Autism Is One Word Trying to Describe Millions of Stories

One of my favorite quotes we have in the autism community today is from Stuart Duncan, an advocate who has a son on the autism spectrum. I first learned about this quote when he posted it on Twitter in 2012.

We often say autism is a “spectrum” and this fits perfectly into that definition. When I met Dr. Stephen Shore, another autism advocate on the spectrum who is also an international speaker, I quickly learned about his quote “If you’ve met one individual with autism, you’ve met one individual with autism.”

This quote reminds me that no two people I’ve met on the spectrum have ever been alike.

I was reminded about this recently while speaking about my own journey on the autism spectrum to a third grade classroom. One of the boys who came up to me in Batman pajamas because it was Pajama Day told me after my talk that he was on the autism spectrum. I looked at the boy and smiled. While we continued to talk I was blown away when he told me he knew Dr. Temple Grandin and Stuart Duncan, amongst other advocates. Then he told me one of his favorite quotes…

“Autism is one word attempting to describe millions of different stories.”

I’m thankful to Stuart for authoring this quote for our community to use in conversations like in my exchange with this young boy. We all need role models to look up to. Growing up, I wish I had been aware of people like Stuart, Stephen and Temple. They give me an endless amount of motivation to strive towards what I hope to do in my future, and I hope they will do the same for you.

A version of this article originally appeared on

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