Monday, April 11, 2011

"What Would Meeting You Halfway Be?"

My friend asked me this after class with an "aware" teacher. And I was flabbergasted.

I have no answer to that question. I don't even have the shape of an answer, much less words, a description.

Meeting us halfway just isn't done. No one considers it as an option. It's a tidbit of ableism that is so entrenched that I never considered it; autistics do all the work is just how it is. We give 95%, everyone else complains about the 3% they grudgingly give & then they demand that we meet them halfway-because 97% is the new half.

It never occurred to me that they are fully capable of giving more. I don't know why, just that they don't. A communication problem must have at least 2 sides, yet "I have a communication disorder, so this is my problem" is the way it is. It's how it has always been. It's how things will continue to be for the forseeable future.

I still don't have an answer to my friend's query. I guess part of meeting me halfway would be ditching preconcieved notions that I can (or cannot) do something based on my skill-or lack thereof-in another area. Part is not assuming or using communication between the lines. Take stims as they are. Take me as I am-everything I do has a reason, but fretting about that odd thing I do isn't meeting me halfway; it is othering. Don't other me.

But really, I do not have an answer. I could not tell anyone how to meet me truly in the middle. I don't know what it feels like. If it's like my social experiences at conferences, it's both a freeing level of acceptance and something the NT majority will never achieve in my lifetime. It's not something they can or will do.

I don't know where halfway is, and I quite likely never will. There, I guess, is the answer.


Ole Ferme l'Oeil said...

What is sad, is that Jim Sinclair talked about "building bridges" and doing it together those of us of all the neurology types... but after all this time we are still at the point where people still think it's up to autistics (and often other disabled people) to make all the effort.

I have had the luck to meet people, a lot of people who are ready to make their part and meet halfway, so I know it's possible.
I have benefitiated from it.
So I am sad to read that it's so rare.

buildingmoons said...


Anonymous said...

For me... I simply think... meeting me halfway would be, trying to learn my language.

It would be not assumping that what you need for a basic comfort level, is what I need for a basic comfort level. It would be not assuming that this world is made for neurotypical people and we just have to change to fit in to it, or suffer the overwhelming feeling, shutdowns, etc.

But, also, it would be trying to learn my language. I have to struggle to speak the language of words. If people can take some time to learn to speak the language of my body, my hand movements, my positions, my non-verbal sounds, then maybe, we could talk in a more even way....

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