May 29, 2015

Not Only Autistic People Do That!

In addition to this blog, I run a few autism-related Facebook pages and have my personal Instagram account. I don't often, but now and then I will tag a photo of a situation I'm experiencing with "#autism." For example, there was this post where the Little Man wanted to play with water balloons, but did not want to get wet (which was difficult to achieve, but we dealt with it).
A photo posted by K Bron John (@kbronjohn) on
I'm not the only one who receives these comments. Here's another experience:

Of course I got a comment (through Facebook) about how that's not unique to autism.
(It's not the first time I've received such a comment)

'Not only autistics have this problem.' We read this comment in our page threads and in groups where we allow allistic...
Posted by The Cranky Autistic on Friday, May 29, 2015

I no longer respond to these comments (I used to!). I no longer really see the point.

Of course, a whole lot of behaviours/experiences are not unique to autism. Of course it's possible NT people have done similar things. THAT'S NOT THE POINT.

When I point out that my son or I do something and I attribute it to my/our autism, it's not because I think we're the only ones who do it. I draw attention to it because it's something other autistic people can relate to or understand.

If I say "someone touched my hair again without consent" and tag it "#blackpeopleproblems," I don't care if white people get their hair touched as well. I wouldn't understand why a white person would feel the need to comment, "but that happens to us, too!" Sure, it can, and I acknowledge your struggle! But it happens WAY less to white people than black.

Sometimes, I get the impression people are trying to dismiss my/our experience. As if it somehow should make me feel better that it's "not just an autistic thing." Other times I feel like they believe I'm/we're somehow not really autistic then.

For me, it's about the total of "autistic experiences" in a day and I'm trying to let people in on what just some of those situations are like. Sure, the water balloon thing was not a big deal. I found it humorous and we came to a solution so he could still have fun. But there are hundreds of other episodes like that throughout the day that make up the whole autistic experience, and only people who are or live with autistic people can really understand. You may relate to something we do. You may even do it yourself, but there's no need to dismiss it as not autistic enough for you.

EDITED To Add: It can also stem from a belief that labelling something as autistic behaviour is somehow bad and shouldn't be done. As if being NT is the ideal.

Great, I did something that some other NT also does. Yay! Now I'm cured! Wait, what?

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