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Eli

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Eli

Does it ever bother anyone else when someone who is a parent, friend, boss etc. to someone with autism is all about protecting them from every real experience a 'normal' person would have? I don't know if that makes sense, but there have been times when I've seen parents of high-functioning autistic kids who always tend to default to,"I don't think that's a good idea", or notions of,"there's some things they just can never do or be." I understand that some part of it may be coming from a place of compassion, but it actually kind of offends me and pisses me off. I feel sometimes like there's this tendency to just reaffirm ideas of 'you're different, you can't, you shouldn't, you're autistic, you're autistic...YOU'RE AUTISTIC, BY THE WAY.'

It's a mentality of "he or she's autistic so he or she can't help it". But people with autism can improve, they just need consistency and acceptance. I think NT's sometimes still think autism = intellectual disability.

I didn't get diagnosed until I was an adult. I tried to get my parents to send me to someone, because I was pretty sure something about me was different and I wanted to know what it was. Know why? Because I wanted a label that I could wear that says,"Take it easy on me". And that would have been nice some of the time, because childhood and adolescence were not a good time for me. But I got treated like any other kid when I had meltdowns, and other kids looked at me weird if I was stemming like crazy, and people didn't like me when I was unintentionally rude or off-putting. And after a while, I learned from those experiences and was able to adapt to the NT world. Was it easy or pleasant? Heck no. But after having been allowed those experiences, it has made the world far more accessible to me, and I am far more capable of adapting to my environment, rather than demanding that the environment be adapted to me. And I don't consider it changing who I am, I consider it to be an invaluable tool that has made life easier for me. I love who I am, Asperger's and all, and I just wish that more NTs could understand that people on the spectrum can learn, adapt and cope with life just like everyone else, and that there's a balance between getting a diagnosis, and building every conceivable crutch to support the challenges that go along with it. It's debilitating, in my opinion. To a reasonable extent, you have to let people go out and bruise their knees and their egos, so that they can grow and learn.

Of course, it is a spectrum, and I do know there are some people who have severe autism who do require more support than your average NT. But I just believe that NT's tend to react to the word autism like it means this person is this fragile thing that needs to be swaddled at every turn. What I'm talking about is a balance.

Does anyone know what the heck I'm talking about? Does anyone agree or disagree?

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Miss Chief

I can't say that I have experienced what you're talking about, like you while I was aware of being different/on the spectrum when I was a teenager, I was an adult when I was diagnosed and I do see the advantages of that, I was pushed to do better when I was young and indeed I did, I do think that I wouldn't have adapted as much as I did if I had been diagnosed and it would be because the people who pushed and challenged me would have probably gone easier on me but HFASD/AS wasn't really a well known thing when I was at school.

However, no one has ever told me I can't do something and certainly not because of my AS. If anything I sometimes feel people expect too much of me, it was known that I had a high IQ when I was quite young (my mum got me tested and told my teachers) and so people in my life be that teachers or family and even friends (although perhaps for a different reason) tend to expect me to do well and manage and find a way. 

I would also say that my AS isn't really what holds me back, yes I am a bit quirky, stubborn and set in my ways but people tend to accept that about me generally, plus I have always has AS and so I have always coped with it, it's my depression and the fact I lack motivation and energy that really causes me issues perhaps my ADHD too, I was only diagnosed recently so I don't know how much of an impact that has had.

I don't really know any kids or parents of kids on the spectrum so I can't speak to that side of things but I agree that you should still push kids to be the best that they can be irrelevant of any conditions that may hold them back. I think that at school I used to do the minimum amount of effort necessary to do well enough so being pushed was definitely good for me ;) 

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Sanctuary

I suppose this is one of the problems with any label / classification / diagnosis. The intentions can be good and in the right hands can be very helpful but wrongly used these things are used (often subconsciously) to limit what people can do. However without knowledge that a person has a condition or problem they receive no support and are often treated very negatively. For example many individuals with ASD which is undiagnosed or undisclosed are unfairly seen as being "difficult", "not fitting in", "stuck in their ways" or "slow to learn". Knowing of a diagnosis or condition can still lead to unfair treatment such as feeling they can't do things. There are no easy answers but it's important that whenever we are aware that someone has some sort of condition it is something we are mindful of and see as a potential impediment or explanation of their behaviour / performance, not as something that sets limits on what they can do. It is used to provide understanding and support, not to hold them back. Even when we don't know of a condition or problem we need to avoid rushing to judgement as there may be things in a person's background that are holding them back - our attitude should always be supportive and to help others towards the best performance.

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