I can find this hard to respond to, because as Lorna Wing said “nature never draws a line without smudging it” . I tend to use analogies to explore my contention that although the category of autism cannot be set in stone it is still useful. If someone has felt sad and despondent, or even fleetingly suicidal, it does not necessarily mean either that they have experienced depression or that depression does not exist. If someone has felt attracted to a person of the same sex, it does not necessarily mean that they are gay or that homosexuality does not exist, if someone has failed to hear something it does not mean that they are deaf or that deafness does not exist……………
You get my drift. Human traits all exist in a complex and constantly changing context. Just as behaviours that might be considered to denote homosexuality in one culture are usual amongst heterosexuals in another culture (when I went on a trip to Florence as an art student we were all surprised by the public affection men showed each other) so behaviours considered “autistic” in one time and place might not be considered “autistic” in another.
However I sometimes feel that individuals at trainings are seeking my assurance that they personally are not autistic. This is not something that I feel able to offer as it is well known that most adult autistics are currently undiagnosedand so it is not impossible that someone attending one of my sessions and recognising the autistic traits I describe in themselves could be autistic. Of-course more exploration and research would be required before coming to that conclusion, but if I assured participants that because they are functioning well in life they could not be autistic I would be buying into the myth that autistics can’t be well functioning flourishing individuals. I would helping to shore up the concept of autism as a negative prognosis rather than a helpful diagnosis.