One website tells us: "As autism awareness has grown dramatically in recent years, many young adults and adults have learned the signs and felt there may be a connection between their feelings and behaviors and the symptoms of autism."
Or then again there might not be a connection: These people might associate their feelings and behaviours with living in a way that is universal or extremely common rather than deriving from a particular condition. In short, is it OK to say 'I have limitations, and that's because I'm a human being'? I have to wonder whether the so-called 'rise' in autism has to do with our greater 'awareness' of it -- whatever it actually is -- or whether the embrace of a possibly 'glamorous' disability that is meaningful for some people as an explanation or even excuse might be nearer the mark.* The problem also is not just the power of suggestion, persuading people that they are other than they are, but in certain cases there may be 'gaslighting', in which people are persuaded, against the truth and contrary to reality, that they are other than they are.
*Another article only confirms my suspicion: 'Despite much debate about the causes of the so-called autism epidemic, the consensus among experts is that the increase is mostly due not to a rise in incidence but to greater awareness, recognition, and testing, and to the wider parameters of who qualifies for a place on the spectrum (New Jersey, for instance, has some of the most robust autism services in the country). Such elasticity is nowhere so relevant as at the fuzzy, ever-shifting threshold where clinical disorder shades into everyday eccentricity.' BINGO.