In full disclosure

Let’s pretend, for a moment, that I have a broken leg.  In fact, it broke in several places, and I have pins and rods, and I’m in a full leg cast.  You see my cast, and you say, “What happened to your leg?!”

And I tell you a story about how I was, oh, say, putting Christmas lights up on the roof, and I fell off the roof and broke my leg really badly, and yada, yada.

Would it ever cross your mind to say, “Oh, everyone’s legs hurt sometimes.  I think you can walk on it just fine.  Come on, then, up you go, let’s get a move on.”

Crazy, right?

Another one.  Say I’ve been having a really, really tough time lately.  Not really sleeping, having trouble eating, really short-tempered.  Again, you ask what’s wrong.

“I have anxiety so badly I can hardly function.”

Would you say, “Oh, everyone worries.  I think you’re fine.  Come on, let’s get back to work now.”

Only a jerk might, yeah?

So my question to you is this: Why do I have conversations such as follows day in and day out?

Person: Why don’t you xyz (sit still, make eye contact, sing with the group…)?

Me: Well, I’m autistic… it means that I have trouble with things like socializing and communicating.  And so, things like xyz can be really hard for me.

Person: Oh, well, everyone is like that!  You seem fine to me.  Come on, let’s get back to the party and I’ll introduce you to so-and-so…

 

Why?

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4 thoughts on “In full disclosure

  1. I am so sorry that you had this experience. I just think that most people have difficulty empathising with people on the spectrum. (Not that I am saying that I can fully empathise either but as a parent of a child with Autism it helps). I just think that people can understand ‘medical’ issues but just can’t comprehend (and sometimes just don’t want to) difficulties that people on the spectrum have to deal with on a daily basis.

    Thanks for your writings this year. I really enjoy reading your perspective on things. Merry Christmas!

  2. I think that a lot of NT people know these things are difficult for folks on the spectrum, but they don’t often get that spectrumites may also have little or no interest in doing these things.I may not want to do xyz, not just because it’s difficult, but because I’m not interested. This comes up a lot in conversations about how we inundate our autistic kids with therapies and social skills, when really we should be talking about how the kid might not want a BFF in the first place. NT’s often think “if we can just teach the skill, then the autistic person will be so much happier to do xyz”but the autistic may not ever care to do xyz in the first place, whether or not they’ve developed a particular skill. Do you know what I mean? I’m having trouble explaining this thought. It’s not well formed yet 🙂

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