Hello all my amazing followers and readers! (A big welcome to new followers. ^.^)
As a person on the autism spectrum and part of the autism community, I have received and seen a lot of hurtful things said or posted online towards ourselves. In light of that I thought I would share a list of some of those comments. I’m sharing this post to hopefully educate more people on what not to say to people on the autism spectrum, even if it had the best intentions behind it or to know that others who have received the same or seen the same comments are not alone. I am sure there are a hundred phrases or different variations of the same thing people should never say to an autistic person, but for the sake of this post and fear of putting people to sleep I have compiled a much smaller list. Also for the sake of this post I will be doing this post in a more bullet like list for easy reading and organization. 🙂
Disclaimer: I will try my best to refrain from cursing or swearing, however this is a very sensitive topic for me as I am sure it is for others on the autism spectrum so I am not making any promises. I am going to try my best to get as many phrases or terms into one post by condensing similar things. Also I will try to not generalize or use specific autism terms/diagnoses/terms in this post as this post is not just for my diagnoses and many on the autism spectrum can relate or share across the entire spectrum. I am also very sorry for the repetitive terms used throughout this post, but sometimes I cannot be uber creative. Again trying to make this post as straight forward and simple as possible, Most importantly if you are easily offended by offensive terms or cursing etc you can feel free to not read this post. I am sorry I can’t entirely hold back and refuse to when ignorant stuff is just swept under the rug. Just because you don’t name call someone or curse at them does not mean it is respectful.
‘You look too normal to have autism/be on the autism spectrum’
‘I never would have guessed you have autism’
‘You should be proud of yourself because you look so normal, I couldn’t tell you’re autistic’
Phrases such as these are probably one of the most common things said to those on the autism spectrum and one I see the most either in the autism community or said to me when I tell someone I am on the spectrum. In fact this phrase or these kind of phrases was actually the most recent comment I received awhile ago when I shared with a customer at work I was on the autism spectrum when she was ranting about vaccines and autism. (calm down guys we will get to that in this post as well) Her comment was ‘omg, I’m so sorry I didn’t mean people like you because you don’t look like you have autism.’ As much as I wanted to be like uhhh…excuse me what do you even mean by that? Not to mention her lack of education, I had to be very respectrful and just be like oh it’s cool, I totally know what you meant in fear of losing my job.
Although I truly want to believe people who make such remarks like these have good intent behind it and sometimes it is an awkward last resort response because they don’t know how else to respond when someone confides in them that they are on the autism spectrum, it is still very ignorant and hurtful. These kind of comments frustrate me for a few different reasons. The autism spectrum is very wide and complexed, it doesn’t have ‘one look’ or a particular look, so what look are you actually referring to that makes us look like we could not be on the spectrum? Sure some of us may have more noticeable quirks or traits than others or even at certain times, autism still affects every individual differently. You cannot group the entire autism community together because the spectrum is not that simple. It is also very ignorant to say something like this to certain adults on the autism spectrum because they have had their entire life to cope with their autism or blend into society. For people like myself I have found ways to hide my more obvious autistic traits and if I cannot hide those traits so much you simply will not see me on those days in public. Masking or blending in to fit into a society is not just something practised by autisics, you could just say it is something we may have had to master more than other people. My autistic traits were a lot more obvious as a child than they are now. I was non verbal as a toddler and had speech problems for much of my childhood into adolescents. I also was a very late walker and have coordination problems to this day. I could be referred to probably being on the lower end of the spectrum in my childhood where to now I have progressed and am on the higher end of the spectrum. (again autism spectrum is very complexed!) I don’t understand how ‘you look too normal to have autism’ or these kind of phrases can be meant with good intentions because on the other hand you are basically saying if I looked autistic it would be a bad thing? This constant need to blend into society or this constant search of normality is sickening. If I looked autistic I shouldn’t be proud of myself???!!! Lawls.
‘I am sorry to hear you have autism’ or ‘I am sorry to hear your child has autism’
These kind of phrases are probably one of the worse things you can say to someone on the autistic spectrum or a parent of an autistic child. It really frustrates and saddens me because you are literally saying having autism is a bad thing or like some kind of disease. ‘I am sorry to hear you have cancer.’ You see where I am coming from? How about… ‘I am sorry you suffer from ignorance?’ To think I or anyone else wants sympathy from someone who would make such ignorant comments makes me want to throw up in my mouth.
I never saw my autism or my brain being wired differently as a bad thing. Even with all it’s struggles, challenges and on the worse days, autism has a lot of strengths. Not to mention it is my entire brain’s make up and it is a huge part of who I am. I am thankful to be wired differently than whatever ignorant society bred you to make such remarks. The same goes for telling parents you are sorry that their child has autism. It is as disgusting and annoying as those parents of autistic children who beg for sympathy, act like they are going through the same thing as their child, sharing their most vulnerable moments to the public or family/friends with no account for that child’s feelings. It kinda makes sense though as to why such comments like these are made. Just because your child was diagnosed with Autism does not mean your child will never thrive and it is NOT a life sentence. Therapies, support and medicine have come a long way to help children on the spectrum thrive, be successful and be happy. It just may not be to your standards of success or happiness. As much as I understand the fear parents can have or difficulties they may face when a child is given such diagnoses, sometimes the sympathy is not well meaning and can be more harmful than not. All people, not just people on the autism spectrum have unique talents or gifts, but also have unique struggles. How is that much different because we are on the autism spectrum? Sure some of us may need more support in life or with certain things, but that doesn’t mean autism is a bad thing. Part of accepting autism in society is wanting to be seen more of an equal and not someone you should need to be sorry for. I also repeat AUTISM IS NOT A DISEASE.
‘Oh you only have a mild form of autism’ or ‘Asperger Syndrome, high functioning etc is a mild form of autism’
I’m not sure if people say this to people on the higher end of the spectrum to make them feel better or if they are just really ignorant. I don’t believe any form of autism is mild and I have never met anyone on the spectrum who would explain their autism as mild or share they are only mildly autistic. Again the autism spectrum is very complex ed and it effects individuals differently. I also think you have to factor in other things such as how much support or therapy that person or people have received growing up, some of their traits or struggles may be more challenging than others and other things you may have no idea about. Like I mentioned previously, I was on the lower end of the spectrum as a child and now could be described as being on the higher end of the spectrum and though it may seem like some of my autistic traits or challenges may have lessened or become less obvious I would never say my autism is mild. Being on the autism spectrum tremendously effects who I am and my life. My brain is wired differently and statement like these is basically saying my entire brain’s make up is mild and I am only mildly effected by my brain. Lawls. ‘Oh you are only mildly neurotypical.’ Seriously what does this phrase even mean?!?! Also when you tell someone their autism is only mild or they only have a mild form of autism it degrades what that person is going through when in reality you have no idea what they are going through.
‘My son/daughter has autism and you don’t act or look anything like them’
These type of statements are really harmful and toxic because it makes me or others on the autism spectrum feel like you don’t believe us. Let me repeat myself again that my autism traits were a lot more obvious and I was on the lower end of the spectrum as a child. I have spent my entire life finding coping mechanisms to live with my autism. Your child has not. Again the autism spectrum is very wide and complex ed, meaning autism doesn’t have one ‘look’ and not everyone child, teen or adult on the spectrum is going to look or act exactly like your child.
‘Oh…well I meant my child is on the low end of the spectrum, you seem fine to me and I didn’t mean to offend you.’
I don’t know how many times I will have to repeat myself in this post or to ignorant fuck wads, but I do apologize.
I was on the low end of the spectrum as a child and because I have had my entire life to learn to live life on the spectrum and by some miracle blend into society, means there is hope for your child. People on the autism spectrum alike can relate to your child and maybe instead of making harmful and ignorant comments we could help you. You didn’t mean to offend me? Trust me sweetie, non taken. You can talk about your child or someone close to you that is on the autism spectrum however you wish to, I just cannot promise it will be respectful or not hurtful to them. Just because your child was given a diagnoses of autism, including low end functioning autism does not mean there will never be hope for them to thrive or they are some loss cause.
‘Being on the autism spectrum or having autism is not an excuse’
Although to some extent I can agree with this statement in certain scenarios. I don’t think anyone should be able to act however they please just because they have a diagnoses, especially if it is disrespectful, hurtful or harmful to anyone around them. However, that is not what this statement is being referred to here. Autism and it’s challenges is not some excuse to get out of something, it is what it is. An excuse is something you come up with simply because you don’t want to do something or what have you. An excuse is a choice. Autism or let’s say things like anxiety is not a choice. When I become completely exhausted and unable to function after a long day’s work or being out in public places for too long and I act irritated and just want to be left alone don’t tell me my autism is an excuse. Shit like that makes me feel like crap.
‘Are you sure you are autistic?’
Yes, I’m sure. I don’t this one really needs an explanation or reply, but don’t let ANYONE tell you they know you better than you.
‘Vaccines cause autism’
I am going to try and keep this one as brief as possible, but I am sure a lot of you know the long debates and controversy around these claims.
As I mentioned above, this argument was one of the more recent ones I got into with a customer at work. She actually flat out said she found it funny her sister or friend (no idea??? I forget) son was vaccinated and ended up being autistic, but her children are not vaccinated nor autistic. I am like wow you have done some brilliant research to come to such ridiculous conclusions. I literally asked if that was her only example. LOL. Giving the fact mumps was going around not long ago (was it mumps in the USA? I don’t pay enough attention cause honestly I am not that paranoid to diseases and stuff) but I’m just saying…
Even though it has now been long debated that it has been disproven that vaccines cause autism. Vaccines can cause similar signs that look like autism, but NOT autism. That now they are actually putting a lot of research into connecting autism to genetics etc. That is not even my stance on this whole argument. Let’s just pretend for the sake of this post that vaccines do cause autism. Let’s give it a thought, shall we? Making claims like you won’t get your child vaccinated because vaccines cause autism you are saying that autism is worse than the world’s most deadly diseases. That you would rather have your child be vulnerable to shit like polio, mumps, measles etc. Since vaccines do NOT cause autism now your child is not only vulnerable to the worse diseases this world has ever bred, but they could still end up being diagnosed with autism because what causes autism is still very widely discussed, researched and complicated. It never will be as simple as it is caused by vaccines. Some of the reasons why some claim vaccines cause autism is because the high rates of autism now, than in the past. However, we also know that is also total bull shit. Back in the day no one knew what autism was, so no one was getting diagnosed. (This is not just the case with autism, but just about every other diagnoses as well) With medical advances, tools and support etc we are now seeing a rise in diagnoses because we know what autism is now and understand more about the spectrum. People are not just getting a diagnoses of autism but the right diagnoses. I don’t think I need to go into further explanation with this one and I think this one kinda needs a post of it’s own or essay you could say. (because it is a pretty long drawn out topic I apologize for explaining myself poorly or too briefly here) I am going to just leave it at this…When it comes to serious things like vaccinating your children or yourself do all the research you can do (I mean A TON) before making such vast or huge decisions about your child’s life. Some of the reasons why vaccinating your child can actually show similar things such as autism (but is NOT autism) is because we are yes over vaccinating our children and in too short of a time frame. I am not a spoke person for vaccines or even pro vaccinations. I think you should space out every single vaccine you get your child injected with. Anyone would react to getting shots in the small time frame the doctors recommend. I also don’t believe you need every single vaccine out there or offered to you or your child. However, I am not ignorant enough to believe it causes autism or it hasn’t help humans evolve today. To say vaccines has never saved humanity is a joke and what pisses me off to no fucking end is this ignorant belief that autism is the worse thing that could ever happen to your child. I really wish sometimes people could just stop breathing, never mind reproducing.
‘Do you wish you could be cured of your autism?’ (also for those obsessed with finding a cure tbh)
I never saw my autism or autism as a bad thing so no I don’t wish to be cured. There is a difference between finding the right support system for you or your child to help them be the best they can be a lead a happy life, and being cured of our brain entirely. 🙂 The fact people actually believe there will be some miraculous cure one day for autism makes me laugh. I think you are researching in all the wrong places, and instead missing out on a lot with yourself or your child. Your energy would be better spent looking into a better support group for families with autism, than doing ridiculous (some of which are deadly) ‘cure’ alls for autism.
“Isn’t autism like socially retarded?”
First of all, retard or retarded are words that should never be used to describe anyone or anything, as it is a slur that has been used to oppress and dehumanize people. Second of all, autism is a complex ed neurological disorder and having troubles with communication or social difficulties is only one part.
‘You are autistic, so you must be asexual’
Uhh no, but thanks for asking? Although some on the autism spectrum are asexual, that does not mean all of us are. Again with the whole spectrum being complex ed and all. We are all different. Now rather this was true or not, I think this is a very personal question to be asking anyone. Unless they are a very close friend of yours or family member, I highly suggest not going around and asking strangers such personal questions.
“Are you aware that you are rocking, flapping your hands, fidgeting or what have you (stimming)?”
Yes I am very aware, thanks for noticing. 😉
This is very ignorant to say because even people who are aware they are stimming cannot stop themselves or control it as it is the only proper response we know to do to survive sometimes. For us on the spectrum it is the only way we can cope with sensory overload and get through the situation that we find to be overwhelming. It’s really embarrassing to point this out to someone who is only responding in a way they know how to. It is pretty much their dignity and survival verse your embarrassment. It is your problem, not ours.
“It isn’t that bad, just relax. Or count to 10 and get over it.”
Comments like this often get told to me when I am having really bad anxiety or I am sharing feelings about having really bad anxiety. This really bothers me because for me it was really bad and just because you weren’t bothered by it doesn’t mean it didn’t bother me. Telling me it wasn’t that bad or I just need to get over it makes me feel like my opinions or my feelings don’t matter. If you cannot accept me or support how I feel then you can just go away. K thanks bye.
Also what the fuck am I? Count to 10?! If I am having an anxiety attack or sharing that I had one or have anxiety it means I have already tried everything that normally helps me cope with my anxiety and it didn’t work. So yes please eff off somewhere out of my face with this crap.
“What are you going to do when you’re an adult because people won’t stand for that behavior?”
I am now an adult and my behaviours are just fine thanks. I am not sure what this comment really means really because clearly I cannot act differently or help the way I act. People will just have to deal with it. The same way I deal with things I disagree with or may not understand. It’s called respect? Get some. It is not like I always enjoy the way I am or the way I act. I do not enjoy things like feeling anxious, melt downs or having panic attacks.
“You have autism, so you are like Rain Man yo”
Again the spectrum is very wide and complex ed. Yes it is known that a lot of people on the spectrum can have a high IQ, and/or associated disorders like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) allows people on the spectrum to become more educated on topics they are interested in, hence making it seem like they have a higher IQ. Frankly, I am not even sure if it is true that people with autism or aspergers naturally have a higher IQ. Or it is just because when those that have an interest in a certain topic they want to learn everything about that interest allowing them to be smarter as a result in that certain category. That is not necessarily what IQ is though. So that is even up for debate or a topic in it’s own that I am not going to dive anymore into on this post. My main point is the spectrum is very wide and no autistic person is the same, so no we are not all like rain man. Sorry.
What’s it like to have autism?” Note: This is not always necessarily bad because I guess if you say it in the right context you are just asking out of curiosity. I think you should only ask a person with autism who is close to you these kind of questions.
This comment really just confuses me because I have always been this way and I don’t know what you want me to say. It would be the same as asking someone what it is like to be neurotypical or what have you. I think it is better to ask a person you know or are close to that has autism because you can have a much meaningful and deeper conversation about it. Like you can ask why they find certain things harder and like ask in more detail I guess.
This last one is not a comment or a question. It is just something that really makes my blood boil whenever I see it and the sad thing is I don’t think a lot of people even really know it is a thing as it is more popular on social media. As a person who spent a lot of their past (teens to early twenties) living online in chat rooms, social media and such I often see the word autism thrown around as an insult. I still see it in youtube comments etc. Like literally saying things like “you are autistic” to a complete stranger like they were trying find some creative word to replace retard with? I’m not sure, but yeah guys it’s a thing and it makes me really pissed off when I see it. I just assume it is apart of the idiots our modern social media world has bred that I am so glad I am not apart of anymore. 🙂
This post was barely edited, and my brain is now completely numb that I cannot be bothered to edit anymore. Given the topic of this post I am sure I will have more stuff to add in the future and will come back to edit it often. Hope you all enjoy or this can help someone feel less alone or less angry when they see shit like this. 🙂 If you have any comments or questions you have heard or seen and would like to add feel free to share or discuss in the comment section.
I am still perfecting my autism playlist that is actually more turning into a life soundtrack tbh and may be changed to just that. For now I will share a few more songs from it with you all as it’s kinda my thing to end my posts with music and all. XD
Since this post is kinda a big fuck you to ignorant human beings and society 😛
I grew up with this band. I fucking love them and his voice ❤