Over this year, I have collated a list; ranging from the ridiculous, to the insincere, and sometimes nasty, a lot has been said when I have said “I have Aspergers”. (And I also collected things said in mainstream media that were also along these lines.)
Some assertions are almost laughable; so, here is a list of the most offensive things said to me this year, courtesy of Twitter telling me that this is what you’d like to read. (Offensive meaning that they were said to be mean, or upset my routine, or made me feel uncomfortable.)
“You don’t look autistic”
Tell me: what does Autism, or even Aspergers for that matter, ‘look like’? Perhaps something a little more Rainman was expected? I think it’s the me being ‘high functioning’ that causes the confusion.
(Please note the sarcastic tone.)
“You’re putting it on”
Yep. Really. Tell me: how can something neurological be put on, having displayed hallmarks since I was very little? This is also a myth in the sense that it suggests that Aspergers can be switched on and off.
“Autistic kids just need disciplining properly”
There was a video that went viral a while ago; a severely autistic child was put in handcuffs during a meltdown, because it would ‘make him behave properly, like the other children’.
There was also a remark made by a particularly prominent individual who said the same thing, virtually.
Maybe, you know, people on spectrum should be left in their world, and not be forced to come into a world built by a largely neurotypical population? Better still: combine the two. On spectrum traits could be such an asset in employment, and more.
“You’re not like most autistic people”
What are ‘most people’ like, then? The spectrum means that we’re different, but with a shared common thread.
“But you’re female!”
I once read that females are often diagnosed later in life, because they can mask their spectrum traits better. (I think it was in a book by Dr Tony Attwood?)
My gender seems to surprise a lot of people, because the spectrum is ostensibly viewed as being a “male” thing.
“You’re not listening. Look at me!”
I’m not good at eye contact. Simple as that. However, it does not mean that I am not listening. Nine times out of ten I will be.
“People with Aspergers are a bit cold, and a bit weird.”
Said in front of me by a teacher unaware of my diagnosis. This plays int the “People with Aspergers show little empathy” type casting-which I have to rebut.
Although some mechanisms in this respect may be learnt-such as what’s socially expected-it does not mean that I have no empathy.
*Tries to force eye contact*
Please. Don’t. Do. This. It. Makes. Me. So. Uncomfortable. Especially. Without. Blinking. And. Not. Looking. Away.
“Give me a hug”
Newsflash: I’m not a very tactile person. I don’t really like touching-be it a brush past dash for the train, an insisted upon hug. or a nudge with an elbow. If you or I would like a hug, I will come to you. But do not be offended if I don’t “play ball”, so to speak.