Initially, I was going to write something overflowing with satire, along the lines of oh gee, I had no idea my autism was so hard on you, random stranger, but I decided to bottle that satire up and be serious… because, for me, this topic is very serious.
Earlier today, I came across a hateful writing that insulted, belittled, ridiculed, and shamed people on the spectrum. What started out as a criticism of a popular children’s show (Sesame Street) turned into a condemnation of people with autism and their “offense” to society.
These are some of the remarks that the OP made:
She repeats the same words over and over…doesn’t form sentences. Ignores when people attempt to communicate with her, has slim to no eye contact, and ignores social cues in an excruciatingingly embarrassing level.
Like it’s funny that people are supposed to try and “get used to her” and not take offense to her embarrassing and regressed brain.
I don’t remember people with learning disabilities, or physical disabilities being showcased on the show as just “doing things differently.”
Autistic people shouldn’t get a free empathy pass in my opinion. Plus they make the whole ENVIRONMENT of people around them feel awkward just because we have to “pretend” they are “normal.” Well they aren’t. Let’s be honest, and stop babying them.
I’ll be honest: I read this writing several times because I had to.
I had to because I didn’t want to just react.
Reacting would have been very easy; I had several colorful words at the ready. It wouldn’t have been constructive or beneficial. I might have felt better, going off on the person, but I feel that I would have just been contributing to the toxicity. I thought about baring up a satirical writing to express my feelings but given the subject and what it means to me, I opted for a serious response.
As someone with autism, I am conflicted.
I’m angry, repulsed, sad, and resigned.
I experience echolalia (repeating the same words over and over), my sentences sometimes come out muddled, I don’t always notice when someone is trying to communicate with me, I don’t make eye contact, and most social cues escape me.
You might notice those things, but there are plenty of other things that you don’t notice: you don’t notice the effort I’m putting in to make concise and comprehensive statements, or how much I beat myself up when I fail to do so; you don’t notice how much I’m trying to be social or how self-conscious I am. I think in pictures, patterns, colors, etc. Translating those mental images into words to verbally communicate with someone requires a lot of effort. Sometimes I use the wrong word and sometimes I mash words together because I got stuck on more than one. In our house, we call them “word smooshes” and they are things that bring laughter, playful banter, and affection.
According to some people, like the person who wrote the above comments, the way that I’m wired makes me an “embarrassment” and someone with a “regressed brain,” who “offends” society and causes the “environment” to feel “awkward.”
I genuinely can’t think of the word that describes the feeling that I have right now. It isn’t pity; pity implies a degree of sympathy and I feel none of that. In a movie, the protagonist and antagonist would be face to face, the protagonist wanting to save the antagonist from destruction by their own ignorant choices, but the antagonist refuses and continues down their path, lost, and the protagonist scornfully just shakes their head in contempt and resignation.
Whatever that feeling is… that’s what I feel.
I have no sympathy for the person who wrote that hateful garbage; I don’t chalk it up to ignorance or misinformation, and I don’t pity them for their opinions. There is literally nothing I can, or want, to say to that person. I feel no inclination to “prove myself” to them or “defend” who I am. One reason is because the behaviors they described are ones that I personally experience: repeats words… check; difficulty with sentences… check; trouble with communication and social cues… check. I can’t deny those things.
The OP openly admitted that they view those things as “embarrassing” and “offensive.” I can’t even imagine what they’d say about so many of the other things that I experience and deal with, as someone with autism. But to be honest, I really don’t care, because we live in two separate worlds.
It’s hard to describe what my world is, but I can tell you what it isn’t.
It isn’t a place of hate. It isn’t a place where people are ridiculed and shamed for being different or not “normal.” It isn’t a place where people are condemned and looked down on for having their own needs. It isn’t a place of intolerance.
That may be your world, where people with autism, are oh so embarrassing and offensive and awkward simply because they aren’t your cookie cutter fantasy of what “normal” is… and quite frankly, that’s fine. You are entitled your opinions, as ignorant and hateful and close-mindeded and repulsive as they are.
But you’re not entitled to be part of my world.
hangs sign on club house door: no cunts allowed
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