10 things not to say to the carer of someone with #Autism

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I don’t expect anyone to know much about autism if they do not have someone with autism in their life – why should they? But – Please, please, please if someone says to you “My child has Autism” don’t respond with one of these phrases. I have heard every one of them at some time or another.

While my upbringing dictates that I smile politely in response, nod a little and escape the conversation as soon as possible, the intolerant, short-tempered, sarcastic version of me lurking not so deep under the surface wanted to give the answers I have included here.

What, like Rainman?

No, not like Rainman. Rainman isn’t the only damn autistic person on earth you know. People living with autism are no more like Dustin Hoffman than you, without autism in your life are Tom Cruise, which is a pity because if you looked like Tom Cruise, I could put up with your rampant stupidity & ignorance. But you don’t, so I can’t. Now bugger off and find someone else to wash in your particular brand of stupid.

Does he have any special powers?

No, he doesn’t have any ‘special powers’ that we have discovered yet. But he is young so his laser eyes or his telekinesis may still develop, in the meantime we’re teaching him how to develop a special invisible shield to protect himself from ignorance. Could you come round to our house and talk garbage so he can practice, please?

He doesn’t look autistic

It’s often difficult to tell when someone is different. For example, I appear to be ‘normal,’ but I’m actually the kind of crazy who will rip your arms off and beat you to death with the soggy ends if you say or do anything to hurt or upset my child.

You do not look ignorant, rude, thoughtless, and condescending, yet the words tumbling from your mouth suggest otherwise. You really can’t tell just by looking at someone, who they are and how they think can you?

Oh I have a friend/cousin/mailman with a kid with autism

Really? How interesting. Now you instantly know everything there is to know about life with autism, don’t you? I’m so looking forward to your in-depth explanation of how to live in a world that doesn’t understand you, from a third party perspective.

That’s the trendy thing to have these days isn’t it – Like the new ADHD

Well – you caught me. I expect it’s the faded jeans and the tee shirt that is stained with the drink kiddo spilled all down the front that gave me away as a fashion victim. I’m hoping the trend will last because I feel I’m really rocking this no makeup, no sleep in days, whats a hot meal like? look.

In fact, you know what? It is so trendy I have had a second child diagnosed, and myself and my husband also. It was easy. You just go to an incredibly well-qualified doctor who has built there life around the integrity of their professional knowledge and say “Hey doc, throw us all an ASD diagnosis would you?” and they’ll say “Yes, of course. Here, have an alphabet soup of other diagnoses as well I’m offering a special deal this week.”

I’m sure they’ll find a cure for it

Why? My child has a particular type of personality, not an illness. He doesn’t need to be cured or fixed because he’s not sick or broken – unlike much of the rest of our world. – Stares intently at the person speaking.

But he can’t be autistic, he speaks

Quick – tell the entire medical establishment you’ve discovered the definitive diagnostic tool for autism. Just one question “Does he speak?” if the answer’s no he’s autistic and if the answer’s yes he can’t be – hallelujah, now perhaps you can work on early diagnostic tests for cancer too.

I thought they all rocked back and forth and shouted & things

I thought you were a human being of average intelligence, average education, and an ability not to be jaw-droppingly offensive, ignorant and insulting. I guess we were both very very wrong.

Oh I’m so sorry, what a shame

WHY? We have a beautiful son who is the light of our lives, and because he will always need care, he will keep that light shining in our lives. You, dear lady, are an old bat who I would like to slap around the face with a big bag of your patronizing, syrupy ill placed pity. However, I fear there is no container big enough close by, so today I will allow you to escape.

Isn’t that just an excuse for bad behavior? I wouldn’t let him get away with that.I’m sure with some more discipline he’d be okay.

So not only are you judging my son from a position of ignorance but you are making assumptions about my parenting abilities too. Being such a bad parent, I’m probably lucky only one of my other four children is autistic. I’ll just go over there and shout at him a bit, maybe give him a timeout & remove some privileges. I’m sure, now that you have been kind enough to point out my error, that traditional discipline methods will work wonders for my child with autism.

1 COMMENT

  1. I have heard all of these comments and more. Often is What will happen to him when you die.

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