On November 20th, my guest Robert Allan Claus III will join me to talk about Autistic Adults Are Not Children. The matter of Autistic Adults being spoken to as if we are children that just never matured properly comes with a lot of social consequences. We get spoken to with that light, cute voice that parents talk to infants or pets with, to make us laugh or not get upset. This is in large part due to the view of Autism being something that is a "problem" that people think they have to help us with. Ableism shows it's ugly head whenever someone assumes they know what help we need and just helps without asking us if we even want their help first. Other times, people assume that because we are Autistic that if they just help us enough, we will do fine on our own. Words like what I just wrote in the last sentence is another example of Autistics being taken advantage of by being spoken to as if we are immature.
Autistic Adults have our own abilities to decide what we want, how we might want things, and what we need to do to make them happen. When we don't know, we might like to ask for help. Whether that help comes from a Neurotypical person or another Neurodivergent person might not seem like it matters to someone that isn't Autistic. However, it can mean a great deal as to what the outcome might be for the Autistic person. Autistic people are all too often the target for financial schemes and exploitation, because people think we will not know what is happening. While some of us may not know immediately what is happening, other Autistic people will. We know what it is like for someone to assume that we must not know how to take care of ourselves, and therefore we are an easy target for the sad behavior of someone who does not have our best intentions in mind. What they do not know, is that once we have discovered a way of defending ourselves by speakin up or acting in a way to protect our integrity, we can be pretty damned direct and make a very strong statement. What is interesting at times, is that when an Autistic does make a move to protect ourselves, many of us have been given a lecture about why what we said or did wasn't right. Yet, what they really mean is that even though what the other person did or said was a terrible thing to do; our choice of action to protect ourselves didn't meet their approval.
I think it is more than appropriate in moments such as that, to remind people that we are Autistic Adults. We can and do make our own choices as to what we will do when someone takes advantage of us. Under no circumstance should any form of violence be considered acceptable. However, if we make the choice to be assertive, very honest, outright forthcoming, we have every right and reason to act as responsible adults. Autistic Adults can and should be proud of our ability to be bluntly honest. People who are not Autistic may or may not choose to take us seriously. Quite frankly, that is their choice, their fault and their responsibility for the outcome.
May you have an Autistically Amazing day.