Fourteen Things Not to Say to an Autistic Adult

1) Yes I seem normal and look normal.
2) I can talk, drive, am married with kids, have a job, go to places on my own.
3)No I don’t call myself autistic.
4) No I am not Rain Man and I don’t have any savant skills.
5) No I am not retarded even though I have been asked that and mistaken as being slow or retarded and someone trying to tell me online autism was a form of mental retardation so therefore I was too.
6) I have also been told I am so smart I can go to college and find it hard to believe I was in special ed and got help through school.
7) My parents think AS and autistic are two different things. It’s like how you can have a cold but not a fever.
8) I have also gotten I must be high functioning and it doesn’t offend me at all.
10) No I don’t act autistic, I do get my moments and how is an autistic person supposed to act? I have been around many of them and we all looked fine unless I am oblivious. I can go from normal to not normal in five seconds and then I literally forget about it. My husband will tell me I don’t act normal even though in my view I am. If me not talking to people and being kept to myself or me not socializing or me running up to my room and locking myself in there to get away from all the stimulation or to relax with my computer makes me act autistic, okay but in my view it’s all normal and my personality. Here are introverts, everyone does something to relax, everyone needs time alone. What’s normal?
11) Never gotten that one but I know it has happened where someone used it as an excuse to get away with whatever but they are the minority. I have even seen some admit it online using it as an excuse. I have also seen rude people online who happen to have it but I doubt they are using it as an excuse. There is a difference being rude and having it and using it as an excuse to be rude. In fact sometimes people use your AS as an excuse by using it against you.
13) I have gotten better as I got older and I have matured. I felt that is getting over it. I sometimes realize I never really gotten over a symptom, I have just learned to manage it or adapt and I handle it differently. Is it getting over it?
14) I have gotten “You seem normal” when I have opened up about my past (especially online) and I have taken it as a compliment. So I seem normal now, that means I have now learned to appear normal and act normal and people can no longer tell I am different. As a kid, kids would pick up on me being different and make fun of me and single me out and call me retarded or stupid and just treat me different. I also remember being labeled as weird and insane and crazy and one girl mentioning to me on the bus one time I sit like a toddler and my mom told me I was sitting fine. I don’t know if it was her bias view or if the girl was out of her mind. We were friends. Or someone who tells me I seem normal may be the kind of person who doesn’t go around picking apart behaviors people do and assuming they have something wrong with them because everything is normal. I certianlly don’t go around picking apart behaviors and deciding that isn’t normal so I can tell they have autism or have some mental disorder or issue. If it’s way out of the norm, then I can tell. I may just think they have an issue that needs to be worked out through a therapist or they need to learn. I am normal.
I have also been told I am doing to good in my life and worked so hard and made it very far, my mother tells me this. She will also tell me I am doing good than most people and apparently I am doing better than my NT cousins including the one overseas who isn’t really NT because she has Bipolar and ADD. I even wonder if she has aspie traits because she shares qualities of it and I suspect one of my other cousins is on the spectrum but I will never know for sure since I don’t really know her childhood despite seeing her as a kid but then again, what is normal. Autistic people at my group all acted normal so of course my cousin would seem normal too. Even my ADD cousin seemed normal all those years until my husband and I made a mistake of inviting her on a trip with us and all of a sudden she had a different personality because we were with her long enough for it to show. It was very hard to deal with and it took me three days to recover from it. I think that was her Bipolar because my husband said this year “That explains it” when told him she had been diagnosed with it. That explains her full energy and her dramatic behavior. Plus I had to lock my car windows when she was with because she wouldn’t stop opening it. So yes people can seem normal but I bet if you are with them long enough, then it will show they have a problem. With my cousin, it happened to be one of those days when it showed. Other times I had seen her, it never showed unless I was oblivious.


Last night somebody shared an article on Facebook. The article was called “Things never to say to parents of a child with autism.” A comment on the article asked why there wasn’t one about things not to say to an autistic adult. I decided to write that article. It’s based on not only my experience, but also the experiences of my autistic friends.

1) “You don’t look autistic.”

My response to this would be something along the lines of what Gloria Steinem said when people told her she “looked good for 50.” She said, “This is what 50 looks like.” I say, “This is what autism looks like.” However, what I’d like to say is: “I don’t look autistic, and you don’t look ignorant. I guess we’re both wrong.”

I don’t know what people who say this mean when they say I don’t look autistic. What does autism look like?…

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