I wasn't thrilled about the idea of having them labeled autistic, but decided it was preferable to having them thought of as 'bad' or 'stupid' and those were the choices I had. If you can get the label, the school gets the extra funding and they are legally required to accommodate your child's needs. If you don't have the label, they probably aren't going to make a lot of extra effort.
Now that my sons are older (11 and 13) they don't need as much help, but the help they are getting (like my 13 y/o being allowed to have a set of books at home and one in his respective classrooms because he is pretty uncoordinated) is truly helpful, but doesn't interfere with their development.
OTOH, I have noticed that sometimes when they are just being bratty the teachers want to treat it like it has to do with autism. They won't believe me when I tell them they are just being bratty sometimes. But since I know about it, I can lower the boom on them at home, so it's okay.
They know they have autism and understand fairly well what that means. We're pretty open about it. They have tried to play the autism card with us a couple of times, but quickly find that it doesn't get them very far.
I expect them to behave courteously and to get good grades (and not dumbed-down grades because the have 'special needs'). They are competitive on the state standardized tests -- IOW, they perform better than the average student in our state on most areas of their tests. One son does get to use a keyboard for his answers on the test and the other gets the use of a scribe (the scribe is something I want to eliminate in a year or two) and they get a little extra time to take the tests, but they are taking the same test as everybody else.
My older son probably won't have any problems leading a 'normal life' without any major accommodations. He wants to teach elementary school and I think he could do that very well.
My younger son is less high functioning -- imagine an INTP times three -- smart, logical, nice, but extremely disorganized, absent-minded, and oblivious. Obsessed with learning about certain things (machines and animals -- science) but not particularly focused or interested in practical applications except for daydreaming and drawing crazy contraptions. He might find something to specialize in and do really well at it or he might end up wiping off tables in the mall and going home to watch documentaries on TV. Or anything in between. No idea how it's going to play out, but I'm working towards getting him a good education so he will be ready to specialize if something strikes his fancy.