Social Rules when addressing Me, the Autistic Adult.
If I tell you I’m autistic it’s not cool to:-
- Tell me that I’m not like Johnny in the unit or Mary down the road or any autistic child you know. Yes I once was a child and yes I am autistic and so are they, so actually we are very alike. Those children are part of my community and part of my people so we are in fact the same. But in life terms , then no , I don’t know too many adults who are the exact same as children.
- Tell me I’m using the wrong words to describe myself or my people. That I cannot use ‘autistic’ . I should say ‘with autism’ . I am an adult, I can use whatever words I like to describe myself. This is my identity and you don’t get to choose it for me.
If you insist on arguing on this point I may have to describe you as a person with discrimination.
So be the kind person not the person with kindness. This is my adjective and it’s not yours to take away.
- Comment on how mild my autism is. Tell me I’m not ‘severe’ enough or ‘profound’ enough to be really autistic or tell me how I’m ‘functioning’. Do I ask you how neurotypical you are? Are you severely neurotypical? Do I question that you’re neurotypical at all? Do I ask you ‘and who diagnosed you as neurotypical?’ in an omnisciently judgemental tone?
Would you ask a gay person exactly how gay they are? Being autistic is a way of being. It’s a type of human existence not a medical condition.
Would you refuse to believe someone is pregnant until they’re about to pop the baby out?- being autistic is like being pregnant. You either are or you’re not…. 5weeks or 5months .. you’re either pregnant or you’re not. I can’t be a little bit pregnant just like I can’t be ‘a little bit autistic’.
- Ask me really personal questions that aren’t fitting at this stage of our ‘getting to know each other ‘ process. Don’t start asking me what ‘being autistic means to me’ or ‘how has it effected my life’. We’ve just met, I don’t think it’s polite to divulge my entire life story just yet 🙂
Tell me ‘we’re all a little bit autistic’ or ‘we’re all on the spectrum’. Yes we’re all on the human spectrum but we are not all on the autistic spectrum, that’s why there are autistic and non-autistic people. If you relate to my experiences then maybe that’s because we’re both human and humans are very similar. We are in fact more similar than different but people seem to forget that. Or if you’re really identifying with me then maybe you are also on the autistic spectrum.
Feel the need to tell me that autism affects everyone differently. Being autistic is a way of being. Everyone human on the planet is different. Why would I be any different?
It would be cool to :-
- Accept me as a human being . Respect my existence and treat me as you do every other human (if you’re a nice-to-other-humans-type of human that is).