Exploring the “subtle spectrum” of autistic discovery

What is The Subtle Spectrum of autism? People looking for the genetic roots of autism have identified around a hundred genes linked to being autistic. The combination of these genes that a person receives determines their place on the dazzlingly diverse autistic spectrum.

For some people, their place on the spectrum is evidence and no one can miss it. For others, it can be subtler. Many autistics identified in adulthood fall into this latter category. 

TCES Home Learning
Buy_ EHCP_ webinar

My shocking autism discovery

I've spent nearly two decades working within special education, so am aware of autism in a way someone who's spent 20 years working in a bank, for example, might not be. Even so, despite suspecting I was autistic since the age of 11, when I was finally diagnosed aged 36, the impact still sent shockwaves through my life.

I did what I always do: I explored the knowledge base out there. I took up an anonymous persona online and explored autistic communities around the internet. I dug through the blogs of lots of other people diagnosed in adulthood. I devoured research on the topic. And I began to spot patterns.

I think of the steps of recovery for alcoholics, or the stages of grief people describe after experiencing a death. I wish I could think of a positive example, for this has been a positive experience, but it is one that seems banded with a commonality of experience. As personal and unique as our own journeys are, those of us identified as neurodivergent in adulthood seem to pass through similar phases and stages in our understanding, and in our relationship with those around us.


How I hope The Subtle Spectrum helps

I set out to map those stages in The Subtle Spectrum. Let me put a disclaimer out there from the start, this is not an Ordnance Survey map, this is more of a sketch with the edges marked with “here be dragons”. Many kind and brave people contributed their personal stories to its pages, and I’ve inserted pop-out boxes with the sort of need-to-know research information throughout. 

People say “write the book you wish existed”. This was the book I needed when I set out on this journey. It’s not a perfect map, but at least it makes a sort of sense of the new landscape of understanding yourself as a neurodivergent person.

If you know someone diagnosed with a neurodiverse condition in adulthood, this is for them, and if you want to gain insight into what it is like to live as a neurodivergent person within a neurotypical world, then this is for you.

The foreword is by author Steve Silberman, author of the award-winning book, Neurotribes, described it as a “wise and compassionate book” and an “uplifting read for anyone on the spectrum, and for readers who want to comprehend the nature of autistic experience”.

Buy The Subtle Spectrum from Amazon*

*Disclosure Policy.

su_spoiler title="Terms and Conditions" style="fancy" icon="chevron-circle" anchor="costoflisting"]Please Read the Terms & Conditions and our disclosure policy for reviews: TERMS: ONE copy of this book to one winner. No correspondence will be entered into except with the winner chosen. If we do not hear back from the winner chosen with their address within seven days, we will retry to contact them and after a further seven days of no reply, we will choose an alternate winner. Entries arriving after 24th September 2021 will not be included. MAILING LIST: If you selected the box for your email to be included in our mailing list you will be added within a month of entering. For SNJ email alerts, you MUST confirm your agreement by clicking on the link in the confirmation email you will receive before we can send you post alerts, for your security. If you’ve changed your mind you can ignore the email, if you subscribe and change your mind, each email has an unsubscribe link included. PRIVACY: Your emails will NOT be used for any other purpose and, if yu did not sign up to a mailing list, your email will not be retained after the end of the giveaway. We do NOT sell your email. This review is not a sponsored post.[/su_spoiler

Also read:

  • Books SNJ recommends
  • Neurodiversity Celebration Week
  • SEND Community Alliance Join us

Join the SNJ “Patron” Squad & get exclusive content!


Become a Patron!


- Your Squad Patrons' EXCLUSIVE November SEND update Newsletter is OUT NOW! If you're a patron and you haven't received it check your spam. No joy? Get in touch.


Don’t miss a thing!

Sign up for SNJ new post alerts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Jo Grace
Follow Jo

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.