Being Autistic isn’t an excuse

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Update: I misread this woman’s profile and it turns out she’s not Autistic. My apologies for that. I misunderstood her profile and based on her attack, I incorrectly assumed she was an Autistic adult, attacking me in the way I’ve been attacked many times before.

I shouldn’t have assumed and I apologize for that.

The principle of this post still stands. We all need to treat each the way we want to be treated. Parents and Adult Autistics should be on the same team. We all bring things to the table and can learn from each other.

Being a parent isn’t easy, especially when you’re a neurotypical parent to a child with Autism. While I can’t speak for everyone, I can say with the utmost confidence, that most Autism parents dedicate their lives to do anything and everything that their child needs, often in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

All that love, effort, exhaustion and stress comes at a cost.

For almost a decade now, I’ve encouraged parents to openly talk about their struggles, feelings, hopes and fears. I still stand by that today.

It’s healthy to feel all the things that we do as a result of all we go through. By sharing our feelings with others, we’re helping to make sure that everyone knows it’s okay to feel all these things, because we’re all human.

One of the absolute best resources an Autism parent can ever have is an Adult Autistic. They have amazing insight and in most cases, are more than happy to help. I can’t tell you how many times an Adult Autistic has helped me to better understand what my kids are going through.

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At the same time, I get things like what you see in the image below all the time.

All I did was share a tweet from Autism Parenting Magazine. It’s simply talking about a chat with a cast member from the new show, The Good Doctor. Whether or not you like, and or agree with the portrayal this show does of a person with Autism, many will find this interesting.

Out of nowhere, I get this Mom climbing down my throat because the person in the chat doesn’t have Autism.

She gets increasingly more angry and hostile, until I finally tell her, having Autism doesn’t give you the right to treat people like this. I teach my kids to treat all people with respect. You could learn something from them. That was my mistake. She’s not Autistic and I apologize to the Adult Autistic community for making that mistake. She’s just rude and angry.

Normally I wouldn’t bother replying but this woman was basically accusing me and others like me, of not loving our kids with Autism because we openly discuss the challenges we face as parents.

Obviously, I don’t agree with that but we can agree to disagree.

The reason I feel compelled to share this experience is because Autistic Adults want to be taken seriously. They want to have their voices heard. Frankly, they should be taken seriously and their voices are extremely important to the community.

Having said that, this isn’t the first time I’ve been attacked like this and I’m far from the only Autism parent to experience this kind of treatment from an Adult Autistic.

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Here’s the thing, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to treat people the way you want to be treated. I know that the world is full of assholes and that many Autistic people are treated poorly. There’s no excuse for that and I won’t tolerate it. At the same time however, when things like what happened in the Twitter thread above happen, it doesn’t make parents feel as though they can approach you.

Thankfully, I’ve been blessed to have made so many friends in the Adult Autistic community. I wouldn’t trade or change them for anything in the world. They have helped me be a better parent to my kids.

The reason this works is because we treat each other with respect. We know that we both bring something to the table and we can learn from each other. Being Autistic isn’t an excuse to treat people poorly. It’s one thing to be socially awkward but it’s another thing to just be an asshole.

There are many accommodations I ensure my kids have but at the same time, Autism is never an excuse for treating someone badly. They are still responsible for their choices. They have to learn that their actions have consequences. I would never tolerate my kids treating anyone in the manner that some Autistic adults have treated me or others like me.

We already know the world is full of assholes, don’t be one of them.