My Mum is awesome.
Mum doesn't have any sort of diagnosis - she grew up long before there were such things. But she has officially diagnosed family members, and sees a lot of the traits in herself, and we understand each other well. Now that I'm over my big bundle of teenage hormones and young-adult angst, we get on magnificently.
She's always accepted me as I am and never saw me as 'broken' or in need of fixing or changing. I'm her only child, but I've never been made to feel she'd like to trade me in on a better model. She understands the troubles I have socially and motor-skills wise, and never made me feel it was my fault. She can sympathise.
When I was a kid she encouraged (or tolerated, at least) my special interests rather than trying to redirect me into whatever was popular with other girls my age. She also understood that some clothing is sensory-hostile and let me choose my own clothes and dress myself, even if that meant something unfashionable that didn't make me look as pretty as all the other little girls. I grew up when the whole "being a girl means wearing pink frilly stuff and wanting to be a princess" movement was just beginning to become the monstrosity it is now, and between my super short hairstyle and preference for dark, soft T-shirts and jeans over anything pink and frou-frou, I was regularly mistaken for a boy. And Mum didn't freak out about that.
Mum also respected me as a person first and her child second. When I did have meltdowns, draw on the walls, break things, run away in shops and all the other things I don't remember doing but I'm sure I did, she dealt with it quietly, person to person. She didn't bitch about what a burden I was, or take pictures of it and put them on the internet to shame me for eternity.
Because Mum grew up much as I did, bullied and ostracised and never fitting in and not knowing why, she can sometimes have a fairly bleak view of the world and people like us having any sort of place in it. In her experience, a lot of people were horrible and that was just life. Rather than trying to find the good ones, a long and often fruitless search involving a lot of rejection along the way, it was easier to just cope with the hostile environment as well as you could for as long as you were obliged to, and then escape as soon as possible.
And as defeatist as that sounds, it worked. Of the options available to us, it was the one that kept us sane and with some degree of self respect in the face of a world that wasn't set up with our needs in mind. I think the "I'm not OK, but you're not OK either" mindset was actually healthier than assuming we were just wrong and broken and everything that went wrong or ended badly was our fault.
These days, things are much improved. There's a lot more awareness. This way of being has a name and recognition attached to it, it's known to be A Thing and not our fault. Society's a bit more civilised, too - bullying and abuse of students by teachers is no longer acceptable in schools as it was in Mum's day, for instance, and I like to think if I were a schoolchild today someone would actually notice I had a developmental delay.
However, there's still a long way left to go. Services for adults on the spectrum are mighty light on the ground. Cognitive disabilities are lagging badly in the fight for respect and acceptance - just look how common "retard" is as an insult. You can try to argue that people who use that term aren't talking about actual people with cognitive issues, but the point remains that it's only an insult because having mental, neurological or intellectual issues is considered a crap, substandard, inferior way to be.
It isn't. And I know it isn't. And that self belief is the greatest gift my mother's given me.