Opinions Wanted: Should our kids with #Autism be forced to conform? 

I’m really looking for the communities input for this discussion, because this is a rather sensitive topic, but one that needs to be discussed. 

Should we force our kids with Autism to conform to the world around them? Should we allow our kids with Autism to simply be who they are, and make the world around them adapt to meet their needs? 

I know this sounds like a loaded question but with so many kids being diagnosed everyday, I think parents need some ideas of how to do what’s best for their child. 

I’m looking for anyone to comment, especially the Adult Autistic community. Adult Autistics have such valuable insight and I know I could always use the help. 

Please treat each other with respect, even if we differ in opinions. 

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Suz

No. I think there’s far too much pressure for people to fit a generic, people-pleasing mould when people’s differences are not only what make the world interesting but also inspire inventions and creativity (Sir Isaac Newton, Michaelangelo, Albert Einstein were thought to be autistic, for instance).

There is too much pressure to conform and schools don’t help to be honest – the popular jock is celebrated over the boy who devours books on his own or writes computer codes. People need to play the long game with autistic children, tease out their interests and encourage them. Obviously harder work and it requires far more patience than dealing.with “neurotypical” people who are usually much more straightforward, but always worth the effort.

Amber

my parents forced me to conform for all my life and it broke me as a person. i have no identity. being forced to wear the mask all the time i have no idea who i am. there is nothing i can enjoy anymore in life because the ‘normal’ stuff doesn’t interest me and the things that do interest me i cannot engage in because it has become so deeply ingrained by my parents that doing them is wrong (such as collecting and playing with plastic horses or dolls) that i feel horrible even thinking of them. needless to say i never managed to conform anyways. i have no job, no education, i am a social outcast and i don’t even have a self.

trying to make people conform who simply cannot is breaking who they are. anyone who seriously considers this should ask themselves why they are doing that. is it to help your child? or is it because you want to feel better about it yourself/make things easier for yourself etc.

if you love your child try and help them in a way that will support who they are. help them make the best of their situation in a way that will still help them lead a happy life. don’t try to change who they are. choose to love them the way they are. choose unconditional love. because love and acceptance is the only thing that makes all the difference in the world

Nannerz

As a teen who might have Asperger’s syndrome, I’d say don’t force conformity unless it’s absolutely necessary. The world needs uniqueness and it’s slowly changing to become more accepting to differences. You shouldn’t stress them out with “conformity” and pull them out of their comfort zone unless they are becoming harmful to themselves or others.

unable2pwn

yes

unable2pwn

I would say some conforming is necessary because like it or not, the world doesn’t hold people’s hands. However, I would say that the amount of conforming should vary depending on how severely affected the individual is.

kimmy gebhardt

I’m going to come at this from the perspective of someone who is not autistic and who does not have autistic children- yes, they should have to conform. Everyone, autistic or not, conforms to the world at large every day in some way. I feel like we cater to every minority and at some point, we won’t be able to keep that up. The interests of Minority A will conflict with those of Minority B who has issues with the interests of Minority C and then it just turns into huge problems all around. Expecting the world to adapt to meet the needs of every minority out there is a losing proposition.

Mcrutcher766

I realize you requested responses from parents with children who are autistic, but as an individual with Autism, I say no. I think children should be taught to follow rules and laws as set forth by your governing body, they should be taught manners, like other their typically developing peers, e.g., don’t hit, steal, shove, bite, call people derogatory terms. But outside of that they should not be made to conform. The world should work on being more accepting. We see societal norms change ever daus, inter-racial marriages are now a norm, same with racial integration, gay marriage is becoming more socially acceptable, heck even women’s sexuality in general has become more widely acceptable, considering there was a time, in the not too distant past, when women were viewed purely as reproduction machines.

Like any other minority, we have a tough ride ahead, but no one should be punished or forced to be something they are not, especially when the difference is neurological and not inherently dangerous to society as a whole. However, that’s just my two cents.

C

No. You can teach autistic kids to function in the world without squashing their autistic traits into nothing. If they need to stim in order to push elevator buttons, let them stim and push the button. If they have to wear sunglasses inside because the lights bug them, let them wear the sunglasses. If they have to stim to process what a teacher says in school, they should be able to stim.

I’ve seen videos of teenagers with Tourette’s having tics in class and nobody was blinking even though some tics were noisy or involved obvious large movements. At most, someone asked him a question about it and then they went back to their schoolwork.

Let’s frame it like this: How would you feel if you had to pretend to be something you’re not in a world that tells everyone else “be yourself!” yet to you there is always an added “but not you, not like that.”

Hypocritical.

I’m autistic, I stim in public, I use echolalia almost as much as normal speech and I don’t pretend to be anything but who I am, and people accept me just fine.

Mcrutcher766

I realize you requested responses from parents with children who are autistic, but as an individual with Autism, I say no. I think children should be taught to follow rules and laws as set forth by your governing body, they should be taught manners, like other their typically developing peers, e.g., don’t hit, steal, shove, bite, call people derogatory terms. But outside of that they should not be made to conform. The world should work on being more accepting. We see societal norms change ever daus, inter-racial marriages are now a norm, same with racial integration, gay marriage is becoming more socially acceptable, heck even women’s sexuality in general has become more widely acceptable, considering there was a time, in the not too distant past, when women were viewed purely as reproduction machines.

Like any other minority, we have a tough ride ahead, but no one should be punished or forced to be something they are not, especially when the difference is neurological and not inherently dangerous to society as a whole. However, that’s just my two cents.

Rob Gorski

Thank you so much for your response. I specifically asked for Adult Autistic insight. I agree with everything you just said. Very well spoken.

I truly value your insight because it helps me be a better parent to my kids. Please stop by and comment whenever you feel like it. ☺

C

No. You can teach autistic kids to function in the world without squashing their autistic traits into nothing. If they need to stim in order to push elevator buttons, let them stim and push the button. If they have to wear sunglasses inside because the lights bug them, let them wear the sunglasses. If they have to stim to process what a teacher says in school, they should be able to stim.

I’ve seen videos of teenagers with Tourette’s having tics in class and nobody was blinking even though some tics were noisy or involved obvious large movements. At most, someone asked him a question about it and then they went back to their schoolwork.

Let’s frame it like this: How would you feel if you had to pretend to be something you’re not in a world that tells everyone else “be yourself!” yet to you there is always an added “but not you, not like that.”

Hypocritical.

I’m autistic, I stim in public, I use echolalia almost as much as normal speech and I don’t pretend to be anything but who I am, and people accept me just fine.

kimmy gebhardt

I’m going to come at this from the perspective of someone who is not autistic and who does not have autistic children- yes, they should have to conform. Everyone, autistic or not, conforms to the world at large every day in some way. I feel like we cater to every minority and at some point, we won’t be able to keep that up. The interests of Minority A will conflict with those of Minority B who has issues with the interests of Minority C and then it just turns into huge problems all around. Expecting the world to adapt to meet the needs of every minority out there is a losing proposition.

Rob Gorski

I get what you’re saying. Before long however, neurotypicals will be the minority. Part of the problem I have with conformity in this type of situation is that many kids with Autism, simply cannot conform..

unable2pwn

I would say some conforming is necessary because like it or not, the world doesn’t hold people’s hands. However, I would say that the amount of conforming should vary depending on how severely affected the individual is.

Rob Gorski

That’s a good point. Do you think they should have to conform?

Rob Gorski

This is tough, at least from my perspective. I want my kids to be themselves, but at the same time, I realize the world will never conform to their needs. All I want is for my kids to be happy, healthy and productive members of society, in whatever way they are able.

I hate the idea of making them conform but I won’t always be here and I need to know they will be able to survive on their own..

Does that make sense

unable2pwn

yes

Rob Gorski

Good. Sometimes it’s hard to convey things like this in a way that makes sense… ☺

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