Saturday, April 16, 2011

What to say, and not say, to an autistic adult

I borrowed this concept from Stark Raving Mad Mommy. I assumed she wouldn't mind too much. Hers is way funnier than mine.

DON'T SAY: "I never would have known. You must be very high functioning."

SAY: "I obviously don't know anything about autism."

DON'T SAY: "Are you sure?"

SAY: "I obviously really don't know anything about autism."

DON'T SAY: "Isn't that, you know, a kid thing?"

SAY: "Damn, the media works hard to erase you. That sucks."

DON'T SAY: "Don't you get that from vaccines?"

SAY: "I almost just asked you a preposterous question. Clearly, I suck."

DON'T SAY: "You aren't like my 5 year old nephew! You aren't autistic!"

SAY: "The media has so effectively erased you that it didn't occur to me that you grow up. I suck."

DON'T SAY: "You are nothing like my child! You aren't really autistic!"

SAY: "I am bitter and angry and it isn't your fault, so I'm going over there."

DON'T SAY: "Isn't neurodiversity, like, an exclusive club for Aspies and high functioning autistics?"

SAY: "I may misunderstand neurodiversity. Care to explain?"

DON'T SAY: "If you can 'advocate' so much, you aren't really autistic."

SAY: "I'm glad people are fighting the good fight so my kid may not have to."

DON'T SAY: "If my kid could do what you do, I'd consider her recovered."

SAY: "I wonder what my child will be like as an adult."

DON'T SAY: "That parent is just frustrated, they don't mean to be hateful. Have some empathy!"

SAY: "Wow, that was really rude of them. Are you ok?"

DON'T SAY: "They aren't ableist, they just don't understand! The unfamiliar scares people!"

SAY: "What an ableist turdbucket. Ew."

DON'T SAY: "If everyone treats you like that, you're used to it, right? Business as usual."

SAY: "People suck. I understand why you're often angry and frustrated."

DON'T SAY: "Why do you hate parents?"

SAY: "That shit irritates me too."

DON'T SAY: "But not all parents are like that!"

SAY: If you're doing it right, you shouldn't have to say anything. It should be apparent.

DON'T SAY: "Oh my god that must be soooooooooo haaaaaaaaaaard."

SAY: "I just noticed how loud and bright it is in here. Can I fix that?"

DON'T SAY: "Look at me. LOOK at ME."

SAY: "Based on what I just almost said, I have a deathwish."

DON'T SAY: "Doesn't eating a food and deliciousness free diet fix that?"

SAY: "Pizza, burgers, or burritos?"

DON'T SAY: "That sound/light/smell/random touching wasn't that bad. Just relax."

SAY: "There's a quiet dark place over there. Do you want company or want to be alone?"

DON'T SAY: "Aren't you worried about passing that on to kids?"

SAY: Don't say anything. My hypothetical future kids are none of your damn business.

DON'T SAY: "What was your first period/bra/sexual encounter/significant other drama/accidental innuendo/intentional innuendo like for you?"

SAY: Again, keep your mouth shut. This is even less of your damn business.

DON'T SAY: "Your parents did a really great job! You're so high functioning!"

SAY: "You are pretty fantastic."

DON'T SAY: "Autism is such a tragedy. Don't you hope they cure it soon so you can be normal?"

SAY: "Eliminating you would be a tragedy."


Unknown said...

I love you. That is all.

Heldenautie said...

I read this on a reblog and KNEW it had to be you. I find this awesome.

Unknown said...

Man, this was a refreshing and necessary read.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Oh oh oh this is great great great! A career counselor said to me last week, "What's autistic about you? You don't seem autistic at all." Nice, huh? If you (or anyone) is interested in my unspoken response, you can check it out ( That doesn't cover the experience the previous week of a peer saying "Nobody would ever guess that you're 'on the spectrum'" (By the way, "on the spectrum" is just so silly to me. I'm autistic. You can say it. It's not a bad word.)

But anyhoo, yes, this is great and I love it.

Nikki said...

This is so brilliant! Thank you!

Nikki said...

Very brilliant and funny too! Thank you!

Leah Kelley said...

This is spectacular!
So are you!!

Appreciation and love <3