‘But You Don’t Look Autistic At All’ is part autism memoir, part autism 101, by which I mean it loosely chronicles Toeps’ life journey as an autistic person, whilst using Toeps’ experiences to educate readers (both autistic and allistic) about autism, and shed light on autism theories, autism stereotypes, autistic experiences, the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria and more. Throughout, Toeps offers pragmatic advice to autistic people looking to live authentically, advocate for themselves and meet their needs, and also provides guidance for allistic parents and allies looking to support autistic people.
Toeps’ style is direct and her tone meanders from lighthearted to serious to educational to sarcastic (see – it’s a myth that autistic people can’t understand sarcasm!) and back again, which makes this book a rollercoaster of a read and highly engaging. It is never too heavy or too fluffy, and educates in a way that is accessible. Toeps frequently uses apt analogies to illustrate her points and make autistic experiences accessible to allistics. You can read and enjoy this book and learn a great deal without having any prior knowledge of autism at all, but equally you can read this as someone who knows a lot and still get a lot from it (thanks to Toeps, I’ll soon be researching the Intense World Theory).