‘We’re all a bit autistic.’
I’ve heard this a few times. That, or ‘We’re all on the spectrum somewhere’. Whether or not it’s intended to make autistic people feel better (or less different) what it actually does is trivialize the problems that we face on a daily basis.
Autism isn’t a life choice.
When I talk about my difficulties, some people say, ‘Well, everyone’s like that sometimes’ – I have to stifle the urge to punch them in the crotch. (I’m not pervy – I’m just really small)
Key word: ‘sometimes’ – meaning occasionally, not ALL of the time.
People can’t be ‘a little bit autistic’. You’re either autistic, or you ain’t. Simples.
‘Well, we’re all different aren’t we?’
Yes, we are all different, but being different doesn’t make you autistic.
So let’s bust this myth by simplifying into a single sentence.
Autism, is a neurological difference.
And repeat it.
Autism, is a neurological difference.
Autism, is a neurological difference.
Unfortunately, there are those who reduce autistic people’s struggles to things that can be overcome or, better still, cured. Some people claim that there is a cure for autism, like the parents of autistic children who genuinely believe that pumping bleach into their child’s bottom will ‘rid them of their autism’. These insane idiots call it ‘a cure’. I call it abuse.
This is the mentality we have to deal with.
People misunderstand. They are dismissive. Or they are abusive. They try to compare their occasional ‘off days’ to the struggles which affect autistic people every second of every day.
Day after day.
Week after week.
Month after month.
Year after year.
Decade after decade.
Until they die.
If everybody were a ‘bit autistic’, the world would be autism friendly 24/7, not just for an hour once a month in participating venues.
If everybody were a ‘bit autistic’, the word ‘autistic’ wouldn’t be used as a insult.
For Example: “Beach boys songs are all just autistic screeching” (Twitter)
Wouldn’t It Be Nice if people didn’t use the term ‘autistic’ as an insult?
See what I did there?
Alas , the author of the tweet doesn’t know that The Beach Boys are one of the most critically acclaimed, successsful and influential bands OF ALL TIME. Obviously, the tw@tspanner wouldn’t know harmonising if it bit him/her on the arse! God Only Knows what kind of crap they listen to. You get me?
Here’s another one..
Jenna Jameson“Meanwhile his legion of autistic, screeching followers make the most disgusting, sexist, hateful attacks on me because I happen to do porn in the past.
A Tweeter replied: “Autism is not an appropriate word to use as an insult. Please reconsider.”
Jameson relied: “I said autistic screeching, stop looking for a reason to be offended”
Jameson picked him up on a technicality, but she’s missing the point, no? Obviously, she didn’t get the memo that it’s OFFENSIVE!
When it comes to ‘screeching’ – neurotypical girls win hands down.
Case in point: Three teenage girls at a well known fast-food restaurant (one milkshake between them)
One was pacifying herself with a massive candy dummy.
One appeared to be auditioning for BGT.
The other was downing the milkshake while the other two were distracted.
Then, in walks ‘Kenzie’ and they unanimously start screeching like bats.
Kenz? He didn’t know they were alive. He paid for his burger, fries and Coke and fucked off out again leaving the three girls finger-drawing ‘I heart you’ into the misted up window.
The point is..
No results for ‘neurotypical girls screeching’.
If everybody was a ‘bit autistic’, the abusive ‘autistic screeching’ meme wouldn’t be ‘a thing’.
“A woman who has Asperger’s syndrome was “forcibly removed” from a screening of her favourite film by cinema security staff for “laughing too much”.
If everybody was a ‘little autistic’ would the audience member have reported her?
Would the security guards have thrown her out like a piece of rubbish?
Would other people have acted like total tw@ts?
She said that she frantically tried to explain that she was autistic but a member of the audience shouted “you’re retarded”, while another told her to “shut up b****”.(The Evening Standard)
FYI, If these things were said after she announced she was autistic – technically it’s a hate incident.
In comparison, those girls in the well known fast-food restaurant were being disruptive. They were playing music on their phones and it was louder than the music coming out the restaurant speakers, but nobody complained. Nobody got them thrown out.
When it comes to everybody being ‘a little autistic, one of the best analogies I’ve seen came from Facebook saying that it’s like pregnancy. Most people (including men) will know what back ache or throwing up feels like. Do we hear people saying, ‘We’re all a little bit pregnant?’ No, we don’t because it’s a RIDICULOUS thing to say!
If you’re a woman, you might understand the resentment one feels when husbands/partners attempt to compare something trivial (like a stubbed toe) with the pain of childbirth? You want to bludgeon them to death, right? Well, it’s like that. You hear someone say ‘We’re all a bit autistic’ and you start looking around for things to hit them with. Am I wrong?
Maybe when people say they’re a ‘little autistic’ it’s because they like the idea of the ‘quirks’ bit? That’s fine, but I’m guessing they wouldn’t want to be bullied for it? Or experience the mental illness that comes with trying to survive in a confusing world? Or the rejections in the workplace? Or the chronic conditions? Or the hostility from the general public? And I’m guessing they wouldn’t want to be wiped off the face off the planet for being a minority group, eh, Jenny McCarthy?
If you don’t know what I’m on about, Google the semi-plastic gobshite’s #endautismnow campaign.
When a person says ‘We’re all a little autistic’ they are either trying to show solidarity or trivialising a someone’s struggles – either way, it’s not appropriate or helpful.
To put yourself in my size 4s you have to have known fear, pain, humiliation and a disconnection from those around you. You need to have worn a ‘mask’ to the point that you no longer know who you are. You will have had two separate eating disorders and numerous episodes of anxiety and clinical depression until you completely and utterly lose your shit in your mid-forties. At the same time, you need to have succumbed to a physical illness that limits your already limited life and will do for the rest of your days. From that moment on you have to try to exist in this confusing world in an even more fragile and vulnerable state than you were when you were heaved out of your mother’s fanjo!
Not all autistic people have this kind of back-story, but most do, especially those who were diagnosed late in life. And let’s not forget those troubled souls who are no longer around to tell their story because their lives were ended at their own hands or by those whose duty it was to care for them.
The problems are not with being autistic per se – it’s more to do with how the world preceives us and it’s about trying to survive in a world that isn’t autism-friendly – such as being called a retard when you’re enjoying yourself at the cinema.
While I appreciate that everybody goes through difficult times (and people become ill) it’s not comparable to living life with a brain that processes everything differently. How can it be? Autistic people are born at a disadvantage to most other people, simply because of the way their brain is wired.
If you can’t identify with autistic people’s life experiences, don’t try and claim our identity and, please, don’t belittle the effort it takes for us to exist by saying: ‘We’re all a bit autistic’.
Remember, autism, is a neurological difference.
Stand beside us.
Stand up for us.
That’s how you can support us.