I don't think I ever met autistic person in person - or at least not autistic enough to the point where I would notice.
But from what I read here, autistic people can at least admit it's them who are different.
I think that I would have no problem dealing with autists - as coworkers or friends. Especially if both I and them knew they have such condition. Me - to have some time to read up on what it means and how to behave. Them - to at least try and control it a bit, signal if they need me to clarify something, or stop doing something... or that they need some time alone in a closet. The really severe cases - I'm not sure. But probability to meet some of those is really low I guess.
I hope you don't mind that I took some liberties with editing your post so it's clearer to what parts of it I'm responding to.
Glad to hear you're open-minded. :D
If you'd like I can dig in the depths of my bookmarks and provide some good links for research. ;)
WARNING: There'd be quite a lot. :P
"Wouldn't notice" can be a very double-edged sword.
On one hand, it's a compliment. "Oh, I'm blending in enough to come across just a bit strange sometimes."
On the other, it's a reminder that we appear too much like others. Even enough so they don't even believe us that we have a condition.
I think it was in my final year of high school.
I told my Philosophy teacher that I got diagnosed as autistic.
Her response was: "I don't believe you're autistic."
She was an awesome teacher, helpful, kind even funny, but too her I too close to "normal", the expected or average, to believe me
Control, yup what every autist does on a daily basis - the extent and specifics depend on the individual case.
As for signaling and clarifying, the best advice I've ever come across in an article was "self-advocating". Tell people what you need and how they should act to make it easier.
I've successfully followed it ever since.
If I'm really overwhelmed it'll be a small outburst, but if I'm not pushed to my limit (and getting to that stage is always unintentional by people in my experience), I'll do my best to be polite about it.
What I usually do is practice a cautious approach in social interaction - when in doubt ask what the other person wants and what they meant.
In some cases, it takes ages to get to the point when I know exactly
what they want from me.
And I realize that can make me seem difficult or demanding sometimes, but I'll settle for nothing less than the exaclty
And not because I want to be difficult, but the more information I have the better I can handle doing whatever task I've been given.
E.g. When my mom asks me to help her cook this can happen.
Mom: "Take the big knife and cut this."
- Me: There are several knives on the wall, multiple big ones. Exact match not found.
Mom: "The one with a jagged edge."
- Me: Multiple knives with such an edge, granted it's been narrowed down, but match still not found. ... A different direction might work.
"Which knife, the third on from the stove, the third one from the wall? Which one?"
I get it, I'm being incredibly neat-picking at this point and she might lose her patience and go get the knife herself or indulge me.
Another point I can illustrate with a similar example.
I can't multitask at all
if I need to do a set of things they need to be broken down into smaller, doable steps.
Again a cooking situation with my mom.
Mom: "So you cut the meat, cut the veggies, mix them and ... [the rest of the instructions about what process to use and at what temperature]"
- Me: "Hold it!"
How do you want them cut? What shape? What size? You want me to WHAT with them?*
What is this process? How's it done? Why's it done?
[Basically, my head's about to explode from so many questions.]
*after I've calmed down - could be a few seconds, could be minute or two*
Me: "Okay, can you give me a model of what kind of pieces you want? ... And tell me what to do next after
I'm done with the cutting?"
And we can go on with it at a slower pace, but it can come to a conclusion. *
The first time I heard the expression that actually was my reaction. XD
I think the English equivalent is "to steam" food and it's a lot more transparent than the word my mom used in Slovene "dušenje" which means "to strangle" if taken literally, which I'm somewhat prone to do.
Situations like these can lead to arguments, but that's because we're not the most compatible pair personality-wise.
We think differently, we react differently, we've mostly opposite tastes in just about anything.
Does that make her a bad mom? Not at all, she's a great mother and she's prepared to help me and do a lot more for me than parents usually do for their kids.
Am I a bad daughter? No, I'm not difficult on purpose and I try to communicate my distress or confusion if either happens.
We've learned to adapt to each other and it will in all likelihood be a never-ending process to figure out how to best get along.
I could provide some more amusing examples, but it's best if I stop myself before I go into overdoing. ;)
My point, admittedly implied, is that no-one is perfect.
Everyone has their own quirks and needs, strengths and weaknesses and at the end of the day limits.
People are different and that's not a bad thing, it just means we all have a common denominator of being human.