All face-to-face interviews were completed prior to transcription due to time constraints at the Autscape event. Text transcripts of the audio recordings were carefully checked against the recordings for errors or omissions. The text from the online groups was used as written by the participants with minor corrections of punctuation and spelling. Data about gender, age, support needs and co-occurring conditions were collected in order to fully characterize the sample, and to indicate possible avenues for further research. Additional diagnoses were not verified. Therefore, in this study, data were not analyzed separately according to additional conditions.

Data analysis was conducted using inductive thematic analysis, following the reflexive method set out by Braun and Clarke (2006, 2019, 2020). Because the aims were concrete and descriptive, a realist framework was used in which the experiences of the participants were coded and interpreted on a semantic level, without reference to social context or unarticulated meaning. After familiarizing herself with the data, KB exhaustively applied codes to each concept present within the data. The codes and categories were reviewed, analyzed, refined, categorized, and combined to generate themes and group them in meaningful categories. This was an iterative process and developing the structure to include a manageable number of themes required reanalyzing the codes, categories and themes several times. Saturation was reached after five groups, with no new themes arising in the final (sixth) group. Coding was conducted only by KB, who then discussed and refined themes in collaboration with all authors, with a selection of participants (described below) and again following peer review.

KB made an effort to reflect on her lived experience and prior exploration of autistic inertia, and the influence this would have in analysis. In particular, KB had a pre-existing belief that autistic inertia cannot be explained by anxiety alone and there is a movement component to initiation difficulties experienced by some autistic people. KB also has influence as a leader within the Autscape organization which may have affected participant responses; however, this background also contributed to trust and rapport within the groups. A visual record of the development of the themes was maintained in order to review decisions and confirm that important concepts had not been lost.

A selection of participants were consulted throughout the analytic process, which helped to shape the themes and final structure. The results were presented to many of the participants and others following Autscape 2020. Participants confirmed that the analysis was an accurate representation of their experiences. One responded that the experiences described were so close to their own that they could not readily identify which quotations were theirs. Another said that reading about others’ experiences helped him to be more forgiving of his own difficulties. Participants approved of the theme structure and analysis without any requests for corrections.

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