24 February 2012

15 Things You Should Never Say To An Autistic

Trigger warning: Quotes of things that shouldn't be said. They can be ableist and triggering.

Edit 17 Apr. 2012: After receiving a slice of humble pie over the anonymity of the internet for language that was interpreted as cissexist, binarist, and inaccurate, I've revised the language in number 13.

Note: I use identity-first language (i.e. "autistic person") and not the politically correct person-first (i.e. "person with autism") because I'm not a person with Asianness or a person with womanliness. Calling me an Asian or woman doesn't mean I'm not a person and neither does calling me an Autistic.

15 Things You Should Never Say To An Autistic

There could really be a hundred or a thousand of these, but I've decided to choose just fifteen for the sake of brevity and not imploding anyone's browser. All of these things have actually been said to Autistics, children and adults, and some of them are unfortunately very common. Some happen more often over the internet, and some happen more often in person, but they're all phrases or questions that can be incredibly hurtful. Sometimes people who say these things are well-meaning, which can make the impact even worse. Especially in those cases, people might not understand why these can be so offensive and hurtful, and occasionally insist that what they're saying is a compliment, even when it's not.



1. "So is that like being retarded?"
Factually speaking, Autistic people in many cases do not have an intellectual or cognitive disability, and many people with intellectual or cognitive disabilities are not also Autistic. There are some Autistic people who also have an intellectual or cognitive disability. Nevertheless, the word "retarded" is often very hurtful for Autistic people, as it is frequently used as an insult to dehumanize people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. The r-word is often used to express hatred for people with disabilities. Please don't use it.

2. "You should be very proud of yourself. You seem so normal. I couldn't tell that you're Autistic."
While this is rarely said to Autistic people whose disability is very visible, it is very frequently said to Autistic people with much more invisible disability. It's insulting because it suggests that because the person doesn't appear to be disabled or doesn't fit preconceptions of what Autistic people are supposed to sound or act like, that person must therefore not have a disability or be Autistic. It also suggests that "normal" is the standard to which anyone should aspire to appear or act (and that "normalization" should be the ultimate goal of therapies or treatments for autism rather than pragmatic coping skills to navigate a world where Autistics are a minority), and therefore that it's not good to act or speak in ways commonly associated with being Autistic, even if those behaviors don't actually hurt anyone. This is very dismissive of a person's disability and experiences.

3. "You must be very high-functioning."
Many Autistic adults take issue with the "high-functioning" and "low-functioning" labels for a variety of reasons. Some people have received both labels but at different times in their lives, and many Autistics have very uneven skill levels -- some people who might be able to articulate their ideas very well at a conference may be unable to travel alone or cook for themselves, while some people who are unable to communicate with oral speech might be able to live independently. That debate aside, this is also very dismissive of a person's individual experiences with disability. Unless you know someone very, very well, you have no way of knowing what specific adaptive functioning skills or life skills a person has or what his or her needs and challenges might be, and it's not possible to acquire that information simply by looking at a person.

4. "You're not like my child; you can write a blog post. My child will never be able to write a blog post."
Not everyone who can write a blog post can live independently, tend to their own activities of daily life, get and keep a job, complete higher education, travel alone, communicate with oral speech, or manage their own finances. The ability to write a blog post says absolutely nothing about a person's needs and challenges, and how disability might affect an individual person. There are people like Amy Sequenzia, Larry Bissonnette, Amanda Baggs, Tracy Thresher, Hope Block, Sue Rubin, and Carly Fleischmann, all of whom are non-speaking Autistics or people with autism who have given presentations at conferences, written blog posts, written letters to the editor, published articles in newsletters or journals, and visited legislators. Other people, like Kassiane Sibley and Kathryn Bjørnstad, who are frequently touted as "high-functioning" because of their blogs, do not have consistent adaptive functioning abilities.

5. "I know a kid whose autism is really severe. You don't seem like him."
Every Autistic person is different from every other Autistic person. Among Autistics, there is a huge range in individual abilities, skills, needs, and challenges. It is impossible to know what an Autistic's abilities and skills versus needs and challenges after a brief conversation either in person or in the comments thread of an internet post. What makes Autistic people a group united by a shared diagnosis are the commonalities of all Autistic people. All Autistic people share some of the same core characteristics that define autism -- key differences in neurological functioning, sensory and cognitive processing, and communication abilities that often manifest as disability. If an Autistic person was diagnosed by a qualified clinician familiar with autism, that person is Autistic, regardless of whether they look, speak, or act like another Autistic person.

6. "Can you have sex?"
Yes, Autistic people can have sex. Some get married and have children. Some have Autistic children. Other Autistic people are never taught about sex, for a variety of reasons. Autistic people, like all people with developmental disabilities, are at much higher risk for abuse or victimization -- sexual or otherwise -- than the general population, but that doesn't mean that Autistic people don't know about or can't have sex.

7. "Does that mean you're really good at math/computers/numbers?"
If there's one thing that's sure to offend an Autistic, it's seeing him or her in terms of common stereotypes about autism. A very small minority of Autistics are also savants. Many Autistics have higher than average measured IQ, and many Autistics have measured IQ that falls right into the median, while still others have an intellectual or cognitive disability. Some Autistics have dyscalculia or similar learning disabilities, and actually find math to be extremely difficult. Other Autistics, including those who might be good at math, simply don't like it. And yes, some Autistics happen to be excellent with math and enjoy working or studying in related fields. There are Autistics who are relatively computer illiterate as well as Autistics who thrive in the IT world and community. Asking if we like math, computers, or numbers because we're Autistic is like asking a Black or African American if he or she likes watermelons or rap music because he or she is Black or African American.

8. "But you're married/have a job/go to college. You couldn't do that if you were really Autistic."
Yes, it's true that every Autistic isn't going to get married, have a job, or go to college. But plenty of Autistics do get married, have jobs, or go to college. This statement is insulting because it's ableist. (For those who may not regularly read my blog, ableism is like racism, ageism, or sexism, but directed toward people with disabilities.) While not every Autistic person may be able to do all or some of these things, it's very ableist to assume that no Autistic person can or that anyone who can must not be Autistic.

9. "Do you take any medications for that?"
This is a very personal decision. Some Autistic people take medications for various reasons, and some do not take any medications. You wouldn't ask a stranger if he or she was on medication for anything, so you shouldn't ask an Autistic person whom you don't know very well if he or she takes medications either. This is very rude to ask someone, especially someone whom you do not know well. The only context in which such personal questions are appropriate with strangers or acquaintances might be during a conference or panel presentation where the Autistic speaker is specifically speaking about his or her experiences.

10. "You have no right to claim to speak for severely Autistic people who can't speak for themselves."
Firstly, any non-speaking Autistics can speak for themselves. People like Amy Sequenzia, Larry Bissonnette, Amanda Baggs, Tracy Thresher, Hope Block, Sue Rubin, and Carly Fleischmann are all non-speaking and they can speak quite capably for themselves. Secondly, while every Autistic person has different abilities and needs, that does not mean that Autistic people who may present as highly verbal or invisibly disabled cannot speak to the commonalities that they have with Autistic people who do not present the same way as themselves. Furthermore, any Autistic person will understand another Autistic person's experiences far better than any non-Autistic person by nature of also being Autistic. That doesn't mean that I should be advocating for your child in his or her school (unless you ask me to do that, it's not my place), or that I know your child's particular quirks or personality, because unless I actually spend time with your child, I don't and won't. It does mean that I share the way your child experiences the world, and can speak to that.

11. "Can you please not flap/rock/spin/jump in public? It's embarrassing."
Flapping, rocking, spinning, jumping, or other stimming (calming behaviors), in the vast majority of cases, hurts neither the person doing it nor anyone else nearby. There's nothing wrong with stimming, and this statement communicates that the Autistic person should stop acting like him or herself or stop moving in ways that come naturally and instinctively. This is like asking a Christian who likes to wear cross jewelry to please not wear a cross necklace in public, or asking a Latino or Hispanic from an hispanohablante country to please not speak Spanish while in public. It's very offensive, and for some people, could be very triggering (psychologically and emotionally traumatic).

12. "You mean you are a person with autism. You are a person first, not a disability or a disorder label."
Some people on the autism spectrum do prefer to be called people with autism, and if talking to someone who does, you should call him or her a person with autism. Many of us, however, prefer to be called Autistic or Autistic people, and if you are talking to someone who prefers to be called Autistic, you should also respect his or her preferences in referring to him or herself, and call that person Autistic. Everyone has the right to decide how they would like to be described, and you should respect that right.

13. "What's it like to be Autistic?"
Just as it would be improper, rude, and demeaning for someone to ask me what it is like to be Asian, it is improper, rude, and demeaning to ask people belonging to any marginalized group what it is like to be the way that they are. You shouldn't ask someone whom you don't know well what it's like to be Autistic outside the context of a conference or panel presentation about that person's experiences--in which case, more specific questions might actually be better and more effective--and if the person is someone whom you know well, you still should refrain from any variation on this question if the person has made it clear that the topic is an uncomfortable or off-limits one. Besides, every Autistic person's experiences vary so much that it'd be an injustice to all of us for you to ask a question that implies that there's one way to experience being Autistic. While we share certain characteristics and experiences of the world, our life stories and our experiences with people and ableism are vastly different.

14. "Have you ever heard of Temple Grandin? Her books are really amazing!"
The answer is almost always yes. But it gets very tiresome for Autistic people to constantly hear about Temple Grandin day in and day out. There are many prominent Autistic people in diverse fields and known for a variety of accomplishments, and it's very annoying to be constantly compared to the one same person all the time.

15. (Asking a question about the Autistic person to a parent, support person, aide, sibling, or friend who is standing or sitting beside the Autistic person )
Please don't talk about us as if we're not in the room when we're sitting or standing right here. Just don't. The message that that communicates to us is that we don't matter and can't possibly have anything meaningful to communicate.

256 comments:

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    1. Also don't ask how big their penis is.

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    2. especially if they're a girl!

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    3. Thank you so much for these tips. Shame on me for not understanding much about my brother's diagnosis. Sorry for ignoring his feelings when I say some words that were so hurtful for him. Thank you and please keep us posted.

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    4. I looked over the questions in this article, and I don't really agree that most of them are offensive. I take people who comment on my high social functioning as giving me a compliment.

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    5. I felt the same way at first. I didn't find it offencive. Then I said to myself, if I was autistic how would I feel? If u have empathy for other people then u will understand what maybe a compliment to one person might be offencive to the person its directed towards.

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    6. If you actually read the comment, you'd notice that he said that he is autistic himself.

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    7. I am 29 and autistic myself, It's hard condition to live with as its caused me so many job losses and failed relationships because other people wont take the time to actually understand why i do the things i do! The problem is though is that my autism seriously messes up my social skills...as i can be having a decent conversation with someone..and suddenly ill change my mind and that person might aswell of not existed or even spoke to me because i wont remember anything they say to me or even what their name is. Its horrible and im fed of certain people just judging me without even taking the time to get to know me. For the record we are not crazy or stupid like some of you like to think we are...GEt over yourselves and start seeing people as people and not just a stereotypical label!

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    8. I am an Australian volunteer social worker in Thailand and have an autistic young Thai man in residential care. I found him on the streets 6 years ago and had him diagnosed by mental health specialists as a Tourette sufferer. He spent two years under expensive medical care and made limited progress. He could not speak back then and they enabled him to speak again. He left our care to rejoin his family who he had absconded from when he was a young teen. He kept on coming back and I could not work out why. Then I studied autism and realized that the medical experts had misdiagnosed him.. His parents are uneducated and appear to be unable to love him as he is. I care for him as best as I am able. I have all the patience in the world. He does not react with me and avoids conversation. But now and again I catch him looking at me with the most beautiful smile on his face. That tells me he is happy here. I leave his meals in the refridgerator for him because if I handed them to him he would refuse them. I understand that this is quite common with autism. He considers eating to be a very private affair. I suspect its also a pride thing too in that he does not want to feel like he is receiving charity.
      Mental health in Thailand is a hundred years behind the west. Most believe that mental problems are a punishment for things one did in their former lives. What more could I do for him. That is an open question for anybody with more experience than I . Is there an online support group for carers such as I ?

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    9. I understand misdiagnosis, and I am equally annoyed by it. I have what some doctors call Aspergers, what other doctors call High Functioning Autism. For the first 17 years of my life, I received no medical examination. My mother thought that I was demonically posessed. I was eventually forced to leave my home to escape their biased prejudice. Since then, I had been sent to multiple mental hospitals, and diagnosed with several disorders, including depression, OCD, and Tourettes. Given countless medications and treatments. I've always been rather intellectual and knew that these didn't fit me. I wasn't anything that they claimed I was.
      Finally, a year ago, I was sent to another doctor who finally helped me understand what was really wrong. Since then, I have never used it as an excuse, and only tell people I'm autistic when I need them to not react badly to some of my fits. I still have to deal with both prejudice, and people who think I'm not autistic because I'm intelligent. I also have people who think there's something wrong with me because I cannot properly interract in a social setting. Most don't know I have a disorder though.

      Despite all of this, I do have one question, and I would like the answer from any Autistic person. I have a husband, and I want to give him a child, but I am afraid of having children. I want to know, do those of you with autism, or even doctors, if it is safe for me to have children, or even a good idea.

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  2. Amazing, it speaks for all of us!!

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    1. Pity there iznt a blig for us poor fuckers that have to live with autistic people.
      Autism excuses bad behaviour.

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    2. What is wrong with living with a person with Autism? I do it everyday!! My oldest son is Autistic and I do not allow anyone to excuse his behavior because of his disability, not that there are many cases. My son is very well mannered, addresses people by their last names until he is told differently and everything is please and thank you! I have raised my son well and pretty much on my own since he was diagnosed 16 years ago. So for you to sit there on your high horse and bitch and complain about there not being any blogs for you to complain on leads me to believe that you are a person that cannot or will not tolerate someone with a disability such as this. As a paralegal in the Province of Ontario, I can tell you that this is discrimination of the highest level!

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    3. I am autistic as is my daughter and it is damn difficult living among you illogical 'normals' you know!

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    4. You mean all the mommy blogs and message boards full of people who go on and on about how it's so awful that their children toe walk, flap, don't make eye contact, and use non-spoken forms of communication and don't make a single bit of effort to understand why their kid might be having a hard time in a world that overwhelms them and then hates them for being overwhelmed just suddenly disappeared? Wow, awesome, when did this happen?

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    5. my brother has autism, i know dang well that it isn't bad behavior

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    6. Thank you for making us all look like thought policing twats

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    7. Really anynonamus (1) you are a bitch. It's not like people can help be unautistic

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    8. Hi, i dont know if am right but is only one thing that bother me on this entire page, calling the autism a disability. I really dont careabout the first post guy/girl i think is brainless.Please check this link out http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-04-10/news/bs-ed-autism-20130410_1_autism-research-autism-diagnosis-national-autism-awareness-month

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    9. At the anon saying stuff about how autism excuses bad behaviour. You are so wrong. Whenever I do something bad I hold my hands up and admit I am in the wrong. I have autism and I find your comment about people looking after autistic people being "poor fuckers" rude. People who have autism didnt ask to be born with it. I detest people like you, people who make the remarks, give funny looks and point. I hate people who accuse me of milking my disability or using it as a crutch. I hate people who discriminate us. I tell you what though thank god there are people like you because I'd rather be autistic than like you: rude, nasty and all the rest of it. I used to want to not be autistic because of how I was treated. I hope no one in your family has autism as then you have just bad mouthed them for being different too. From Leeann Turner

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    10. I agree with these posters. I dont have autism, but Ive been around a fair few assholes that do... and you know what I blamed for their bad behaviour? The fact that they just happened to be ASSHOLES. Austism has nothing to do with it. It's not an excuse for bad behaviour, it's a real disability. And people with autism are just that-people. Some are nice, others not so much. Just like "normal" (wtf does that even mean) people... smh

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    11. hey, i'm autistic and i'll be honest, sometimes when i do socially awkward crap... i just blame it on my autism for comedic effect, usually gets a laugh or two. BUT when i actually do something wrong and for example make a faulty electric circuit (or however that would be spelled in english, i'm a belgian electrician) i apologize and get on with my life.
      now that that's out of the way, what's your excuse for bad behavior, as you just let all of us know your an ass

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    12. It's isn't really that difficult to understand Anon1's statement.

      Just as a person who has never owned a cat might say "I would never own a cat, they claw up your furniture and jump on all of your counter tops." Of course this is only true for poorly raised cats, as it is also true that poorly raised ASD children can grow up using their uniqueness as an excuse for bad behaviour. (This really applies to any poorly raised child, ASD or not)

      When a parent says, "Excuse him/her, he/she is autistic." rather than helping the child understand that whatever they did might hurt someone's feelings, it makes an impression on that child that they don't have to be held responsible for their actions.

      As an aspie I understand that some times strange actions or harsh words simply cannot be helped... stupid shit just comes out of my mouth some times, but when you realize you've done something annoying/hurtful you should apologize and not just say, "Oh my bad, I'm autistic."

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    13. I'm autistic too, but that isn't an excuse for bad behavior. Sometimes I don't understand I hurt someone's feelings until after I insulted them. I just apologize and move on. You talk to us like we're the most annoying things in your life. Well, guess what? You know nothing about us.

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    14. "Anonymous March 21, 2013 at 5:15 PM
      Pity there iznt a blig for us poor fuckers that have to live with autistic people.
      Autism excuses bad behaviour."

      Dear Lord! The ignorance of some people! I had to catch myself before I bluntly ask you if you're really that stupid. I am autistic and find this INCREDIBLY offensive. You, sir, are an asshole! I will provide you with a high-quality stick if you would be so kind to shove it up your ass!

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    15. What a total prick anon march 21st is. It's not an excuse at all, one of my sons is autistic and one isn't both get treated exactly the same. It's down to parenting, I'm sure you been an ignorant fuck is down to your shitty parents who didn't educate u probably.

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    16. Sofia don't fearJuly 16, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      My nine years old little niece live with us and she is autistic, we love her very, very much she is well behaved, good manners says thank-you, sorry etc. and much better them regular cold bitter, stupid people. I see every day stupid, ignorance people like anonymous #1. Sad, sad but thank God we are very lucky to have her sweet, little love in our life. Please people out there get educated, The ignorance of society specially some people that is really a disability to the MAX!
      With love and education we conquer her for good. All of you empty brain and all you are is= an asshole to the MAX!

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    17. Anonymous March 21 5:15 pm 2013. You bastard. I am autistic and people like you should have been put down at birth for there pure ignorance.

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    18. anonymous(1) i'm autistic aswel and believe me it ain't fun to always here you ppl talk trash about us i hate fuckers like you burn in hell

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    19. my son has been diagnosed of Autistic when he was 3 years on age. it's been 5 years already and I'm still struggling to cope with his diagnosed. he looks bright, high IQ intelligent,studies in the mainstream class with the special "advance programs" that teachers plans for him. he is well manners and shows caring for others especially his family members. just only a few "autism features" that turns him into "Autistic" thinking of what his future will be and where life will take him is killing me. I felt hurt and painful every times hearing people made comments about him, about autistic people.
      for me, Autism is NOT disability, it's all about being different! so Please do RESPECT the different of being Autistic.

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    20. Anonymous (1) fuck off !

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    21. so much swearing! Just ignore the first post.

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    22. I'm autistic and so is my father, I live in Belgium and I'm 16. But that's not the point, I know how fucking hard life is, struggling every single fucking day, every minute, every second, the never ending extremely high demand of concentration and power. But I want to make one thing clear, even though there are people whose job it is to help me and try to understand my problems (god bless their kindness, because that's one hell of a job), during all that I'm just trying to figure out how neuro-typical people like my brother work, I've discovered this: my brother is jealous of me and the advantages I get as an autist, but he forgets about all the problems, i've learned to accept that it must be hard for neuro-typical people to live with me, my dad and other people with autism, that's simply how they are, just as we are so much more logical and different, normal people are illogical and again way more different. But remember this: to live between people who are so dangerous to us in every single way possible, you'd better learn to understand them.

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    23. I dnt mind being called disabled because i am i love autism but i also hate it its not easy bein autistic jus look at it all i can b hated by people I've never met jus because I'm sick autism isn't a personality type wether we learn to accept our autism or not it is wat it is and profanity is a sign of ignorance i agree with th article but th comments r not kid friendly

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    24. Hey! It's pretty pompous to assume that every person with autism who is not polite and well behaved at all times is simply a product of poor parenting either. To state such things is to insult the parent/s and the child. It is based on the assumption that people are easily programmed and cannot think for themselves, or that all of us are fully in control of ourselves at all times. I have a very clever little son, he's loving and polite and erudite except sometimes when he'll scream and spit and pinch and kick and bite. He's told me that this happens when he feels 'stuck' and it's very hard for him to control. Sometimes an alarm won't stop outside, sometimes it's an irritating thought, sometimes he's not all that sure what it is. We do things together and he's making fantastic progress. Don't be cruel. Don't say that it's the product of poor parenting. Plenty of kids everywhere are badly behaved and yet have wonderful and supportive parents and plenty of loving and responsible children have terrible, abusive parents.

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    25. Thanks AnonAug16, That is so true. To have a brother with autism it hurts to see people who don't recognise that they are all different. For example my younger brother loves to be chased and tickled, but he has never talked or laughed at a joke, while others can't bear to be touched but can talk and socialize. It is amazing your son can communicate, that would just expose another whole level of him that would otherwise have been hidden

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  3. Lydia,
    I found this list very helpful - There could be a similar list..."15 Things you should never say to a parent of an autistic." There are some questions, similar to the ones above though addressing a parent, that trigger my rath.
    I'm sure Erin will read this list.
    Thank You.

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    1. I've seen at least two blog posts on that note -- things to never say to a parent of an Autistic child. I didn't see anything like this, so I decided to go ahead and put it out there hoping that people like you would find it useful.

      Blessings and peace,
      Lydia

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    2. And then there are the Things Never to say to an Autistic Parent of a Spectrum kid....which is a blog I need to write sometime when I actually get a handle on things around here....do need to correct the comment about not saying "what's it like to be..." regarding race, religion etc. I am Jewish. I moved to the midwest, where there are not a lot of us. I have indeed been asked by "nice Minnesotans," what it was like to be a Jew, and the most amazing question: "Do you wear your hair like that (my hair is very curly) to hide the horns? Martin Luther said Jews have horns."

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    3. Yeah, Luther only started saying that crap about the Jews after he realized they didn't care about his Protestant Reformation.

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    4. I suppose people can be a lot more ignorant than I'll give them credit for being. I'm sorry that happened to you, Jane. I suppose the point still stands, though, that in most parts of America, asking someone "What's it like to be Jewish?" like that would be considered rude and offensive, whereas very few people consider asking, "What's it like to be Autistic?" rude or offensive.

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    5. YES... there should be a list of what NOT to say to a parent of a child with autism. At our IEP meeting we were told, and it was entered as 'data' on the IEP that the teacher did not see ANY his autistic behavior at school and that she had 2 more students in the class that are much more autistic, therefore he is normal. In the IEP the teacher kept bringing up examples that showed he was not autistic. It was a twilight zone meeting.

      We've also had people ask us questions in front of our child... as if he was not there, comment to others that 'there's the autistic boy', and things like that. Perhaps we start a Google Document or other shared portal and create this list?

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    6. There actually are at least two blog posts like that that I've read already. I don't have links offhand, but I know I've read one about things said in IEP meetings, and two said to parents of Autistic children.

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    7. @Jane Strauss: Jews with horns: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkY-TYTHRGU
      (...horns, and trumpets, and trombones, and tubas... and percussion and woodwinds and strings! :-))

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    8. As a parent of a 22 year old who was diagnosed with Aspergers a few years back, but who I constantly struggled to find a diagnosis for throughout most of her school years, I find it very hurtful and frustrating when people tell me she's just like most other girls her age. And they would know this how?

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    9. After explaing my sons diagnosis and the services he was receiveing in the home to another mother.. She turned to me and said "at least you don't have to hire a babysitter!". I nearly punched her!!

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    10. what I found most worrying was the teacher's response in the primary school. Telling me in front of other parents that my child needs to learn to 'hurry up', And this was after the teacher had been informed by the educational psychologist that his slowness is part of his autism.

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    11. Thank you for this list. You should have it printed!!

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  4. excellent! i have already shared and will continue to do so. Thanks, Lydia!

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  5. While all of these are excellent, #15 is the most salient for me, one that those of us who are parents of autistics especially need to really and truly understand. Thank you, Lydia!

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  6. I actually do somewhat take issue with #13.... When i'm trying to get to know someone who has different life experiences than I do, I directly ask them questions about the things that make us different. The question is typically framed very similarly to "what is it like to be...". I'm not implying that their experience is going to be the same as anyone else who is different from me for the reason that they are, because I"m talking to that one person. I think it's potentially damaging to discourage people from arming themselves with knowledge by asking questions directly, and #13 is the most direct way to ask anyone anything about themselves. If someone asked me what it's like to be gay, i'd tell them, and I can't think of any reason why I should be offended.

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    1. It's most often the tone and the context that makes this one offensive. I agree that it's good to want to learn more about other people's experiences and perspectives, but if you had just met someone and found out that he or she was Autistic, that's not an appropriate time to ask about that person's life experiences. On the other hand, if you've known someone for a while, that's a different context for asking a close acquaintance or friend about his or her experiences. The tone that can make this one very condescending is a tone that puts the Autistic person under a microscope rather than giving him or her an equal seat at the table, if that makes sense.

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    2. I do not. I think that if a person really wants to know what my experience of living for more than thirty years as an autistic child who became an abused autistic child, then became an abused autistic adolescent, and is now a PTSD-suffering autistic adult, they can learn it for themselves through simple observation. I find it far more productive to convey my experience of life through photography ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=281785741842039&set=a.101010559919559.2095.100000318462315&type=3&theater for example), sharing other peoples' music (eg a DarkThrone song called Rawness Obsolete or just about any Made Out Of Babies song), or pointing out examples from film (the best one being, of course, Blade Runner).

      Actually, whilst we are on that subject, Lydia, what do you think about the idea of a list of films/music that better captures the autistic experience than those explicitly promoted as such? I published one years ago on another website that seems to have vanished, and would be happy to update it.

      If I need to ask a question, it is usually about a fine detail (one people should ask more often is how being autistic can complicate diabetes management, for instance). Clearly, Anonymous has missed the point that when one knows one autistic individual, they know one autistic individual.

      Delete
    3. As an Autistic person, I really struggle with the "What's it like to be Autistic" question. It just doesn't make sense to me. Would you know how to respond if someone asked you "What's it like to be Neurotypical?" I can't answer because I've never NOT been Autistic. I have no other experience of being to compare. My Autistic brain affects the way I do and experience everything, all the time, just the way everyone's brain does. So the question itself really doesn't make sense. Someone asked me recently, "So how does autism affect your life?" I could have answered, "Well, I'm Autistic when I wake up in the morning, and all throughout the day, and I'm still Autistic when I go to bed everynight." I was Autistic when I was born, and I'll be Autistic when I die, so I guess it affects my life in that it just IS. I am me and that's that. A more constructive (not necessarily appropriate, depending on the situation, but easier to answer) question would be: What things do you struggle with in daily life? What do you enjoy about being Autistic? How could the world better accommodate you?

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    4. I can perfectly well tell you what it's like to be neurotypical, katie. My world looks like one of those museum rooms that To Cruise wants to break in and that is full of invisible laser beams out to detect him. Only in my world, they are not laser beams, they are bayonets - each one designed to finish me off. Every person may turn out to be a deadly trap. One false word from an ever increasing list of false words, or from a huge catalog of unapproved acts and I'm othered and a non-person. Actually, being neurotypical, I don't have humanity to begin with and everything I could say is just typsplaining. Have you ever considered how incredibly hurful that is? Have you ever considered how hurtful it is that we are just supposed to swallow it up? Well, I better shut up, since I won't be heard anyway . . .

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  7. Excellent post. As the parent of a teen with autism, it enrages me that some people feel the need to ask autistics questions they would never dream of asking their "normal" friends. Would you ask a neurotypical whether he or she takes a certain medication or has sex? I wish people would use their common sense and realize that everyone is entitled to dignity and privacy, and no one else's experience with autism is necessarily applicable to any particular person.

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  8. Lydia, nice job, as usual. I think a lot of what your write applies to people with all kinds of disabilities. Disabled people (and especially people with intellectual impairment) are seen by many as somehow less than fully human. And, therefore, presumably not capable (nor deserving) of enjoying life to the fullest.

    A lot of this attitude springs, I think, from ignorance, so even though I am taken aback by some of the things you mention, I usually try to educate people about "what it's like to be autistic" (although, of course, I can only speak for myself). Some of the fear/distaste/rejection that people exhibit toward those of us with disabilities comes from an innate warning system about The Other. Our primitive brain flashes a warning flag when we encounter something or someone unfamiliar. That does not mean, however, that we have to follow that into prejudice; we can choose to override that warning with our intellect. That is why awareness and education is so important.

    I have a couple of picky points, and would not be doing my *autistic duty* if I did not point them out.

    #8: you say, "While every Autistic person may not be able to do these things..." while I think you mean "While not every Autistic person may be able to do these things..."

    #11: you use two words that are not commonly understood, I believe, and you don't define them: "stimming" and "triggering" -- I don't much like the concept of "self-stimulation" because I don't think that's accurate. Many people have taken up the phrase "calming behaviors" and I think that better describes the function of these activities. They dissipate nervous energy in a harmless way. As to "triggering" I think I know what you mean, but my hunch is that this word doesn't mean a lot to most people. Just sayin'.

    Overall, excellent contribution to the discussion. Thank you.

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    1. Enough people have pointed out the placing of the word "not" that I'm going to change it.

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    2. Accurate or not, "stimming" is pretty commonly accepted and defined language in the Autistic and autism communities.

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    3. however, people outside the community don't know this. It is rude to expect people to know. If you want understanding, you often have to put up with annoying and hurtful questions. As a queet black woman, I get both all day from white people. I eventually had to decide to forgo being insulted -- because people are going to ask.
      If the same persin KEEPS asking the same thing... well, then, it's time to reflect the moronic.
      " Can you have sex?" "I was wondering the same about YOU. Cause, you know, you seem to be asking me to explain it to you."
      (Did I mention I like being sarcastic to morons?)
      That said, good list.

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  9. I liked the fact that my husband alerts me when a new post is up and he thinks I need to drop everything and read it. This was one of those posts. Thank you Lydia.

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  10. As a person with Asperger's, I do agree with most of this. But, If a person is trying to understand me, and is asking questions about meds or about how the condition affects me. I think there are people who have a natural curiosity, and are trying to find out what people are like. I don't mind someone who wants to get knowledge of how it affects me and my life, because it means that they are interested in me, and are taking the time to try and understand me. And understanding and acceptance I think are the most important things. And if giving someone a perspective of how it affects me instead of them getting a clinical description from a book helps them to understand what makes me tick, than I am ok with that.

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    1. I agree with you on that plus I can see the argument from both perspectives. As long as they're asking out of a genuine desire to understand, then I have no problem with it, and I tend to ask people, after establishing a friendship first, similar questions. On the other hand, I was diagnosed with Asperger's & a IQ level that's borderline low (mid 70s) in year 9, so I think that's why I don't see the problem.

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    2. You are no more of an autistic than the next guy that is unhealthily obsessed with stupid shit. Aspie cunt.

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    3. There's no need to call someone else an Aspie cunt.

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  11. autistic mother of 4 children, 2 have autism. This is amazing what you articulated here. I posted on my fb wall. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  12. thanks for number 6
    one of the main reasons that i hide my autism from most of my friends is so that i can still have all my lovely friends with benefits. it sucks that so many people assume autistic people are incapable of consenting to or enjoying sex.

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    1. Don't kid yourself or us. When push comes to shove, most courts will consider your autism and turn consent into rape. It's only self protection if you stay away from sex with someone on the spectrum - any spectrum.

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    2. I really, really doubt that, given how badly actual rape cases are handled in terms of victim-blaming. Furthermore, even if it was true, way to go, recommending that we compound a mentality based in stigma (presuming incompetence) with avoidance likely to cause more stigma. That's sure to change things for the better. [/sarcasm]

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  13. So glad that someone is posting anout this. I don't have autism myself but my cousin does and the amount of times people have just said horrid stuff like that just breaks my heart. He's alos only 8 and doesn't understand what they're saying so I end up shouting at them for him. Even one of my friends turned to me once after I had mentioned him in a conversation and said "does that mean your kids could end up being retarded like him?" and i cried because that really was a vicous blow. She's not my friend anymore. Poeple keep posting this!! We need to raise awareness of all the horrid sterotypical people out there!!

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  14. As a bipolar, I think this article speaks for many of us. Please don't ask about my drug regime, it is none of your business. Yes, it tells you a lot about where I am on my spectrum, but you really shouldn't care.

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  15. one thing forget is this people think everyone is autistic but they not. people with autism is very unique we are the most potential of the world future and beside some people bullied us by our disorder. We must be happy what god give us instead for stupid cure of an medical. We must be strong and always loved the stuff we do regard the one people says. For example people tell me to stop liking pool float like beach ball swim ring , and other because my phobia of balloons I always don't what say what I like It's up to me what I like. It just one or two points forget. Please comment me or email my is roynoris@gmail.com for more questions or answers.

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  16. I am autistic and I have been fortunate enough to have jobs where I have shown that I can do things just as well as someone who isn't austistic. Only in job where I was employed by a major supermarket, I was refused work on the tills as they believed I wouldn't be able to do the job properly. I had, in fact, operated tills in a previous job at Asda. I do find it insulting that employers can add a label to you thinking you may not be able to do the job when you can show them that you can.

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  17. I wish I could get #11 tattooed on my forehead! People tell me to stop rocking/flapping my hands all the time, and some people even put their hand on me and physically force me to stay in one place. So rude! How would those people like it if others tried to control their natural body language?

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  18. I find #13 to be false for at least me(I have autism), i find it a very good opportunity to inform them about autism or at least Aspergers what I have.

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  19. I'm sorry but for me, question #13 is a legit question. I'm an African American woman, and I'd rather someone ask me what it's like being African American than to go on thinking in stereotypes. Of course, I can't speak for all black people but I feel like I can cover what it's like with how most people view black people. It's like loosing a family member. It's painful and while coping may be handled differently by others, we can all relate to the feeling of loss.

    I have a 4yr old daughter who has Autism (I'm a person who will say she's a person first with a diagnosis of Autism) and I still find myself trying to understand certain things about her. So, I'd rather ask a person than to come up with my own conclusions. Just a thought....

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    1. This was the cleverest take on stereotypes I have ever seen: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Stereotypes

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  20. Just waaaaaay too much OTT "PC" going on here. Unless we ask questions about our differences, we'll never learn to understand each other. :|

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  21. 15 is the only one I can relate too. It pisses me off more than anything.

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  22. That last one (15) is so very accurate. My parents do this--when talking to each other. Pisses me off so much

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  23. What do you say to an Asperger's person?

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  24. I really like most of this list but I also completely disagree with #13. By including that one in this list, the overall message becomes "don't talk to someone with Autism since s/he will be insulted no matter what you say."

    Yes, absolutely, that type of question is the way that i show interest in anyone's life experience since nearly everyone loves to talk about themselves. Being Asperger's, it is actually this question of NT's that has saved me tremendously by allowing me to collect data i need to be able to relate to other people. I am so disappointed that it took me until my 40's to learn to ask this type of question. I have no idea what other people are talking about when they say that you wouldn't ask this question of NT's. It's just about the only tool in my kit that i have for making friends.

    Perhaps it could be worded a little better (perhaps "So what have you had to do to cope with your Autism in this society?"), but overall i just don't agree.

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  25. Referencing Temple Grandin is likely a person's attempt at connecting with another individual. While it may bother a person with Autism, it likely is not done with any ill will. If I learn that someone is a police officer, I will reference my experiences in trying to engage that person. An aggressive reaction to what is likely an innocuous comment could be unnessecarily alienating to a well-intentioned person.

    In an ideal world everyone should be sensitive and understand these principles. However, it's also important to realize that people come with all sorts of life experiences (or lack thereof) - and misunderstanding is not a reason to dismiss someone. Perhaps in cases listed above, you could see them as an opportunity to inform, rather than a reason to get upset.

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  26. Fantastic piece you have put in words so well what I have tried to explain to others about autism . I have two little boys who have autism ages 8 and 4 yrs old trying to explain to people that the boys have a variety of challenges and strengths that it is to simplistic to try to ' grade ' what autism is. My 8 yr old knows he has autism and accepts it as part of his identity . Thank you for writing this piece

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  27. I'm turning 35 this year and am just now finding out that I most likely have Aspergers. I was disowned by my adoptive family because of it, and have been denied any relationship with my two kids because of it as well. I'm ashamed to tell any of my friends about this (most of them are a lot younger than me) and have no one to talk to. I don't trust therapists because they're getting paid to pretend you matter for an hour per week and I just despair of ever being loved.
    That said, I hate autism. :(

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    1. I would like to know if you will write to me at my email address lynntulumello@yahoo.com
      I have a friend who is your age going through the same things. I would love to talk to you.

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  28. Something that another person told me once that really hurt:

    Why can't you just not behave that way?
    If you really are sorry for your behavior (in this case outbursts), you would just stop the behavior. You'd recognize it, and just not do it.

    ...

    Two months later, he maneuvered a conversation to where my buttons were pushed and I yelled at a third party. He got me kicked out of a club for 6 months for it; tried to get me expelled from the club.

    ...

    He said he stopped talking to his autistic brother, because of his brother's inability to properly behave. I suspect his brother is better off, yet still feeling a hole in his life.

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  29. What is it like being Autistic?
    (I call myself an Autist, a person who is Autistic; because I am not the condition. An artistic person is an artist.)

    Being an Autist, I feel as though I am from another planet. I understand the language, and can communicate with others; however there is just something weird about how my mind works that makes me alien. It isolates me, and makes it difficult for me to function fully with the rest of society.

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  30. There is a boy in my college class who I think has Autism. I would like to ask him about his behavior and why he does what he does. He flaps his hands in class. It is very distracting. He has outburst every now and again and sometimes can be down right rude to his classmates. I have a disability myself and I do everything in my power to sit still and not to draw attention to myself.

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    1. Stimming is a real need for Autistic people. It alleviates stress, provides needed sensory input or sometimes does both depending on the circumstance. Telling an Autistic person not to stim can add to their anxiety, because it takes away their coping mechanism. If this is truly a matter of competing access needs, where you can't learn (teach?) while he's flapping, you can perhaps talk to the student about it, making it clear to him that you're not telling him that flapping is bad or wrong but that you can't do what you need to do, and work out some compromise (e.g., alternate stims or him flapping out of sight). If it's distracting only in the sense of being strange and you find it unpleasant on that basis, I'd suggest that you avert your eyes and let him flap.

      The outbursts may be the result of any number of things, and it's hard to say what it would be without a definition of outbursts. My first reaction is that it might be at least in part caused by sensory distress, as a lot of Autistics have sensory integration or processing problems. This could include things like the lighting conditions in the classroom (are there any flickering lights? Is it too bright?), overlapping or loud sounds, or physical contact (for instance, if the desks or seats are too close together and he gets bumped a lot). Even if these are not the immediate causes of the outbursts, they could be contributing factors, in that sensory distress significantly reduces our ability to handle other sources of stress. Alternately, it may be the result of frustration at the class being taught in an inaccessible learning style (which can include sensory issues, but aren't limited to them). If you're the professor, you may want to look at his class participation, work product and attentiveness during class, as these could also be showing signs of that. It may also be issues external to the class, which may or may not have to do with being Autistic except in that we often don't know how and aren't given the tools to express ourselves until we reach crisis point and it spills over. If this is the case, I strongly recommend proceeding with caution and carefully balancing his privacy and your/your class' need for a safe and respectful learning environment.

      What constitutes rudeness? I'm not trying to be obtuse here, but where Autistic "rudeness" can mean serious things like yelling, hitting, destroying property or otherwise harming people but is also used to mean not making eye contact or not making smalltalk with classmates, I think it's a question that needs to be asked. If the rudeness is harmful or threatening to others, or if it's seriously disrupting the learning environment, you should find out why (again, it may be sensory distress or other things that can be addressed through accommodations), work out ways for him to not be rude in those ways, and pursue discipline if it doesn't change after that. If it's stuff like not making eye contact, though, I'd leave it alone. Autistic people can feel subject to so many rules that don't come naturally to us, some of which make little sense, that we either decide screw it, none of it matters, and end up harming people, or we become so boxed in that we forget how to be ourselves. We need some room to be ourselves and to have people meet us halfway. If you do confront him about harmful rudeness, make sure to explain why the conduct is harmful, but don't be patronizing about it, and allow for a dialogue rather than seeming to impose things on him.

      4Disabled people are under no obligation to blend in and disguise our disabilities unless the manifestation of these disabilities cause harm to other people or interfere with their access needs. Not drawing attention to oneself has no value either way, positive or negative, and it should be up to an individual disabled person how "out" they want to be about having a disability as long as they're respecting the rights of other people while doing so.

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  31. I get stopped by the cops all the time cause im autistic and people think im drunk or on crack or crazy just cause I jump and spin and twitch and yell.......isnt that funny..i guess there just not used to that kind of odd behavior.....but I cant help it

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    1. Keep being the person you are! Just because you get stopped by the Police, it doesn't mean you're in trouble and you seem to know that. The person who matters most, is YOU. Your 'odd' behavior is only so, because others aren't use to it, it doesn't mean you're abnormal. It only means you're different and difference is good.
      Be Proud to Be You!
      Keep smiling and bright blessings :)

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  32. this comment may also fall under the category of things that are better left unsaid to people with autism, but for some reason I feel the urge to write it. I have heard that many people with autism find it hard to employ theory of mind, to understand that another person's state of mind may be different then their own - different motives, beliefs, etc. I feel like this blog shows a certain lack of theory of mind. It is titled "15 things you should never say to an autistic" but at times really reads as "15 things people said to me and I didnt like." For example, "you can blog..." or "you have no right to claim to speak for...". Anyway, I think we all have trouble employing theory of mind a lot of the time with varying degrees - hence democrats calling republicans evil and vice versa. I also think some are good at faking it. Great blog Lydia.

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    1. A lot of Autistic people get told these kinds of things. Not Like My Child and "But you're so high-functioning!" are common derailing/silencing techniques used by neurotypical people to dismiss the viewpoints of Autistic people who speak out against ableism or neurotypical privilege.

      The theory of mind concept as applied to Autistic people is flawed. This is most easily shown by how little theory of mind neurotypical people employ in dealing with Autistic people, assuming even as they know that we're Autistic that we operate/want to operate in the same ways they do - in terms of social norms, sensory stuff and other things. The only reason that that's not perceived as pathological or problematic is because neurotypicals are the majority.

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  33. Thank-you, for his post! My room mate is Autistic and I have most likely subjected her to some form of ignorance in 1 - 15. (I'm pretty sure it was number fifteen.) I'm glad this post is here to enlighten me and others.

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  34. I really like this and I certainly won't do any of those things now, but what SHOULD I say to an autistic person. So far my method is to treat them like anyone else, is that right?

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    1. Nata: I can't and won't speak for other Autistic people, by as one myself, I find it nice when people treat me as an equal. All we wish is to be accepted for our differences and similarities and treated with the respect we deserve. So yes. Treat us as you would any other person, but please try to remember, that socialising isn't usually a strong point for us and we may say things which could come across differently, to the way we had intended.

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  35. I get asked about maths/science all the time, and I respond with "I dropped out of my science degree and I've got dyscalculia so no, I'm not into maths."

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  36. Thank You! For the post. I wish all NT's would read this.

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  37. Thanks a lot for this Lydia! Even as an Autistic person, I found this useful and an interesting read. I don't get asked or much of these "Don't say to an Autistic person..." things, but it's still worth NT's (NT = Neurotypical = Non-Autistic (In it's basic form) for those who don't know) having a look at this. Again, thanks a lot for this post Lydia. Much respect!

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  38. Bullshit. I just asked those out of nowhere to an autistic friend, and they did not mind any of those at all. When I linked her here she honestly said most of it is bullshit and makes no sense, and the author is stupid.

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    1. You do understand that your one friend is not "every single other autistic person out in the world?" It is a shame that she disliked it, but that is only her opinion. I find the list helpful, and have forwarded it others several times.

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    2. Some people are fine with being asked questions, and with educating people who realize how little they know. That's fine. For the most part, however, these are things that you should not ask a random autistic person without knowing, or having a pretty good idea, that they're one of the people okay with being asked questions.

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    3. By the way... "the author" reads the comments.

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  39. who the **** is Temple Grandin?

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    1. temple grandin is a well known autistic woman who has done incredible work with animals and studying our ability to understand them, she has also done alot to promote acceptance and understanding of people with autism.

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  40. I agree with everything said here however one small point on the tone. I would appreciate it if those informing people on the courtesies of speaking and addressing groups equally and kindly would consider that it may be insensitive as well to tell people how they "should" think. Every person comes up with their own experiences and perspectives and has the right to think how they think, do they not?

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  41. Most people with mental illness work hard and strive to continue a normal life. The autism spectrum is the only group that is not only willing, but encouraged to act like something isn't wrong with them. As a person with Schizophrenia, that managed to come back from the brink and retrain myself, I have to lay this on all of you.

    You are not human. You are missing the key things that make someone a human. This means you are mentally retarded/incapable and need to change to adapt to normal ways, not the other way around. Do that or accept you are wild animals that are out of control.

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    1. 1) There is nothing inherently valuable or human about being normal. Normal is just average. I don't know about you, but I would like to aspire to be better than normal, especially if your post is an example of what "normalcy" is (you were obviously not "retrained" very well if you go about dehumanizing whole groups of people...)

      2) Stop being disingenuous. You didn't "have" to say any of this. You did it because you want to. There's a difference.

      3) Contrary to your belief that we're encouraged to think the way we do about ourselves, we have to struggle against useless prejudices like yours all the time. You're not saying anything new, controversial or out there.

      4) Where the control imposed is irrational, illegitimate and harmful to too many people at too high a cost, being "out of control" is not a bad thing.

      5) People told me all kinds of things I "had to" do to "fit in" for fitting in's own sake for the longest time, and I want very few things more than to have no one else experience that, being now on the other side of things where I've come through and excelled as me, not a cookie-cutter person that doesn't know how to be a "me." Your concept of normalcy on the other hand, on top of being nothing special to aspire to, harms too many people with no real tangible benefits at least that I can see.

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    2. This was one of the best examples of pointless, hateful trolling I have seen in many months. It is almost artistic in its ignorance of the subject, and nearly musical in its arrogance of viewpoint. Someone should create a touching troll ballet from it.

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    3. Wow, I actually can't tell if this is deliberate self-parody or not.

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    4. "You are not human. You are missing the key things that make someone a human. This means you are mentally retarded/incapable and need to change to adapt to normal ways, not the other way around."

      If we are "mentally retarded/incapable" then we are unable to "change to adapt to normal ways" according to the definition of your axiom. Your 'advice' is therefore self-contradictory. Q.E.-muthafukkin'-D.

      "Do that or accept you are wild animals that are out of control."

      Well, this therio-shaman's fetch *is* a Tiger, so I suppose this is somewhat true _in my particular case_, but, (doubtless), *not* in the spirit with which it was delivered. Jackass...

      Perhaps you should check out the latest conspiracy theory that you schizophreniform clades tend to gravitate to. I shall give you a topic: "The Earth is hollow and I have touched the sky!" Discuss...

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    5. Will you just leave this website, person with the gibberish name? I'm autistic and God created me as a human, so I know am a human.

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    6. What is normal? To be normal is to be "usual or ordinary" or "according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle." Normalcy is based on the culture of the time. Just because someone doesn't follow social norms does not mean that they're not human. Autistic persons are human. I'm considered physically disabled. I'm still human. If you have a disability or other abnormality, are you not human? Whoever you are, your comment shows that you're inhuman. Why can't people just accept other people even if they are mentally/physically ill, deviant, or "abnormal"? What happened to compassion?

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  42. you there, with the random string of ascii code for a name, why the hell would you post some shit like this on a website dedicated to autism activism? and with such ableist language to boot! behaving the way everyone wants you to behave isn't being cured, and how someone lives their life is their own business not yours, that's the whole point of this website, to let other autistics know they are not alone, and to teach non-autistics how to be more accepting of people who are their equals.
    Why should we strive to change when there isn't anything wrong with us? Autism doesn't compulsorily make you homicidal, it doesn't drive you to steal, it doesn't impair your ability to think, nor does it keep you from having friends, I happen to know the owner of this blog is a very empathic person, why should she force herself to change? and what about calling someone the R word is suppose to make us see your point of view exactly? it's incredibly offensive to anyone with a non-neurotypical brain type and is inexcusable for use, ever, period.

    I happen to be living a very full and happy life, completely with significant others and jobs and hobbies, I may not speak very well, or communicate my needs effectively with voice, but that doesn't make me any less of a person

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  43. Thanks for posting this! So many comments so I don't think mine will get read -_-...

    I have NVLD - Non verbal learning difficulties - It's on the autistic spectrum. And half of the time since I have grown up I've never noticed it - unless i'm stressed, busy places , the unknown!

    But when I say to people about it they're like - Oh you don't look like you have Autism or they also say Oh I've never noticed before..It's a blessing and a curse.

    I wish I could get the guts and say back "Yeah, what do you want me to do to make you notice?" ! People don't notice with me. And now and then even my boyfriend says to me that I don't have to say people that I have it...it's all in the vain hope that they will understand.
    But then they come out with alot of the questions on this blog and I go pretty mental inside at them. It's not bad to be curious, just be nice about it!

    It's funny even my parents used to put limitations on what I couldn't or could do on my Autism. It used to be "Oh it's because of your NVLD that XYZ is hard for you" - It used to do my head in..

    If you see a butterfly, what do you notice first? That it merely flies? Or do you look closer to see the patterns? I just wish some people would look closer and then realise that by asking some things that hurt it damages inside..

    Autism or not, I'm myself..and if you want to see the real me, get used to listening about music, art and cats - HINT - Alot of the time! If you can't accept me for who I am and what I've got - well your fault! I tried!

    Just my two pennies!



    Anyway - thanks for reading

    And Thanks for a great article!!!!!!

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  44. Thank you for the article. I agree with #15 wholeheartedly. No person should be talked about like they are not there. But I do think the other side of this is being missed. People may not know how to ask the right questions. When people ask ignorant questions it is because they are trying to understand. Instead of tripping about the language someone uses, try to hear their heart. Are they merely trying to understand? If you are a parent of a child who has autism you have become highly educated on the topic and it is easy to forget that other people in the world have not. By asking questions they are trying to become less ignorant. That is an important part of this. We cannot be so sensitive in this world that we stop communication. And, we must learn to listen past peoples words.

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  45. Personally, I don't mind when people ask me any of those questions except for the "You have no right" question. I have mild autism and am 20 years old. As far as those other questions go, they are not offensive to me. I will be happy to answer them as I know people who ask them (most people that ask those questions anyway) have good intentions and are just very curious.

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    1. Oh and question 15 I agree with too. :)

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  46. Wow... the author seems so quick to take offense. Above all, appreciate another's curiousity and the effort to create a connection.

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  47. I don't agree, I respect your feelings and that is how you would like to be treated, and that's great! I believe the article could be called "how I feel as an autistic individual, 15 things never to say to me please", but obviously it would be arrogant, rude, and insulting to say never say any of those things to autistic people, it would imply we are not individuals who have rights to our own oppinions!
    Autism is such a broad term - how could anyone imagine we all feel the same? And the comment "any autistic person can speak for themselves" - what? I'm sorry? That MUST be a typo, because you would need to be very ignorant to believe this is so! It must have been "many" or "most" because there are definitly those who can't! And that's ok! I mean REALLY! I hope noone has read that and believed it, you would really be doing the wrong thing if you were Misinforming people about autism! You DO realize how broad the term is? You don't just think it means other people like you, because you're autistic? You share the same way my child brother or I experience the world? Really? How do u know that? We all experience things differently, and you don't even know what form of autism we have. How rude to assume you experience the world the same as me.

    I fully respect how you feel about the way you'd like to be treated, it's definitly not how I do! Or my son for that matter! Or my brother! And I also am the first to admit as a child I DID do things that I knew were naughty, hit my sisters while making a certain noise I would also make when I WASN'T in control, and it got to the stage they didnt know when to let me get away with what! Was that evil? No! Another part of my disability? No! It was a child being cheeky and playing on my problems, the same as I have known someone with ADHD to use it to their advantage in highschool. The problem was real, but guess what - sometimes people lie, take advantage, or behave wrongly, and if we have something to blame it on, we Do!

    We can be good and bad, openminded and judgmental, we might be accepting or even racist, we may be gay, straight, follow varying political parties, we are INDIVIDUALS.

    So yes, I will say it to you : don't presume to speak for ME. People like YOU are telling the world it's ok to feel we are all the same, feel the same, share the same opinions. For all your comments on how we are different and can't tell you what it's like to be autistic YOU JUST WROTE AN ARTICLE ON WHAT AUTISTIC PEOPLE FEEL ABOUT 15 MATTERS!!

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  48. I really hope people dont take this to heart, and continue with misinformation, or total ignorance, because they never ask the things theyd like to know! I prefer people to ask me, or make comments like u mentioned, it gives me a chance to educate people on the fact all Autistic people are different, and how it effects me, and I DO ask people about their individualities, when people mention being diabetic, unwell, having mental health issues, pregnancies, discover something unusual about themselfs, etc, and while I prefer to refer to myself as "autistic" when someone comments "you're a person who happens to have autism", I would NEVER be so RUDE as to be offended by someone TRYING to do the right thing, trying to be accepting, I mean what a kick in the teeth? Ok, so they got it wrong by you, how the hell were they to know - we all feel differently! I would say "I really appreciate the effort to make me feel confortable, I am at ease with myself and prefer to be referred to 'this way', but I know there's been a lot of propaganda suggesting we as a group don't like this, and its kind of you to attempt to make me feel comfortable. Just remember we are all different, and prefer different terms!" I mean, what they call you "autistic", some get offended, call us "individuals with autism", others will, and if they ask about our preference, still more will! Are we setting everyone up for a sure fail? And most people make these mistakes because some idiot with autism or whatever disability has stupidly said "we don't like this" like they have the right to speak for us all - thank you for continuing this behavior and speaking for us all.

    I respect you feel differently, and that's ok. I would never post my opinion here as "this is how we feel as autistic people" - I respect you as an individual! In future please show me the same respect, and at least when you post something like this title it "15 things never to say to ME as an autistic person" or include a line that says "I acknowledge autism comes in many shapes and forms, encompasses a variety of disorders and issues, and that all disabled people are individuals, therefore the opinions expressed in this post do not and can not reflect the opinions or desires of autistic people as a whole."

    So yes I will say it again. You have no right to post information like its solid fact representing how autistic individuals feel. And as there ARE many autistic individuals who can't speak for themselves in these or many other situations, please don't insult them by assuming they feel as you do, just because they're unable to tell you otherwise. I CAN speak for myself, and I am saying very clearly, you had no right to post an article implying ALL people with a disability that falls under the label "autism" would rather those 15 things were not said to them. I am entitled to my own opinion, thank you, and I don't want people treating ME a certain way because someone else with a similarly labelled disability presumes to speak for us!

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    1. Never did I get the sense that Lydia was implying anything. Did she ever once write, "These are 15 things you must never say to all Autistics"? No, she did not. Try reading it literally for what is posted, and not between the lines. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion. However, just as you have your opinions, so does Lydia.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  49. I am glad, as an Autistic with PDD-NOS, that you advocate Autism awareness. I only started learning recently about the struggles of other Autistics because of the fact that my treatment was more geared towards coping, rather than suppressing, Autism. The more I look into and think about this, the more I feel thatwe are being dehumanized (especially the talk about curing Autism. Many of us are proud of being Autistic, and don't want our identities cured). Just saying thank you for your involvement (and I think I'll adopt "ableism" vocabulary because I think it's clever).

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  50. I like number 6 haha. My boyfriend has always struggled with autism and he always rocks my world.

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  51. Some people nasked me some of those questions, to be honest i don't care that much about what they ask to me. I try to explain that they should not close autistic people into boxes.

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  52. They can ask me almost all of these questions and my caring nature will answer honestly since a lot of autistics are like me and do care about others. ;)

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    1. And if you get to reading this, I think you still need to write something that isn't "non-pretentious" for your "about" page. Just a reminder!

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  53. Thank you so much, i have to share this... I don't get offended easily but I would rather not be asked these questions

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  54. To the doofus who said 'pity us poor f##ckers who live with people with autism' I say I really feel sorry for anyone who has to live with a
    selfish asshat like you!
    Nobody said autism excuses bad behavior but what is your excuse for yours?

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  55. Shaun Neumeier said: "Normal is just average."
    I disagree. Average is just average, normality is subjective. For example, I'm normal, I just happen to also be Autistic.
    @ Autistic Hoya: Check out my responses to those fifteen statements you posted at AO3.

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  56. Hi I'm a 12 year old girl and my guitar teacher is my dads friend and his 4 year old son is autistic and we were at a party when his father asked me to watch him he really seem to Interact with me in way he normally does not and its like I am really good with lots of autistic people and thanks to this next time I hang out or watch an autistic child I will make sure not to say anything bad

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  57. This was an interesting read, not all of which I agree with and all of those disagreements I'd like to keep to myself.

    If I were to be so unfortunate as to receive such questions/statements, I'd respond like so:

    1. "So is that like being retarded?"
    Sort of.

    2. "You should be very proud of yourself. You seem so normal. I couldn't tell that you're Autistic."
    I am proud of my accomplishments, not of the things I was born with.

    3. "You must be very high-functioning."
    Nah.

    4. "You're not like my child; you can write a blog post. My child will never be able to write a blog post."
    I don't write blogs.

    5. "I know a kid whose autism is really severe. You don't seem like him."
    On the outside, yes. On the inside, we have a few things in common.

    6. "Can you have sex?"
    Yes.

    7. "Does that mean you're really good at math/computers/numbers?"
    No.

    8. "But you're married/have a job/go to college. You couldn't do that if you were really Autistic."
    I wish. (The "have a job" part)

    9. "Do you take any medications for that?"
    If by "autism" you mean "anxiety", then yes.

    10. "You have no right to claim to speak for severely Autistic people who can't speak for themselves."
    I claim no such thing, ever.

    11. "Can you please not flap/rock/spin/jump in public? It's embarrassing."
    Okay, sorry. (He did say please, didn't he?)

    12. "You mean you are a person with autism. You are a person first, not a disability or a disorder label."
    I don't care enough about my autism to care about the semantics behind it.

    13. "What's it like to be Autistic?"
    You don't want to know.

    14. "Have you ever heard of Temple Grandin? Her books are really amazing!"
    Ask me if I care.

    15. (Asking a question about the Autistic person to a parent, support person, aide, sibling, or friend who is standing or sitting beside the Autistic person )
    That wasn't very nice.

    I've got my own opinions on this subject (which again I don't want to go in to), so take these examples as you will.

    As an autist not into the whole "neurodiversity" thing, I ask you guys: how would you respond to these questions/statements?

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    1. *my responses at your request*
      1. no
      2.You should be very proud of yourself. When I saw you, my first impression was that you weren't an asshat.
      3.Nope
      4.I didn't ask about your children
      5.Did you know it's rude to make social comparisons with disabilities?
      6.You mean "MAY you have sex?" and the answer is not with you
      7.I wish
      8.I couldn't do that if I wasn't (wonderful family)
      9.nothing legal
      10.don't patronize me
      11.it's my body I'm go'n do what I want (don't take that out of context)
      12.apparently not since you raise its importance by listing a correction
      13....
      14. Not my type
      15. anyone but my parents or whatever a "support person" is and I'd tell them to fuck off

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  58. I have high fiction autism and o would rather bet be asked some of them questions. If we can inform they can understand. Don't call me a retard but I like when they say I act on a normal level.

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    1. HOW ABOUT YOU'RE AWESOME! THAT'S THE ONLY THING I CAN THINK OF TO SAY ABOUT ANYONE ESPECIALLY SOMEONE THAT HAS SUCH A BRILLIANT MIND===YOU'RE WONDERFUL!

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    2. I HAVE A FRIEND WHO IS AUTISTIC AND SHE IS WONDERFUL HOWEVER SHE DOES GET VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT EVERYTHING SHE IS DOING AND I THINK SHE TRIES TO HARD AT TIMES...SHE IS A MOTHER OF 5 KIDS AND SHE IS AMAZING! SO HIGHLY INTELLIGENT THAT IT'S AWESOME! SHE'S HAD TO GO THROUGH SOME ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY TO OVERCOME SOME TOUGH THINGS THAT HAPPENED TO HER IN HER LIFE WHICH WAS HER MOTHERS PASSING AWAY AND THEN HER HUSBAND BEING STALKED BY SOME CRAZY COWORKER TRYING TO STEAL HER MAN AWAY FROM HER! SHE'S DOING WHAT SHE NEEDS TO DO AND UNFORTUNATELY I HAVE ZERO CONTACT WITH HER RIGHT NOW......BY HER REQUEST I WOULD GUESS! I THINK SHE MIGHT THINK I AM JUDGING HER, BUT FAR FROM IT! I HAVE HER BACK ALL THE WAY AND LOVE HER RIGHT WHERE SHE'S AT! IT'S AWESOME TO KNOW HER AND HAVE HAD THE CHANCE TO BE HER FRIEND!

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  59. So like these days everyone is autistic. I'm kind of sick of the term.

    My sister is "old school" autistic--you know, what they used to just call "crazy" in the 70s. She stims, she fusses, she repeats the same crap over and over. She talks to people who aren't there, she is barely literate, but she is a wonderful person.

    Sadly, she's in her 40s and will never have a "normal" life. She still lives at home with our parents. This is a fact. She will not be "cured" by Jenny McCarthy and a gluten free diet. She won't write a book, or be on TV, or even write a blog.

    Back in the day, I'd say I had an autistic sister, and everyone knew what that meant. These days, I get questions: "Well, is she high functioning? Is she GF? That cures people! My cousin is autistic! He is so smart, but he's just so geeky!"

    Yeah, no. She's not adorably geeky and when 200lbs of adult woman throws a tantrum fit for a four-year-old, ain't no one going to be happy.

    Please remember there are others out there who are not the "blended into society" autistic. These days, these people seem forgotten.

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    1. "Well, is she high functioning? Is she GF? That cures people! My cousin is autistic! He is so smart, but he's just so geeky!"

      That's probably someone not understanding the difference between being a socially awkward math geek and a person having autism

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  60. I am autistic and I've been a victim of all 15,Ive been verbally abused by my classmates in high school and grammar school and sometimes and by the way my names Jagger mabry so add me on facebook

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  61. I am 15 just realizing I really do have autism...some of the things on this page have actually been said to me , and I'm not sure if I should get help or try my best to live normally

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  62. Haha. Wow at all the people who can't tell that people are joking in the comments. This is the internet, they aren't really being prejudiced towards the autistic.
    1.Get over it, you will never see these people in real life.
    2.--1.They don't care either because they aren't really discriminant in real life.

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  63. Thank u i love it well said im a mother of a 3 year old and his autistic proud of it!

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  64. Thank u i love it well said im a mother of a 3 year old and his autistic proud of it!

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  65. Okay, I have a question. I have a relative that told me she has had a conversation with an autistic by using her "psychic abilities." Yes she was serious when she told me this. She told me that this autistic person she had the "psychic conversation" with told her that he chose to be autistic because it gives him freedom. The reason she told me this is that I have an 8 year old son whom I have fought hard for to get him services to help him learn skills to navigate the world and so far he is doing very well. The thing is, she may in her narcicisstic brain thought she was comforting me but it enraged me. I wanted to scream at her that autism is not a life choice and how dare she belittle what autism is. My other relative that observed the statement does not understand why I got upset. At any rate, am I wrong for not wanting my kid around her until he is more mature?

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  66. i have autism and i really hate it cuz i have to be around other autists some are them are so stupid enough to mistake my gender just cuz of my hairstyle though i dont look like the opposite gender fucking HATE IT

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  67. I dislike nr.13, just because someone tries to understand an autist's own personal case of own autism doesn't mean they're necessarily rude.

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    1. i think it depends on the attitude they say it in, the author should have added that in.

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  68. I'm autistic and just admitted it to everyone on my favorite Minecraft server. No one reacted negatively except for the player who always harasses. They accepted me as a player. That is the not an official achievement in Minecraff, but I can certainly call it one.

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  69. I was diganosed with dyslexia, adhd, dyspraxia, "A.S" and being asked 13) "what is it like being autistic". Is not anything that will cause offence. We grow up with it. And we are "most" (were all individul) but I personly if asked are more than happy to explain. It means somone is taking an intrest and often you can tell him/her things about you, and they are 95% usely accepting because they asked the question... so I do not find it in anyway upseting or anything.number 6) "can you have sex" this is a hard question. It should be taken "case to case" were still human so "most" of us still have the same feeling as the rest of the world e.g happyness, sadness and sexual the problem is that many of "us" just wouldnt get the "chance" because a lot of people dont understand, I would say that women generaly tend to understand less because about 85% of peoplewith autism are male. But I also know afew autistic people who just dont have the "sex drive" its a "case to case" thing.11)can you not do that? Its not like we have a choice, if we do not get to do somthing it seems weird and somtimes "we" can get very upset about it. One point I would like to make if you DO NOT have autism DO NOT WRITE A BOOK if you do, you will RUIN The "idea" of it. And I find it offencive...

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  70. Regarding #2, what I find most frustrating about it is that many of the more unpleasant aspects of my autism result in part from people assuming I have abilities that I don't have. Looking normal, for me, is not something to be *proud* of, but a burden I have to deal with. People can never anticipate my needs without me asking, the way they often can for a visibly disabled person. And they don't tend to cut me a break when I'm struggling, because a nondisabled person wouldn't be struggling as much as I am. Even people who *know* about my autism often seem to forget and expect me to do something they already know I can't do, and then I have to remind them that my autism *still* hasn't gone away.

    If there was one thing I could change about being autistic, I'd make it that I look visibly different, in some way that most people readily recognize as being due to autism.

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  71. However, #13 doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I enjoy answering this question.

    Incidentally, although I wouldn't word it that way, I do often ask people what it's like to be [insert ethnicity here], in a roundabout way. If someone seems to be an immigrant, I will sometimes ask where they're from, and ask some questions about what their home country is like. They're usually happy to talk about it. Obviously I don't tend to mention upsetting things like the bloody revolution their country had, unless they chose to bring it up.

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  72. anonymous 1 couldn't agree more my 3 year old daughter was spoken to sexually by a 9yr old autistic boy in her school I reported it to the school and there excuse was that he is autistic and behaviour like that can happen when he is upset. bollocks little shit should be slapped silly now my daughter is confused about what he said and were is are help ? we don't get any but if she was autistic we would be thrown help half the time autism is an excuse for fucked up parents who let there gets get away with everythink while they sit spending there dla money on fags and ale ........ I for one have no time for autistic people now get a fucking life

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    1. First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your kid. I hope that it's not been harmful to her.

      That being said, autism is real, but has exactly nothing to do with being sexually abusive to other people inherently. If parents, teachers or others are using autism to actually excuse sexually abusive behaviors, then they're wrong and actually doing harm to Autistic people by piling on stigma. There's no diagnostic criteria for autism that says that Autistic people are prone to or unable to stop themselves from sexual violence against other people. On the other hand, people who try to force the autism out of people through punishment or "treatment" that sees all manifestations of autism as volitional don't end up with well-behaved neurotypical little angels. They end up with severely traumatized Autistic people who don't know what to be because they've forgotten how to be what they are but can't fit the mold they're forced into. That's the kind of "help" we get growing up, more often than not, in one way or another.

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  73. Thanks for the post.
    My little brother has autism and learning disability and I could recognize some of the things.

    I remember once, when I was angry at him and I told him that he ought to be old enough to do something. (I don't remember what it was, but it was something that "normal" children, his age, would be able to do.) He then became very upset and told that I shouldn't say things like that, because he often heard that, and that made him sad.

    So the conclusion would be, that you shouldn't compare autist's, especially not children, with "normal" people at the same age as them.

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  74. Thanks for the post.
    My little brother has autism and learning disability and I could recognize some of the things.

    I remember once, when I was angry at him and I told him that he ought to be old enough to do something. (I don't remember what it was, but it was something that "normal" children, his age, would be able to do.) He then became very upset and told that I shouldn't say things like that, because he often heard that, and that made him sad.

    So the conclusion would be, that you shouldn't compare autist's, especially not children, with "normal" people at the same age as them.

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  75. One of the stupidest mistakes women make is having bias's towards men when they compliment their breasts,cleavage and rears, they always figure they got a right to put down the men who complimented them. Thats wrong passing a law to silence men is satanic. The socalled sexual hassling law is like racial profiling, the only difference is they are profiling men because they are strangers so that gives them an excuse to inhumanely cage them as if they were animals to be held in captivity. Femeanists are monsters with their satanic behaviour delighting themselves in Lucifers ways such as when men are victimized they have alot of horrid things they have done they will burn in hell for. Making compliments a crime is one of them. If you really respected a mans compliments,whistles,etc. then you would not despise,hassle and offend him by calling unfairly irritation, thats Lucifers lie.

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    1. Your analogy fails. Racial profiling is by definition assuming behavior that may or may not exist because of a person's race. Forbidding sexual harassment deals directly with prohibiting conduct. Unless your position is that to be a man makes sexual harassment inevitable, in which case you're the one making assumptions about men as a class, and an assumption that doesn't give (decent) men enough credit.

      Also, "putting down" people whose types of "compliments" are often precursors to or enablers of sexualized violence that see other people as things to be had and enjoyed rather than as people to be treated with respect is a means of self-protection.

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  76. When I went to school I knew people who had disabilities. I could understand where this might be offensive for one reason or another, but why dont women want to live in peace with men who compliment them without thinking that jailtime is the "solution"? Jails don't reform people not even men who should not be there because someone had to pass judgment on their compliment and on the men who gave it. Women should not look down on men who compliment parts of them and develop a bias, a prejudice against them because of the fact they are not their boyfriends or friends thats not practicing the golden rule. Having equal rights means even men who dont know the ladies should have as much of a right to compliment those ladies bosoms,cleavage and rearends as those who do know them. This is a different problem to whats been discussed here. So the moral of this story is that men who dont know ladies should have the same right as lovers and friends to compliment womens bodies equally.

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    1. I have yet to hear of anyone who was jailed because of a compliment. Hell, full-on rape is often not treated as a crime worth prosecuting. That's a strawman.

      "Compliment parts of them" - that is, if not the key issue here, than a large part of it. The thing that separates compliments from harassment is that the latter is reductive. At least if you say "Hey, cool shirt," or "Awesome hair," you're at least saying something about the person as a whole - not only aesthetically, but also about their taste, their skills, their expression of themselves. "Look at that hot ass" or something of the sort just says that the person doesn't matter to you, it's just the ass you're interested in, which really isn't flattering when you think about it.

      Also, this term "equal rights" - I do not think it means what you think it means. I think you're looking for "utter lack of personal boundaries." Of course people who know someone get to say and do things that other people don't where it comes to that person. For instance your friend makes a joke about your intelligence or your odd habits, it might be perfectly alright, but if a random stranger or even your boss or someone starts picking on you in even a "friendly" manner over stuff like that it's crossing a line. Even with positive things - if your friends or romantic interest want to give you a hug, that can be one thing, but that doesn't make the rest of the world entitled to it. Unless your position here is that female bodies are public property and having legitimate and enforceable boundaries is mutually exclusive from having an XX set of chromosomes, which is absurd even if it would seem to be the prevailing view in some situations.

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  77. I am gay and my lover of 5 years just left me one day. I was devastated. I found out that he was stolen from me, by my so called best friend. He told my lover so many lies about me... I could not eat nor function for months, until one of my coworkers gave me this email: Ancientfathersandmothers@gmail.com. So I contacted Dr. Lee ordering a love spell for my case, told him my story. He cast the spell for me 2days later, jack and his partner broke up. He came to my job, apologized to me and begged me to give him another chance!I was stunned! THIS SPELL DID REALLY WORK. I do not know how to thank you! Dr. Lee of Ancientfathersandmothers@gmail.com

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  78. hahaha this is fucking whack

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  79. no kidding one of my boyfriend's friends came over and said this to me
    "I've seen Alpha's and what are your super powers???"
    *faceplam*

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  80. EXECUTE ALL AUTISTICS LEL

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  81. All of this is tedious beyond words. 10 mins ill never get back.

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  82. I'm having a difficult time with #10. I'm the older sister of an autistic brother. He is severely so, nonverbal, dependent on others for everything from eating to going to the bathroom, and a very short term memory so learning any form of communication or skill is impossible. He is as severe as they come. He was prone to violent tantrums before he got put on ritalin, and I grew up getting battered. I am one of the few ppl he used to be able to communicate very basic things to, like food or bathroom etc, and even that was very rare (it was more common that he would have tantrums and engage in self harming behaviour) and now it's just my dad since I moved away for uni (he's forgotten who I am basically). I've been told off by an autistic person on another blog and essentially was told she knew more about my brother than I did because she was autistic and I was allistic. I was accused of trying to drown out my brother's voice and viewpoint. I mean, I know my brother more than anybody else. He doesn't have the cognitive ability to express himself in any capacity except for his most basic needs. So do I not get to tell her she really has no right to talk like that? A huge part of my life is defined as being my brother's caretaker, and this person told me I was abusing him and that she knew more about him than I did, in spite of never having met him. Like, autism is a huge spectrum and obviously my brother is very different than her. They may both be autistic but I can't see how she can be confident she has more in common with him and that she understood him better than the person who has been his older sister and caretaker for two decades.

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  83. I don't know why people with good hearing need a label. So what if you are "autistic'? I bet I can hear just as good as you, and....
    oh...sorry

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  84. Well, I'm autistic and and the people who say this stuff should 1) Shut up their frickin mouths, 2) Be more educated, 3) Be more more polite and accepting, and 4) Be more empathetic to the autistic person.

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  85. The comments here are hilarious. This is gold! I'm archiving this for my studies on autism. So many of them sound like a stuffy old English elitists with a bushy mustache who pops their monocle, spits out their tea and says "Well, I never!" Its a religion of almost Victorian political correctness.

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    1. did you seriously call the fucking golden age of colonialism "politically correct"

      that's the funniest fucking thing i've ever heard, man, thanks for that (though with your grasp on history i can't see your thesis not getting you laughed out of...any university ever)

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  86. I'm autistic, but I don't have a problem with people asking what it's like to have autism, I think that if I can at least try to explain to them what I go through they might understand how to interact with me more effectively

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  87. I'm autistic, but I don't have a problem with people asking what it's like to have autism, I think that if I can at least try to explain to them what I go through they might understand how to interact with me more effectively

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  88. I'm autistic but I a have a IQ of 152 (real non online test) if someone called me a retard I would just laugh at them and tell them how I am better than them. I am not a narcissist though I can view the world with a open mind and see faults in my self and others and the general way the world works

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  89. I love my flute.
    I love the Minecraft server I go on.
    I love music.
    I love reading books.
    I love God and His word.
    I love rainbows.
    I love cooking egg-related foods.
    I love school.
    I love being autistic.
    I love being me.


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  90. Is autism the same as aspergers? Because I was diagnosed with AS and apparently that's on the autism spectrum, does that make me an autistic?

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    1. Yep. Technically it's a subtype of autism, though it's been officially phased out as a diagnostic category.

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  91. You should understand that most people are ignorant about autism, and believe me that I don't think the people that made you feel this way are gonna ever como to read this blog to read what bothers you. In conclusion your blog is useless because only people who care about autism will come read it, and the people you want it to read it, will never do it... Learn to forgive the ignorant because they don't know what they are doing... There are people out there that go through much more suffering than that...

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    1. First of all, nothing will ever change unless people do something to change it, and speaking up is part of that. What's the point of inertia, except for the benefit of people who benefit from how things are now?

      Second of all, this (at least the part that no one will ever read or learn from it outside a small group of people) just isn't accurate based on how social media works. Yeah, the people who directly inspired this post may never read it. But the self-selecting group of people interested in autism read it. They email it to their Autistic friends or people they know who know Autistic people - "Is this accurate," "I thought you might be interested," etc. They post it to social media and it gets reblogged, reshared, commented on, all of that, and things continue. The fact that you're going to comment on something written more than a year and a half ago is testament to the fact that people DO read this stuff and its reach can actually be pretty wide and significant.

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  92. I'm likely autistic (I'm looking into getting a professional's opinion, though I scored a 36 on the A.Q. test). I have many of the autistic behaviors expressed above. My parents even told me they went through a period that they were considering getting me tested, but I guess some my behavior's started to change, so they didn't go through with it. Though I agree that most of these responses are extremely rude, I find many of the author's reactions to be completely P.C. (politically correct). In particular, #12 was overly political correct and #14 is just being picky. Though I understand that I'd want people to talk to me directly, I also put myself in the shoes of others and I totally understand why people act like they do in #15. It's awkward and you don't want to ask something that may be offensive, so you ask a friend or family member (as politely as possible, of course). I agree that "neuro-typicals" should be more open to the autistic population, but at the same time I feel like the autistic community should be equally understanding of neuro-typicals instead of judging them for their lack of knowledge regarding autism. Otherwise, how does that make the autistic community any better or breach differences?

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    1. I don't understand how setting boundaries and saying how we think we should be treated (for instance, asking to be talked to directly like a person rather than to be asked about as if we were a dog or an accessory when we're standing right there) is equivalent to the ways in which Autistic people are excluded, infantilized, dehumanized, abused and even killed. The kinds of judgment wielded against Autistic people by virtue of what we are carries a lot more power right now than the "judgments" we might have towards them based on how we get treated, so as not to be comparable in a meaningful way.

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    2. hey everyone this bitch teacher wont help me make friends but just this other girl. she fakes a cough when helping me but its obviously cuz she wants the other girl and not me so who will kill me
      I don't deserve any kindness


      the idiot says shes sorting it out but really shes not even trying its poor mb that has to do everything I thought that yo was a autistic advocate.
      turns out she wants me to live in misery and despair for the rest of my life.

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  93. I'm fine with most of these aside the retard one it's curiosity what drives me what can't other people have it

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  94. "Can you have sex?"

    Only after really getting to know a person. ;)

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  95. I was tempted at an autism walk to ask an autistic that. Not to be rude but to see what it could be like in my son's head. My husband told me what ADHD is like so I kind of know what my older son Allan is dealing with. I wanted a perspective on what my other son nicky was dealing with. Right now he is non verbal but is starting to become verbal and finding his voice.

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  96. Thanks for the 3 power point slide material. I'm doing the presentation on autism. How I can do a 10 minute presentation on something as complex as autism is beyond me. I'm trying to inform, educate and advocate at the same time.

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  97. I have Autism and I have a friend who I would consider to be on the spectrum like myself, but he is okay that I share/disclose this with him and ask him if he has it or not, so far he told me he does not and he was never diagnosed with it. I have autism and I am proud of it, I actually have Asperger's syndrome. Would it be wise to tell the mother/father of my friend of my disability and ask them if he has it as well, or will that be too inappropriate?

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  98. Autism can't be controlled. Normal isn't real it isn't freaking real! Fuck that idiot who invented so-call normal. Normals have a boring day same thing same old. So may we be blessed for not being normal. I hate normal. Doesn't exist.

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  99. Wait. Autism IS considered a cognitive disability. http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/cognitive/

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  100. Everyone here that said autistic people use their "disability" to get out of trouble, have got to be the dumbest people I have ever met . I think people with autism are awesome. It's not their fault they were born like that, it's not like they can just undo all of it. All of you that said all those bad things about them are a bunch of low life's. If you were in their shoes how would you feel if you were criticized like that for something you couldn't stop. So all of the lowlife's out there why don't you just go f**k yourselves and give them a break.

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  101. I just figured out that I am one of those "invisible" autists--the syndrome wasn't known in the U.S. while I was in school. Did terrible in gym class, uncoordinated in sports, last to be picked for a team, socially awkward--you all know the drill. Well, somehow I outgrew the clumsiness--maybe playing soccer as an adult did it. Anyway, I finally got back into a social situation after coming out of a severe depression lasting four years. I accidentally said things that offended people and they just walked away (pretty common experience for autists, I guess). Anyway, I had feelings of alienation that I thought I had left in youth. I didn't succumb to those feelings and started researching autism and thinking about my social disability. I figured out a couple of things. First, the "warning will robinson" that most people experience as a bright, flashing neon sign on a dark night when an inappropriate comment is considered before speaking appears to me as a candle on a bright sunny day. I just fail to see the warning sometimes. And even if I do, since I don't understand why, I may fail to heed it. Second, it seems that in the flow of conversation my processing just can't keep up with the flow of conversation, so that either I end up interrupting someone or I keep quiet. Also, this means that sometimes I don't realize that something I'm about to say is offensive until two seconds after I've already said it.

    I've found that I can identify a little with Sheldon Cooper and Morris Udall ("As Good As It Gets")--especially Udall since I'm somewhat obsessive. Obsession seems to trigger my social awkwardness.

    Oh, and a real irony is that my personality is extroverted. I get my energy from being around other people.

    Anyway, thanks for listening. It's nice to know that I'm not alone. Guess I'll check with a professional to get an authoritative diagnosis.

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  102. I find offence in you constantly refering to these individuals as an autistic. I have 2 ASD kids. They have ASD. Its like saying to are you a gay. They have ASD. Its not a description of what they are, its a description of what they have. Urgh!!!!!

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    1. I'm the author of this blog/website. I am autistic, and both myself and many other autistic people have written extensively about why many of us do in fact prefer to call ourselves autistic (adjective) or autistics (noun). Frankly, I find it offensive when other people tell me that I should be offended by the way that I choose to refer to myself.

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  103. ACTUALLY I THINK ANYONE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS OF WHICH I CARE FOR 2 SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS. I LOVE THEM BOTH AND WHAT I DO IS THINK LIKE THIS THEY ALREADY GOT IT HARD ENOUGH AS IT IS SO MY JOB WOULD BE FOR THE LITTLE ITTY BITTY TIME I HAVE WITH THEM WOULD BE TO MAKE THEIR DAY THEIR MONTH AND THEIR YEAR BY LOVING ON THEM AND CARING FOR THEM. NOW I KNOW AUTISTIC CHILDREN ARE VERY ISOLATED INTO THEIR OWN WORLD, BUT GOD HAS GIVEN ME A GIFT TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE PERSON WITHIN AND GET ON THEIR LEVEL AND CARE FOR THEM THAT IS MY TITLE CAREGIVER I AM NOT A CARETAKER THOSE TERMS CARRY A HUGE DIFFERENCE! I AM ALSO A PERSONAL CARE ASSISTANT AND HOME HEALTH AIDE! NOW TO TAKE IT TO A NEW LEVEL. I HAVE CARED FOR DEMENTIA/ALZHEIMERS PATIENTS BEFORE AND THE ONE THING I CAN LEAVE YOU WITH IS...........A PERSON HAS TO BE ALL ABOUT THE PATIENT AND THEIR NEEDS AND NOT THEIR OWN AND THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF TIME TO FIT MY STUFF IN AFTER I DO THE MAJORITY OF WORK FOR THE KIDS.......OR WHOMEVER I AM CARING FOR AT THAT GIVEN TIME! AUTISTIC CHILDREN JUST CARE ABOUT SOMEONE CARING ABOUT THEM AND CRACKING THE CODE TO KNOW WHAT WORKS WITH EACH INDIVIDUAL CHILD/PATIENT! EVERYONE GRAVITATES TOWARDS LOVE AND IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE GIVING SELFLESSLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY!

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  104. Number 1 Thing You Should Say to Autistics

    "I like you just the way you are."

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  105. the problem is i dont treat anybody as half as nice as the way this blog suggests i should treat autistic people. wouldn't that be considered special treatment? should i give special treatment to autistic people? unless i find a clear answer, i'm just going to treat them like i treat everybody else. i once had a black friend who had been raised so improperly, he thought if anything bad happened to him, he believed it was discrimination. when the truth was that in life, there are good times and bad times, and there really isnt anyone to blame. walking on eggshells when talking to an autistic person seems like an act of pity. people need to grow up strong to protect themselves, regardles of their background. not the opposite where we are weak and protected, that won't always work and when the day comes that you get hurt, it will hurt ten times more. to be offended is to show weakness.

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  106. Wow, tnumber 2- 5, 9 and 12-14 I get ALL the time. Sometimes I get tired of it.
    Tristan: It's not being offended...it is realizing inappropriateness and I believe these are applied more to those close to us- they should learn to be less insulting. But of course, I do not expect strangers to get this list and I shrug off many discriminatory behaviours on a regular basis. I am also very understanding of people who just can't seem to act appropriately. I try to treat all with compassion and empathy. If your regular practice is less- do what is normal for you and that is fine but the accusation that this list is defensiveness thus weakness is a tad false. Although I do appreciate your point about walking on eggshells and I am always conscious of that when dealing with others.
    Km

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  107. My four year old has just been diagnosed. Would love some advice he has a lot of sensory issues

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  108. I have autism. Don't say these things to me!

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