blogger for the Art of Autism, but she still finds time to post on Instagram about being on the spectrum and the importance of autism acceptance. She regularly takes down stereotypes about autism and points out ableism with plenty of opportunities to shares her favorite make-up looks (complete with tutorials).
Follow Libas on Instagram @callmemisslibas.
4. John Elder Robison (@johnelderrobison)
A post shared by John Robison (@johnelderrobison) on Jul 31, 2017 at 8:13pm PDT
Neurodiversity scholar and author John Elder Robison has done some amazing things in his career. For example, he designed special effects guitars for the storied rock band KISS, wrote a 2007 best-selling memoir “Look Me in the Eyes” and owns and operates one of the largest car restoration companies in the U.S. for high-end rides. Following Robison on Instagram will also give you a peek into some of his stunning photography work.
Follow Robison on Instagram @johnelderrobison.
5. Sara Jane Harvey (@agonyautie)
♾⭐️ Autistic Sensory Overload – Calming through Stimming, Tapping & Moving ⭐️♾ But over the last nine weeks, I’m learning more on how to adaptively cope with my anxiety, overload and triggers to post trauma. And I didn’t want to hide that from you just because I’m scared of being judged. Stimming, tapping, rocking & being quiet and zoning out like in this video, has helped me with my breathing, racing negative thoughts, not hitting my head and overall anxiety. Sometimes I Stim Dance, other times I’ll grab my squish items or a mediative glitter ball. But other times I just have to let the emotions course through my arms, chest, head, heart, mind and rock with them, breathe through them until they pass. When distressed, I move my breath from chest to my diaphragm (to stop me panting) and tap away my awful painful feelings and move how my body needs to. For me THIS PREVENTS MELTDOWN…the only issue is that to members of the public and people who don’t know me, such open Autistic distress and coping behaviour is misinterpreted and misunderstood. This is why I Advocate for a “Safe Space”, Calm Rooms or Quiet Rooms in schools, workplaces, cinemas, shopping centres and eventually within towns & cities themselves. Many people, like myself need a few minutes to process, think, calm our fight/flight systems and just BREATHE. Too often our distress is seen as disruptive behaviour due to lack of training, awareness and space for people to calm within. This can end in dire consequences for the autistic or distressed individual in need of a safe environment… from enforcement control to school exclusion. I’m a big fan therefore of the “Just A Minute” (JAM) scheme which has been rolled out across train stations and train staff to be aware of someone in a panic attack, the needs of cognitive neurodiversity and adaptations for learning disabilities. More importantly they are taught how to respond. Calling the police on people in distress is an act of control and coercion. The way forward is education, training, Acceptance of difficult emotions and plans with how to respond. To protect the person in distress & empower those around to respond. #agonyautie
A post shared by Agony Autie (@agonyautie) on Jul 10, 2019 at 4:32am PDT
Agony Autie — aka Sara Jane Harvey — is an autism advocate and presenter. On Instagram, she frequently shares videos about what it’s like to be on the spectrum, especially the importance of stimming and sensory tools. She’s also a chronic illness warrior, sharing on Facebook she lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Follow Harvey on Instagram @agonyautie.
6. Drewy Curious (@drewynovaclara)
???? #PRIDE ???? ????????????????⚪️???? BE YOU, ALWAYS. YOU INCREDIBLE CREATURES! @sandiegopride #PanromanticAsexual #polyamorous #forearmcrutches #wheelchairmodel #disabledmodel #disabledactress #deafmodel #autisticmodel #deaf #actuallyautistic #aspie #aspergirl #elhersdanlossyndrome #heds #paralyzed #strokesurvivor #posturalorthostatictachycardiasyndrome #wheelchairlife #disabledandcute #AFOs #SanDiegoModel #italian #mexican #nativeamerican #mixedrace #longhair #makeupoftheday #SanDiego Photographer: @pilotavery
A post shared by Drewy Curious????????????????♿️???????????????? (@drewynovaclara) on Aug 3, 2019 at 11:03am PDT
Drewy Curious is an actually autistic model and actress who also lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and other chronic illnesses, is deaf and is an outspoken disability advocate. Her Instagram is full of colorful affirmative posts that celebrate diversity and disability, whether she’s in a pool, posed in her wheelchair high above the city or against a street art mural using her braces.
Follow Curious on Instagram @drewynovaclara.
7. Amythest Schaber (@amythestschaber)
A post shared by Amythest (@amythestschaber) on Jul 9, 2017 at 5:13pm PDT
On Instagram, Amythest Schaber mostly shares snapshots from their daily life, including their amazing cat Jiji. Everywhere on the internet (often as @neurowonderful), Schaber advocates for autism acceptance, neurodiversity and disability as an artist, writer and speaker. They created the popular YouTube educational series “Ask an Autistic” and recently started a new series titled “Neurowondervlog.”
Follow Schaber on Instagram @amythestschaber.
8. Chris Bonnello (@aautisticnotweird)
Ironically (and tragically), there are parents who dream of their children becoming so capable of communication, that they become the kind of autistic adults their parents refuse to listen to. #autism #autismawareness #autismacceptance #autistic #autisticnotweird #aspergers #aspergerssyndrome #actuallyautistic #disabled #disability #disabilityawareness #specialneeds
A post shared by Chris Bonnello (@autisticnotweird) on May 20, 2019 at 9:55am PDT
Chris Bonnello shares his work as an author, speak and advocate on Instagram and across social media. On his website, Bonnello shared he wasn’t diagnosed as autstic as a child because evaluators decided he wasn’t “severe” enough. He didn’t receive a diagnosis until he was 25 years old. In 2016, Bonnello wrote his first book, which shared responses to 150 autistic kids on “What We Love Most About Life.” Currently a tutor for students with disabilities, he also wrote a novel, “Underdogs,” featuring autistic war heroes.
Follow Bonnello on Instagram @aautisticnotweird.
9. Christa Holmans (@neurodivergentrebel)
A post shared by Neurodivergent Rebel ????????️???? (@neurodivergentrebel) on Jul 21, 2019 at 6:50pm PDT
Neurodivergent Rebel (aka Christa Holmans) uses her social media presence to “destroy stigma and spread positivity,” whether that’s through snapshots of everyday life, stimming tools or autism advocacy messages. In 2018, Holmans, along with Agony Autie and other actually autistic influencers, started the #TakeTheMaskOff campaign to raise awareness about the stress of feeling the need to “mask” or hide your signs of autism and to celebrate neurodiversity.
Follow Holmans on Instagram @neurodivergentrebel.
10. Taylor Linloff (@aspirationalautistic)
A post shared by Taylor L. (@aspirationalautistic) on Jul 23, 2019 at 9:30am PDT
Artist and writer Taylor Linloff, who hails from Nova Scotia, uses her Instagram platform to educate others about being on the spectrum and breaking down common autism myths and misconceptions. For example, one recent post talks about autism and empathy, and that many autistic people experience hyperempathy. On her blog, Linloff said she hopes her posts will make others feel less alone.
Follow Linloff on Instagram @aspirationalautistic.
11. Joy Johnson (@joyfjohnson)
My sensory issues manifest in many small, sometimes maddening ways. For instance, itchy shirt tags and tight neckbands become unbearable and bright lights or a number of other visual stimulation become intolerable. These are just a couple of the numerous sensory related issues that are known to lead to an inevitable meltdown for me. Sensory issues make it difficult to interact with your daily environment. Which in turn impacts how you relate to others, learn, participate in group activities and function in general. A couple of ways I handle some of my own sensory issues is to cut the neckband and tags off of every single shirt I own. Yeah, people may think it is strange but it works for me (preventing meltdowns )and it doesn’t hurt anyone nor interfere with my ability to function ( work, parent, survive the day…) I also keep the lights dim in my home and wear sunglasses when lighting or other visual stimulation may be an environmental issue beyond my control. Assessing and making individualized modifications to things such as clothing and/or environments is one of many preventative strategies that may greatly assist in behavior management for individuals with sensory issues. Want to know more? Online consultations and parent training are available ! DM/ Email me???? major???? ????#atypicalandproud✊????#seetheablenotthelabel#spectrumsupport#autismspectrumdisorder #differentnotless #autismawareness #autism#autismcommunity#asd#appliedbehavioranalysis#autism #autismparents#autismadvocate #autismdad #autismmom #autismsupport#autismacceptance #r#nonvocal#sensoryprocessingdisorder #spd #actuallyautistic
A post shared by Joy F. Johnson, M.Ed, M.S. (@joyfjohnson) on Dec 12, 2018 at 1:24pm PST
Who better to work as a behavioral therapist than an actually autistic adult? Instagramer Joy Johnson is one such person, and she shares her thoughts on what some popular therapy research gets right and wrong about autism, urging researchers to talk to actually autistic people and better understand neurodiversity. For a daily dose of the truth behind autism science from someone on the spectrum, Johnson’s account is the place to go.
Follow Johnson on Instagram @joyfjohnson.
12. Emma (@undercoverautie)
Sometimes I catch the manual processes my brain goes through, which for neurotypical people would probably be automatic. . The other night I was lying in bed and something felt a bit ‘off’. (The fact that I even noticed that much is pretty unusual.) Slowly I began to notice that my leg hurt in the position I was in. You’d think that at this point I would automatically move, but no. I observed my brain going ‘leg hurts… hmm… shall we do something about that? What could we do…?’ and then finally I moved my leg and felt fine afterwards. . Frequently I end up sitting or lying in positions where people look at me oddly and go, “Doesn’t that hurt?!” And I’m like… oh right… yeah, maybe it does. And because I’m hypermobile my body does tend to flop into some weird positions. . There are so many instances of autistic people not having the same automatic processes that neurotypical people do. Sometimes we need help to move through the stages! . [Image description: a photo of Emma (wearing make up ????) smiling at the camera straight on.] . . . #actuallyautistic #autism #autistic #autisticadult #autisticwoman #aspergers #neurodiversity #neurodivergent #neuroatypical
A post shared by Undercover Autie (@undercoverautie) on Jul 18, 2019 at 6:23am PDT
Emma’s Undercover Autie Instagram is beautifully curated to share what being on the spectrum and living with a chronic illness looks like. A U.K.-based writer, Emma said she wasn’t diagnosed until she was 26. Like many other autistic women who aren’t diagnosed as early, Emma was ‘undercover’ for most of her life. She hopes her social presence and work will be relatable for others who are going through similar things.
Follow Emma on Instagram @undercoverautie.
13. Jeremiah Josey (@jercookingadventure)
If you missed me on @breakthrough_autism podcast today the link is in my bio ????#autismawareness #inspire #believe #april #chef #pastry #themarathoncontinues #victorylap #nolimits #audio #jercookingadventure pic:@staringstrangers apron:@danyakinyc
A post shared by Jeremiah Josey (@jercookingadventure) on Apr 17, 2019 at 1:01pm PDT
Jeremiah Josey is all about tasty treats as an aspiring pastry chef, and offers a healthy serving of autism advocacy on his Instagram account. Josey also hosts a YouTube cooking show, “Jeremiah’s Cooking Adventures” and also wrote a book about his experience of being on the spectrum, “Here’s What I Want You To Know.” You can also catch him as part of Kohl’s recent release of adaptive clothing for people with disabilities.
Follow Josey on Instagram @jercookingadventure.
14. James Sinclair (@autisticandunapologetic)
Still getting so many people contacting me about Bradford Literature Festival a couple of months ago. Thanks so much everyone – it was such a blast to be able to discuss neurodiversity with such a brilliant panel. @katefoxwriter @tv_radio_peg and Amy Arnold???????? • • @bradfordlitfest #autismawareness #ExploringNeurodiversity #BradfordLitFest #autism #actuallyautistic #panel #panelist #literature #JamesSinclair #diversity #understanding #inclusive #blogger #advocate #autisticandunapologetic
A post shared by Autistic & Unapologetic (@autisticandunapologetic) on Aug 4, 2019 at 4:13am PDT
If you follow his Instagram, you’ll catch blogger James Sinclair everywhere from the red carpet at a literature festival to the set of a game show. He shares plenty of snippets from his blog, Autistic and Unapologetic, as well as great shots from his travel around the world. (And check out the post he shared after he got engaged!)
Follow Sinclair on Instagram (@autisticandunapologetic).