Technically, I’m not allowed to republish the entire article but everyone who knows or deals with people with autism should, nay, must read it, like, now. I’m posting an excerpt from the article here on my blog. This one particularly resonates with me. I get this line a lot and I absolutely hate it.
2. “You should be very proud of yourself. You seem so normal. I couldn’t tell that you’re Autistic.”
While this is rarely said to Autistic people whose disability is very visible, it is very frequently said to Autistic people with much more invisible disability. It’s insulting because it suggests that because the person doesn’t appear to be disabled or doesn’t fit preconceptions of what Autistic people are supposed to sound or act like, that person must therefore not have a disability or be Autistic. It also suggests that “normal” is the standard to which anyone should aspire to appear or act (and that “normalization” should be the ultimate goal of therapies or treatments for autism rather than pragmatic coping skills to navigate a world where Autistics are a minority), and therefore that it’s not good to act or speak in ways commonly associated with being Autistic, even if those behaviors don’t actually hurt anyone. This is very dismissive of a person’s disability and experiences.
I’m not a huge fan of the normal. The idea of normality as a sign of perfection has pissed me off and creeped me out. To say that I seem normal is a stab in my heart.
I’ve decided that from now on, whenever I get this remark or any of the others in the article, instead of accommodating their ignorance, I’m going to school them. I don’t care if they mean well. I don’t want to live in a society where ableism runs free (btw, my word processor says ‘ableism’ is not a word, even though it is. Quite telling) and if doing what I can to remedy that means being a prick, then so be it.
Read the rest at Autistic Hoya.
The linked post was written by Lydia Brown, who runs Autistic Hoya. The linked article is the intellectual property of Lydia Brown, blah, blah, blah, legal, legal, legal.