Photo by Darold Pinnock on Unsplash

No One Should Be Left Behind

Jim Irion
Non-Monetized Together #svalien
3 min readApr 26, 2023


Who are autistic people? Who are we that this late-diagnosed autistic guy is so adamant that we have time-sensitive resource needs and are lacking societal acceptance? Who and where we are is a matter of global significance. There are enough of us spread out across the world for it to be logically possible that there are many more of us in society than experts currently predict. I have also observed incredible diversity among autistic people.

Rich, middle class, poor, young, middle age, older, various ethnicities, religious, non-religious, nonspeaking, writers, ex-convicts, dark and light-skinned, sight and hearing impaired, gifted, capable, challenged, tall, short, men, women, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, de-trans, conservative, liberal, college educated, blue collar, employed, unemployed, retired, and more. Welcome to the autism experience.

Who are we, really? We are people of Nigerian ethnic background who get shot and killed by police because we are non-speaking. We are 18-year-olds who have de-transitioned because gender-affirming clinics prioritized profitable transitions over proficient mental health therapy. We are women who are lucky to get diagnosed at all because we mask and internalize our neurodiversity.

We are clinicians from third-world countries that are neither accepting of nor equipped to address mental health. We are young adults who are stigmatized because of our identity as LGBT. We are ex-convicts whose skin color makes us easy targets for the prison system. We are male suicide attempt survivors who are treated as menaces to society. We are children waiting for an affordable evaluation before it is too late. We are human beings.

For 40 years, I had no idea autism was a link between so many people. I was unaware of how much it conflicted with the rest of society. While I attended public school, something just felt different but I was unable to explain it. After high school, my life was filled with aimless career decisions and unemployment. I have watched as everyone I used to know passed me by. The cycle has only been broken by those who have tragically passed away.

I have been under the heel of the high-functioning labels for all this time. Yet, at age 41, with a four-year college degree, past capable work experience, and fifteen years of community volunteering, I am still on the outside looking in. I used to think I was not an ideal person to be an advocate because of autism. Now I know I am ideal because I know what autism is like and have to take it seriously.

Each of us knows what an autistic life is like. Each of our stories is important to showcase our special skills as well as the uniqueness of what is needed. With seven years of grassroots experience, I know an autistic advocate is ideally suited to represent such diversity and specialized needs. We are observant and see that not everyone can speak out. We are the strongest and bravest voices to do something about it.

It is not always the case that people lack communication skills. Autism is seen as strange or different, too assertive or distant, disabled or high-functioning. One way or another, we are stigmatized. Many have no one to turn to and are just getting by each day. I can devote my strength to these issues because I am autistic and I take them seriously. I choose to do the right thing because I will not leave anyone behind as I was.

A wise man once said, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person is at stake.” His name was Martin Luther King, Jr. I am willing to do the right thing by stepping up to lead the way. I will not rest until everyone else has priority over me so that I can make sure no one else is left behind. This is personal for me because of the suffering we have endured. Time is of the essence if we are to achieve the changes we still need.

One person is not enough…


Welcome to the next Autism Experience.
We Need Everyone.



Jim Irion
Non-Monetized Together #svalien

I am an autistic advocate, writer and presenter. My writing is primary source research material. "A leader leads. They don't walk away when someone needs help."