I was recently in a situation when someone offered me his hand to shake it.  I thought very carefully before responding.  I shook my head in a no. In the past I wouldn't have questioned it.  I would have just shook his hand.  However, I have recently come to a new conclusion for myself.  I don't have to shake their hand.  I can exercise my right of consent to say yes or no.  I can give consent and rescind my consent whenever I wish.

If there is one thing that really makes me angry is when I have given a nonverbal opportunity after watching others do the very same thing, then have a neurotypical give me a lecture series on what is and is not appropriate.  I have had it with neurotypicals giving me their unwanted advice of what is "socially acceptable."  What they are really saying to me as an Autistic person?  As long as the nonverbal gesture is done in a way that neurotypical people know and understand what to do, they are comfortable with Autistics being in their company.  If something an Autistic person does, does not meet with the standards and approval of what is considered neuro-normative, then it is up to neurotypicals to tell us what to do.  That is complete nonesense.  It is an excuse for ableism. 

As an Autistic person, I and other Autistic people have the right to decide for ourselves whether or not we will shake your hand, or accept your invitation to a hug.  We are not puppy dogs who are looking for that rude and obligatory pat on the shoulder to help us feel better.  

There are way too many Autistic people who are accused of doing something, or saying something that neurotypicals find inappropriate or offensive.  Autistic Adults are regularly told that we just didn't mature properly yet.  There are just as many Autistics who misunderstood what a particular gesture means, acted on what they thought they were supposed to do, then found themselves in a court room with lawyers and a judge to pronounce a sentence of house arrest with regular counseling or a term in prison.  If Autistics cannot depend on neurotypicals to demonstrate the proper behaviors that they regularly teach us about; what makes you think that we will just accept an extended hand without any thoughts about what you might be up to?

Autistics have every right to question and decide for themselves what boundaries and consent meet our own feeling of safety.  If neurotypicals want us to shake their hands, they shouldn't just extend their hands and expect that we will just accept the invitation.  If someone wants to hug us, they shouldn't open their arms ready to embrace us, and we are of course expected to accept.   

So, what should neurotypicals do if they want to shake our hands or give us hugs?  Why not just politely ask us?