Today is World Autism Awareness Day, and this post will do exactly that, raise awareness. Since discovering the truth behind my unusual childhood and the reason why I went to a different kind of school for three years, I discovered that people know jack about disabilities and how to talk to people with autism. Here are the most common:
1. “You’re autistic?!? You look so normal!” – The most common one that I (and people like me) have received from others. We all hate it. There are two reasons why we hate it: 1) We hear this EVERY SINGLE TIME. 2) So I received a compliment because I didn’t fit into the stereotype of autistic people. Wow. Thanks for telling me your negative perception of autistic people. Well done there.
2. “You’re not autistic.” – Again, more proof that people have negative perceptions of autism. By the way, I am pretty sure that I have it due to actual psychologists, qualified people who help and teach autistic kids for a living, and the fact I’ve done years of research for my own personal interest.
3. “So you’re like Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory…” – Although I encourage representation of autistic characters in TV and Films, it gets tiring that you are compared to a fictional character, portrayed by Jim Parsons.
4. “You’re someone with Special Needs” – This term has bothered me for almost 15 years. This is a politically correct collective term, which is patronising to so many people. Screw that! If someone says “Special Needs”, the person who said it will have a special need to run fast and far.
5. “Light it up blue!” – Nice try, but please, no.
6. “Why do you get angry easily/have lots of obsessions/not go out all the time?” – Because I try to live up to non-autistic expectations and get annoyed when I fail/It’s a part of autism and I don’t care what people think because I enjoy these obsessions/because it’s expensive and I don’t mind staying in, or watching a movie in college, or having a quiet drink with friends. Moral of the story: DON’T MAKE PEOPLE FEEL BAD FOR HAVING OTHER INTERESTS THAN YOUR OWN!!!
7. “Like if you want a cure for autism” Remember when people got annoyed for those lame and superficial “Like if u wsh cancer died” posts? Same principle. *Spoiler alert*: This is no cure. Early diagnosis and intervention is your best shot.
8. “Everyone’s a little autistic.” Even though not every autistic person is the same, that statement is one of the most ignorant things ever. Don’t even think about it!
Despite all the annoying ignorance, I have heard some good things said too. 1. “You’re autastic!” Definitely the funniest reaction. One of my friends said this and decided to amalgamate “autistic” and “fantastic”. Nice one dude!
2.“You shouldn’t define yourself as autistic, but as a person.” When this person said it, it was like someone finally understood what I was thinking. Autistic people are ACTUALLY PEOPLE. What a shock! With enough help and encouragement, they can be who they want to be, not what they’re born with. They can do the Leaving Cert, go to college, have a job, be in relationships, drive and any other thing you can think of. The point is this: Be informed and open minded, and there’s no more ignorance.