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Equality and All That Goes With It

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When we talk about autism, we also talk a lot about equality.  We want our children to have equal rights and opportunities.  We want them to get an education that is equal to their peers, by receiving support and accommodations.

Even though my son is categorized as “high functioning,” he will need the tools and skills to make his way in society when he is grown.  His disability is invisible in that it is not easily distinguishable.  It’s my job to prepare him for the world, and teach him social rules.

Equality is a two-way street.  Of course we want him to have the same opportunities as anyone else.  But we also have to expect him to understand basic rules of social conduct.  If he is truly to be “equal” then he must also be prepared to be called out for his actions.  Just like the rest of us.

Just like the rest of us.

Social skills are important, and we’ve been working on them for a long time now.  We work on them because he won’t be wearing a sign around his neck that says, “I have autism, please excuse me when I’m inappropriate.”

Some social concepts that we’ve been working on:

1.  If you bully someone (and it IS possible for someone with autism to bully others), they will eventually stand up to you.  Or their friends will.

2.  If you call someone names, they will usually respond in kind.

3.  If you put your hands on someone, eventually they might get mad enough to hit you back.  And if you do this when you’re grown, you can get in trouble with the police.

4.  You are responsible for your words and actions.

5.  Your words and actions affect other people.

6.  Your challenges don’t excuse your behavior.  That’s why we practice coping skills.

7.  You can’t call someone else out for doing what you have done yourself.  If you shoot a Nerf dart at me, I will shoot one back.  You don’t get to have a hissy fit when it happens, otherwise you shouldn’t start the play-war to begin with.

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When he is grown, people will presume competence.  That’s important because we don’t want people assuming that, because someone is different, because they have special needs, that they are inherently unable to be an equal, contributing member of society.  To presume competence means that someone will be treated as an equal, with equal expectations.  To lower or alter one’s expectations of someone because of autism is not treating them equally.  It’s one thing to provide accommodations to someone so they can complete a task, but one cannot expect accommodations for social skills and behavior, because the golden rule applies to us all.

But we worry.  We worry that he will want to hide behind his label and use it as an excuse for not learning or being accountable.  Temple Grandin didn’t achieve all that she has by waiting for someone to accommodate her.  That’s why we work hard at teaching these concepts, and we teach them in many different ways so he can grasp them.

Yes, it is possible to be autistic and a jerk at the same time.  But we will work our butts off to try and make sure that’s not our son’s outcome.

Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of jerks.  The world doesn’t need one more.

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About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

84 responses »

  1. AMEN MAMA!! *shakes with the spirit* A. MEN. *dances in the aisle*

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  2. yes and yes! I would love for my kid to be treated as equal to anyone, but that requires effort on his part to accept the real world as it is, too. That’s the parent’s biggest job, to socialize the little critters. Hopefully the world will meet him halfway.

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  3. I hear ya! We try to teach similar concepts. The ones you outlined are very important for everyone to know and practice.

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  4. You make some great points.

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  5. good stuff…equality brings responsibility. I saw an article or a interview with Temple Grandin and she mentioned how she noticed the trend in young people to define themselves in terms of their autism. Not their abilities or qualities. All they wanted to do was talk about their autism. It matters how we define ourselves.

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  6. I had to print out your list. We are also struggling with these things, and while I have therapy scheduled and books ordered, this is something that needs to be reminded and practiced all the time!

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  7. YES! YES! YES!!! The world will not bend to his every whim and being autistic does not give him a free pass to be an asshole. He (my kid, I’m talking about) needs to be raised knowing this because coddling him, and expecting everybody else in the world to change just for him, is simply unreasonable.

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  8. LOVE THIS! I don’t want Boo to be a jerk either, yes she has complications but that does not equal excuses. I also love that you know you will win the Nerf war :0

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  9. Love it! As a former special education teacher, I can tell you that too many kids and their parents want to use their label as a crutch. Now, I’m an autism Mommy who strives to build a kid who is equal. Your points are valid.

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  10. We’re in the same boat at our house. ASD diagnosis doesn’t mean “it’s OK to be an asshole.” It’s a diagnosis NOT an excuse. And it’s our job, as my son’s parents, to teach him the stuff that isn’t obvious to him so that he CAN function in society equally.

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  11. We are working on the same social concepts here. Great post – Thanks!

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  12. Perfectly, succinctly stated. No matter how life challenges you, there is no excuse for treating others with anything less than respect. Love it.

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  13. I absolutely agree! We have always had the mindset that R’s autism is NOT an excuse for being rude and/or badly behaved.

    You said it perfectly here: “It’s one thing to provide accommodations to someone so they can complete a task, but one cannot expect accommodations for social skills and behavior, because the golden rule applies to us all.”

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  14. It’s funny how I just read an article about this same topic on another site just yesterday. No one has an excuse to be a jerk. I try to teach my son this point all the time. He has trouble remembering that sometimes when someone has a problem with him it’s because he is being annoying first! Thank you for reiterating the fact that everyone should have good manners.

    april

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  15. It is one thing to make sure your son is not being rude to people. But I warn you not to go a step further and force him to conform to all the arbitrary nuances that NTs may expect from him. Because it takes far too much energy and strain to fake NT on a daily basis, and it has done a lot of damage to autistic people’s confidence and self-esteem.

    If you are going to use social skills workbooks, I would go for Jed Baker rather than Michelle Garcia Winner. He shows his autistic clients far more respect, and refrains from condescending them or meddling into their choices whether to conform or not.

    Most of all, definitely give your son the opportunity to interact with other autistics (both children and adults) so that he can be part of the autistic community.

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  16. I am SO with you on this one! Too bad the message is sometimes lost or distorted. Autism is not an excuse. Understanding is one thing but to get respect, you have to give it too.

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  17. You really don’t get it do you?

    Equality and equity are not the same thing. If Jane has four sweets, and John has ten, then if we expect them to part with two each, Jane still has far less than John for all that our expectations were identical, and that’s not fair to Jane, she is not being treated as equal at all.

    Accommodations doesn’t mean lowered expectations, it means allowing for deficits in ways that help us. An example would be friend’s remembering I am faceblind and thus not getting angry if I fail to recognise them, or remembering that I don’t require a social excuse for saying no, just a simple no will do.

    Accommodations are not “hiding behind a label”, you can “teach” someone with autism all you like, but they will NEVER have a allistic person’s easy instinct for social interactions.

    To be blunt, Allistic people constantly accommodate allistic people. The only difference is an autistic person needs slightly different accommodations.

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    • Maybe I get it more than you do. Sometimes people can’t see the forest for the trees. Also, too much candy will give you cavities.

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      • Wow, way to shut down a conversation by being rude right off the bat. I think the point was, society does not make allowances and she is preparing her son for the real world. That is the real reality. And best go with the sugar free sweets, cavities are no fun.

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      • No, you don’t get it, because you confuse different accommodations with lesser expectations, and are actually being very unfair to your son by doing so.

        The point is no matter what Jane and John have, if Jane starts with LESS, Jane will still have LESS if we expect her to give up the same as John. That is an inequitably expectaction pretending to be equality.

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        • You know, Dawn. The other thing I’m teaching my son that may benefit you is the concept that LIFE ISN’T FAIR. But you can’t sit and wait for the world to change for your needs, you have to find a way to make your own way in the world.

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          • Doesn’t mean we can’t expect better. Contrary to what you seemingly think, the world being full of bigoted people doesn’t mean it can’t change. The world changes, and it is up to autistic people to stand up and expect equal treatment, actual equal treatment, not bigotry dressed up as equality by people who have biases.

          • My post was about preparing my son for the world. You should read it again instead if reading things into it that aren’t there. Also, have some cake.

        • Ummmmm, no. Still with the rude beginnings I see. I don’t see any of us being unfair to our children. What we are doing is simply giving them the skills to survive in society. My son may have less now but I expect he will have more with my guidance. Something I think you may want to ponder.

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          • Oh hey, look it’s an allistic parent demonstrating exactly why “equal” expectations are never equal and how privilege functions to mask it when one doesn’t check said privilege and recognise the obvious.

            Seriously, if it was any more obvious as to how problematic this shit is from the responses? It would be reading over your shoulders.

          • Your propaganda and catch phrases of “privilege” and “allistic” don’t work here. My son is capable of learning right from wrong and what is expected, and he will be taught those things. I would never lower my expectations to enforce a pity party. You should stop bullying people. After all, you came here, didn’t you?

          • So..what’s wrong with my son being born with two less of whatever and working like crazy to make up that defecit? What’s wrong with me knowing that the world isn’t going to be fair, but helping him to get to the best place he can be when he enters that world?

            Expecting the world to constantly accommodate my son when he can learn, when he can grow, only disables him more. I can expect him to be HIS best. I am his parent. It’s my job to prepare him for the world.

            And I keep getting called a bigot for expecting my kid to be awesome. I don’t get that.

    • confessionsfromhh6

      There are certain rules that everyone needs to learn whether they are autistic or not. Like it’s not cool to go around calling everyone you see “fuckface.” It’s just rude no matter how you slice it. It’s not conforming. It’s called manners, and I’d teacher them to my children autistic or NT.

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      • I agree. And also, I agree that accommodations are not “hiding behind a label,” I don’t want my son to grow up believing that the world will bend for him because he is autistic. That’s not what accommodations are for.

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      • Another Allistic parent who doesn’t get it.

        Let me be very blunt, the majority of the time when Autistic people including your son are deemed “rude”, it doesn’t actually mean they were rude, it usually means “You aren’t allistic/you’re different to the rest of us”.

        Contrary to what people apparently think, the vast majority of autistic people don’t go around calling people names. But the following can and often are considered rude: “stimming”, “wrong” tone of voice, being obviously different, failing to adhere to quite frankly ludicrous customs that are simply confusing, not allowing one’s self to by bullied by allistic people, asserting oneself, I could go on. You’re all pulling it now, I challenged your assertions so was labelled rude, and responded to with bullying.

        In short, you all can’t see the problem, because you’re all prime example of it, the kind of people who do the most HARM to the children you would champion.

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        • Well I’m afraid you are mistaken, because I am autistic. Perhaps an autistic with a more realistic view of the world.

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          • I was talking to confessions.

            As for you having autism That doesn’t magically mean you can’t be ignorant, offensive or otherwise misinformed.

            Quite frankly, you’re being rude, condescending and harmful to other autistics.

          • Quite frankly, I won’t be bullied to adhere to your narrow views. If you don’t like my post, click the “next” button. There are other fringe advocates out there that will welcome your hostile views with open arms.

          • Oh my gosh, the irony here is just amazing.

        • You didn’t just challenge the assertions – you came across as being very rude, actually. There was no easing into your statement. It was just BAM. I’m curious: do you have children? The reason I am asking is because often times adult autistic advocates without children have a completely idyllic view of how children should be raised – much like “allistic” people without children.

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          • Oh hey look, the EXACT fucking problem I’m talking about. Gee, I wonder if when your kids grow up and encounter people just like you with the same assumptions and thoughts, you’ll finally twig when you see it from the other side.

            I have raised kids. I don’t have an idyllic view of child rearing, but I do see clearly what you don’t, and that’s the need for allistic and very high functioning parents to listen to something other than their hug box sometimes. Of course we never get that, quite frankly if your kids talked to you the way you’ve talked to me, you’d pretty much be beside yourself with outrage.

          • Why are you here again?

            You are perseverating on your misrepresentation of my post. You can see no one is buying it. Your bullying isn’t working.

          • What are you talking about? If my kids spoke to me the way I spoke to you, I’d be THRILLED. Seriously. You have no idea.

        • confessionsfromhh6

          See, Dawn, you’re wrong again. I make many accommodations. Many social conventions aren’t that important in the grand scheme, and can be overlooked. Eating with ones hands because silverware is too hard to navigate, stimming, tone of voice, needing to have ear buds to listen to music, etc. And there are some basic manners that EVERYONE needs to know, like please, thank you, and I”m sorry.

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          • No, you probably only make the accommodations you understand or realise that are needed. When you don’t realise they’re needed or don’t think they count as accommodations, well we can see from this conversation what happens.

          • Nothing you say will make us sell our kids short. No amount of trolling or bullying will make us stop teaching them.

        • You’re kind of rude. What if I said “another autistic non parent who doesn’t get it,” do you think it would spur intelligent, rational discourse? No. It would not. But I would never say that.

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          • I’m responding to rude and hurtful posts, and you’re tone policing which is rude as hell.

            I’m gonna be blunt, there was no possibility of intelligent rational discourse here, because the same reasons that make this post and the replies to me so problematic are exactly why intelligent rational discourse was never in the cards.

          • YOU are tone policing me. You have engaged ME. I have responded, and you didn’t like my tone. Stop bullying and tone policing me, and trying to make it about you. It’s sad, what you’re doing.

      • I fail to see how it is bullying, or doing anything other than PARENTING our children when we teach them basic social norms. After all, they are norms – accepted practices. For example, someone sneezes, and we say “bless you.” This is not allistic power or anything of the sort. If the child is capable, this is what is accepted. Autistic or Allistic. Point blank. It has nothing to do with starting out with less.

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        • What was said was you are bullying me, the replies have been hostile from the get go, if even I’m picking up on it, you’re being nasty. Typical, half read what is said, get it wrong, but plow on anyway because in a world of people like you, you don’t expect to be wrong.

          Except “social norms” aren’t so basic, or so simple. Your example is just the tip of the ice berg. There’s a whole wealth of stuff behind it that you probably don’t even think about. Underlying social norms are often a whole subset of shifting ideas that even allistic folks cannot articulate because typically they don’t have to think about how they know X action works in Y situation but not in Z, because they understand the difference between Y and Z situation, whereas an autistic may not because Y and Z are identical unless you know the unwritten information that differentiates between them.

          Again, I was addressing a very specific point, often for autistic people, our difference is picked up upon on a subconscious level and we’d judged far more harshly for it. I don’t see many autistics accused of being rude for not saying “bless you” when someone sneezed, but I do see us often screamed at for stimming, for not understanding something that was never said, for having the “wrong” tone of voice, hell apparently it’s possible to be rude by not meeting someone’s eye, and you should have some idea how overwhelming and difficult that is for an autistic.

          This whole post is problematic because of the assumptions and ignorance behind it.

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          • Again, if you don’t like my post, why are you here, if not to stir up things and bully me with your opinions? Just because you see it that way, doesn’t make it factual or right. Nobody here is talking about punishing for stimming, that’s your own baggage you’re reading into it.

          • Dawn–I think you need to look inward at where the assumptions and ignorance is coming from.

  18. This is exactly what equality means. Equal rights AND responsibilities. You don’t get one without the other – at least, not in my household.

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  19. I’m pointing out that it isn’t as easy “teaching manners”. Superficially yes, realistically -No-.

    Because what society deems polite requires a complex understanding that even the most highest functioning autistics cannot mimic 100% or 100% of the time.

    Firstly, you are feeding directly into the idea that autistics are second class citizens without the right to define our viewpoint and understanding for our selves, because under this kind of thing what is rude/the standard is defined only by society and not by us in concert with society.

    Secondly, To champion the idea that society should not have to accommodate us and that it is solely our responsibility to accommodate it? You’re basically justifying society being rude. Everyday people accommodate those who are like them, it’s part of manners to accommodate others, most people don’t even realise that they’re doing it with those like them because it’s inbuilt and instinctive, the only difference is autistic people need different accommodation so that requires actual thinking rather than operating on instinct.

    Thirdly, you’re ignoring the very real fact that much of the time autistics are deemed “rude” typically they aren’t being rude. They’re just being autistic and visibly so. By doing so, you’re perpetuating a very harmful idea, ie that we need to take the blame regardless of whether society is angry at us for being different or for actually being rude. It’s very easy for “you need to be responsible for yourself” to tip over into “you need to accept the blame without questioning” which can really mess up autistic people and let’s others take advantage.

    Fourthly, you’re ignoring the difference between treating people the same and equality. If we take fifty people, and ten of them are blind? Then we give them all written brochures, it is treating them the same but it is NOT equality, the ten blind people CAN’T read the brochure, they need one in Braille.
    An equal society does not treat people exactly alike because equality doesn’t mean the same treatment, it means treatment that is equitable. Which means taking strengths and weaknesses into account.

    Fifthly, you’re treating “hiding behind a label” as if it’s an actual thing, a very problematic thing. Funnily enough nobody argues that crap for any other condition, use a wheelchair? Nobody argues not walking upstairs is hiding behind the label. But with anything like autism, people readily argue against even the most basic accommodation and label even just admitting to being autistic as “hiding behind a label”. Ergo, it’s a harmful assertion.

    Sixth? You’re ignoring that different people have different levels of function, and may vary from day to day. There is only so much you can teach to compensate for lacking or even entirely missing skills, I for example will never be any less faceblind. There is no way I can master the social skills that require facial recognition, it is impossible and there are autistics who have a greater deficit than me out there. Some can’t even recognise a face.

    Basically the problem is your post touches on a very complex issue in a very superficial way without considering the complexity.

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    • How are you not treating autistics like second class citizens when you say that we shouldn’t TRY to help our kids understand the world better? That we shouldn’t expect our kids to be nice, well mannered people? I get that there are times where my son is going to come off like a jerk, and be misunderstood, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t expect him to TRY to be nice.

      I think you’re forgetting, too, that this blog is written by a mother who is autistic. You don’t think she gets it?!

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      • Nobody said you shouldn’t try to help. The problem is what is here isn’t the balance needed. It relies on a faulty premise that will do more harm than help. That premise being an unequal level of effort.

        You shouldn’t just expect things of your son, you should expect things of society and encourage him to expect them. Things like dignity, respect, equality, and basic human consideration. Society accommodates allistic people all the time, accommodations for being allistic are built into society at a sub level.

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        • So I should expect things of society but not my son? Sorry, but in the real world there will be expectations out on him. I don’t think it’s equality to not have expectations of someone because they’re autistic.

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          • Are you reading what was written? Or just skimming?

            I said, they shouldn’t JUST expect stuff of their son. I never said they shouldn’t expect stuff of him.

            What you are arguing though is that it should be one sided. That society should not try or be expected to try to accommodate us as it accommodates everyone else. That is not equality.

          • You should go back and read some of my other posts that talk about accommodations at school. You thought you would read one post and surmise to know the entirety of my thoughts, feelings, and approaches? You have really labeled me here. It’s very biased.

    • You should maybe start your own blog instead of taking up space on mine.

      If my son was in a wheelchair and he said “I can’t play PE because I’m in a wheelchair,” I’d say “no way” and we would make accommodations so he could play.

      But really, if you are expecting all of society to simply roll over and dismiss rudeness, you are going to spend your life sorely disappointed. You are perfectly capable of a mature conversation, yet you CHOSE to start your comments here with “you really don’t get it, do you?” You may expect me to excuse your hostility and rudeness because of autism, but that’s not going to happen.

      You have misread, misinterpreted, and outright bullied me here. You’ve employed a number of logical fallacies here. As I mentioned before, it’s not going to work. My blogging will continue. My commitment to raising my son to be able to get by in the world will continue.

      But you? You will stay stuck right where you are.

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      • I have a blog.

        False analogy. It’s perfectly possible to do PE in a wheelchair. A wheelchair is not an inherent problem in sports. Also a wheelchair is something that enables, it is not the same as the disability.

        Think about it more like this. If your son was in a wheelchair, would you meekly accept if society felt his wheelchair was inherently rude? or if society demanded that he not use it because it’s “hiding behind a label” or “being lazy”, would you want him to accept societies expectations for using it or for him to use it in the way that helps him best?

        If society deemed that using a wheelchair was the height of bad manners, would you encourage a child who needed one not to use it and to be immobile just to meet societies expectations? Would you burden that child with societies expectations and responsibility for said expectations?

        Yet, how are “manners” any different when one considers that what society deems manners are as much about how other perceive something as about what any autistic person does.

        You’re being really rude in response to exasperation. This isn’t the first time you’ve opened your mouth and inserted foot.

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        • Look how unkind and aggressive you are. It’s not flattering.

          You are still missing the point.

          If my son doesn’t learn to keep his hands to himself, he will likely be arrested as an adult. He must learn to control him impulses. And I will keep teaching that. If he doesn’t learn to not call names and say rude things, he will bring invite aggression from others. These are things he must learn, and I will not refuse to teach it because he is autistic.

          You should really be ashamed of yourself for the way you are bullying me on my blog. This trolling is really unflattering, nor does it help make your point.

          I hope someday you are able to see the flaws in your logic. Maybe if you keep reading you will slowly come to understand what it means to be equal, and how devoted we are to helping our children achieve all that they can.

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          • I am being much nicer than I really feel like being given what you are pulling.

            And you are missing mine, I get yours, I can just see the whooping problem in it that you can’t.

            Nobody is saying you shouldn’t teach your son. But that you shouldn’t expect it only from him. Society accommodates everyone else, it should accommodate him in some ways.

            You wouldn’t expect your son to magically jump out of a wheelchair and walk if he had something that meant he couldn’t walk. You’d expect him to use the wheelchair and you’d campaign for places to have ramps so he could take his wheelchair with him. So why do you think he shouldn’t get the social equivalent of a ramp should he need it?

            Would you expect your son to tolerate and apologise for rudeness from others over his condition? Because he will face that and he will need to know when to say “sorry” and when to realise that he is owed the sorry, or is dealing with someone who is an ass. Your post doesn’t allow for that.

            No, you should be ashamed, and that last paragraph of yours is exactly what you should take to heart for yourself because you don’t get equality.

          • Thank you so much for coming by to make sure that I was doing due diligence as a parent. Rest assured, friend from the mother country, that I am teaching my son all the things he needs to know. And so much more!

            We will pass on the need for a ramp, because my son is going to really know what equality is. I’m sorry that you didn’t get that from your childhood.

            Remember though, this is my page. There are rules of conduct and you may not bully, berate, or badger others. Please keep the rules in mind or you will not be allowed back.

            I hope the weather is nice in England and the chips are crispy. Have a good night now.

        • You have a blog? Why do you come here and not link your blog to your name so we can go read what you write? Perhaps you would not like us returning the favor. In light of this post and everything younare preaching, I find it highly ironic.

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    • Do I understand correctly from your posts that “Autistics” and “Allistics” need to live under a different set of expectations, or rules, not just accommodations?

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    • Dawn, I agree that society is totally screwed up, and that really, most of the difficulties my son faces (through his autism) are really due to a society that is extremely intolerant of any kind of differences. I totally agree with you there. So, I feel it is my job to accommodate him however I can. Yes, you are right. I accommodate him the way I have learned to do, through watching and observing him, and more recently, now that he can talk, through listening to him. I try to get him to share his feelings with me and he has learned that I will talk to the school or pull him out of Sunday school or even change therapists, etc. if something is not working for him or he is uncomfortable. Sure, there are probably a bunch of accommodations I don’t make because unfortunately, I am not a mind reader. Oh, how I wish I were.

      I would love it if society would change, become more accommodating and accepting of all people who are different, and I am doing what I can to make my little part of the world a bit more understanding. I’m trying to educate people. However, that being said, I think it would be a disservice if I didn’t teach these social mores and norms to my son. I disregard the ones I feel don’t matter. I don’t expect him to say “I love you” to me or to hug his relatives. I don’t make a big deal out of making eye contact or using a different cadence (though his SLP wanted to work on that, which is when we switched to a different one). BUT, I make him say sorry when he’s made a mistake and I try to help him understand why what he did was wrong. Is it working? I don’t know. But I do know that he’ll never hold a job or make friends if he doesn’t apologize when he has physically hurt someone. In fact, he could end up in jail.

      I also am teaching him to not undress in public, for those same reasons. This is why I am teaching him alternative ways to deal with anger or frustration. While it would be great if society were more understanding, if I could trust that a police officer wouldn’t beat the crap out of him (or even shoot him) if he makes the wrong move, that is not reality. Sadly. So, I feel that the things I am teaching him are for his own protection. I guess you can disagree, and I am the first to admit I am no expert on parenting, let alone autism parenting. I really wish I had more answers or that I could move to a place where people really understood and accepted everyone, especially my son and the other kids with autism I know.

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      • Nobody is saying that people shouldn’t try to teach autistic children manners or to understand the world better.

        The problem is some of the things that are being taught along side and assumed in this post.

        Such as the idea that it is possible to “hide behind the label”, and that any request for accommodations is somehow a bad thing. This kind of thing can do a number on the self confidence of autistic people. It’s hard enough to be responsible for yourself, without being responsible for everyone else’s assumptions and that’s what happens when the ideas espoused in this post are fed.

        It’s really hard for many autistics to ask for help, posts that put the onus on us to be supercrips and not ask don’t help.

        It’s really hard to many autistics not to take societies bigotry to heart, this post puts pressure on autistics to do just that.

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        • I have personally met people that do hide behind the label. So you can’t really dictate my experience or perception.

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        • Dawn–

          I know someone who “Hides behind the Label”– alternately using Autism as a Sword when that person wanted to attack people, defame them, and unjustly called them bigoted in a very public forum– then used as a Shield to avoid accountability, and responsibility when criticized and called out for being a total dick.

          Sound like anyone you know, or wish to be friends with?

          Should that type of “bad internet citizen” behavior be “accommodated”, or otherwise justified by their disability, or inability to “get” social norms?

          Reply
  20. Oh, interesting! I’ve been having an ever evolving opinion on the different elements of accommodation vs erm… idk, I guess “remediation” and your post here, along with its comments, really brings up some interesting stuff to ponder.

    I’m kind of ambivalent, here. I grew up really never intending to be rude or obnoxious, and I was confused, heartbroken, and embittered for a long time because people, almost always adults, almost always my friend’s parents, disliked me and clearly thought I was a jerk. Had I not gained some perspective, I could probably feel the way Dawn feels, actually.

    I look at your list, and I didn’t master all these social concepts by adulthood. Nobody bothered to make sure I did. Nobody thought they had to, so no hard feelings, but what a difference it would have made. So on the one hand, I’m uncomfortable with the “autism is no excuse” idea, because I think some people are just not equipped with the skills to behave appropriately. On the other hand, this post outlines how to encourage these skills! The key is clarity and then accountability, for sure.

    And it doesn’t matter how accepting and genuinely “accommodating” people can be in regard to social conduct- people will pull away, to protect their own emotional energy, often out of necessity. Excusing inappropriate/mean/inconsiderate behavior does no one any favors. So, yuh. I agree. 🙂

    Reply

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