I guess this idea fits with another current orthodoxy which is that to qualify for an autism diagnosis you have to be significantly disabled by the condition. In other words if you have worked hard and overcome the barriers that autism, or attitudes to autism, place in your path, you are not autistic – however if you experience the same barriers but don’t overcome them you are autistic. Seems to me that is tantamount to making a diagnosis a prognosis. Autism is a lifelong condition, so if you have it, it is not going to go away, although if you are lucky you may find ways of mitigating the negative effects on your life – but if you do that it seems some people will dispute the validity of your diagnosis. As Landon Bryce says in his cartoon “one way to make sure autistic people never succeed is to make failure part of your definition of autism” (https://www.facebook.com/thautcast/posts/118261778354172 )
My own take is that there is significant stigma attached to Autism. I experience this on a daily level when people saying to me “you don’t look Autistic” think they are complimenting me. However the stigma and misinformation that suggests anyone can “look autistic” and autistic is a dreadful way to be is being slowly dissolved at the edges. There is more appearing in the media about the entire autistic spectrum and some celebrities are coming out as autistic and talking about their experiences of the condition Darryl Hannah http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/27/daryl-hannah-autism-terrified-fame_n_4002697.html and Paddy Consendine http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/8440399/Paddy-Considine-Knowing-I-have-Aspergers-is-a-relief.html spring to mind in this respect. So yes things are improving vis-à-vis the cultural baggage associated with an autism diagnosis, but I’m not sure we’ve reached Primark, let alone Gucci.