People who knew me from summer camp or from school, with whom I reunite on Facebook, often say this when I tell them I have Asperger's syndrome: "That explains a lot." And it does! People who I'm just getting to know today can't see that I have it because I've compensated for most of the problems that come with it. Just because they can't see the struggles and the pain I endured while trying to navigate the social world throughout the vast majority of my life (a lot of it was trial and error) does not mean that these things didn't happen. Asperger's syndrome is the only logical explanation for the social problems I had throughout my childhood and part of my adulthood. Some people become sub-clinical in adulthood (AS advocate Michael John Carley comes to mind-- I used to go to his support group and I never would have guessed he has AS). A child may have a dyslexia that makes reading a headache, but upon adulthood that same person may read with near total fluency. On the other hand, some dyslexic people rely on audiobooks in adulthood.
Like dyslexia, autism is a spectrum. And I think the highest functioning people have it the hardest growing up because they appear to be "normal." That is, "normal" kids who are stubborn, uncooperative, ill-mannered, rude, etc. When a child fits the stereotypical AS traits-- talking about trains, flapping hands, taking idiomatic expressions literally-- then people may see the AS more clearly and be more accommodating. Let's raise consciousness. For those of you who are the highest of the high-functioning, I'd like to hear from you.