10 Things NOT to Say When Someone Comes Out as Autistic

I mentioned in a previous blog post that coming out as Autistic can be just as hard or harder than coming out as gay or bisexual.

Coming out as Autistic is hard. So hard that most of the time I just stay anonymous. Below are 10 REAL comments that I have heard first hand when trying to “come out” as Autistic.

Maybe if Autistic people stop getting comments like the ones below more Autistic people would come out of the closet.

  1. You don’t look Autistic.
  2. Autism is just a result of bad parenting.
  3. You just need to learn to grow up.
  4. There is nothing wrong with you.
  5. If you tried harder you could over come your struggles.
  6. You just want attention.
  7. You are just delayed.
  8. Everyone has a little Autism.
  9. You must be high functioning.
  10. Autism is just a different way of thinking. Its not really a disability.
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39 thoughts on “10 Things NOT to Say When Someone Comes Out as Autistic”

  1. Number 10 is an interesting one because from what I’ve seen, that point of view has emerged from within the autistic community. I have never heard a non-autistic person say autism isn’t a disability, but I have seen many autistic people make that claim (or one similarly worded). There are a lot of arguments within online autistic communities over it.

    Personally I don’t think you can make any claims about autism being a disability or not in general terms – someone can only talk about whether their own autism is a disability or not. That said, some people are rather resistant to even that idea. I worded a reply on a forum similarly to that (autism is disabling for some, not for others) and was told by another poster that “No it doesn’t work like that, it’s either a disability or it’s not. Autism’s just a different way of thinking, it’s not a disability”. Unfortunately some people will go to great lengths to try and “prove” that autism is never a disability.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s exactly my thinking. Autism is a neurological difference and it can be a disability. Some people find autism to be more disabling than others, we’re all different so it will obviously affect us all differently. It’s not right for one person to say it either is a disability for everyone or it’s not, it varies.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard 5 of them.

    Oddly enough, I’ve had people take one look at me and say “You’re Autistic. You totally look Autistic.” or “Oh, you’re Autistic? Yeah, I can totally see that.” They actually think that’s a COMPLIMENT and get mad when I get offended by it. Ditto with seemingly standard ice breaker when people meet me “Good God, what the hell is WRONG with you?” (#1 and #4 are foreign to me)

    I’ve had a DOCTOR say that “Autism is nothing more than an EXCUSE to cover bad parenting,” and she was the one who diagnosed me saying “just because I don’t believe in it, doesn’t mean that you don’t fit the criteria for it.”

    I hear “You just want attention” a LOT. Which is odd since they are usually the ones having the meltdown not me – usually over something THEY did to ME. Ironically enough, my mom often uses both the “If you just tried harder” AND “you’ll never be able to do THAT” in the same breath.

    I’ve never heard anyone tell me the last three, but every doctor I’ve seen since I was 3yo mentioned I was “delayed,” but there was “nothing” they could do about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you SO much for sharing Autism REALLY is a continuum / spectrum and I am only one small perspective. That is why we all need to share – so people can understand. Doctors talk about us without fully understanding. It is time we spoke for ourselves. ❤

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  3. Re no 10, if somebody’s legs don’t work as others’ legs do, it’s a disability…even if that person is a Paralympic gold medallist and can run or swim faster than a typical able-bodied person. If somebody’s brain processes information differently to standard expectation, even if that processing is BETTER than average in certain areas, again surely that’s a disability.
    We need to take the stigma out of the word ‘disability’ and see it not as unable, but differently-able.
    We also need to better educate people who think it’s ok to say any of the above, especially from a position of no experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can only say I’ve experienced numbers 1,5,8,9 which are bad enough but the others are absolutely horrendous! I mean they all are bad in different ways but some of the ones I’ve seen you post are ridiculously awful. It just shows that even with the major leaps that have occurred in the autism field so so so so much more needs to be done in creating understanding and acceptance. 😔

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      1. That’s part of the reason I started my blog was because I believe the representation out there of autism doesn’t do me justice, and others who aren’t on the extreme ends of the spectrum; non verbal and savant. The other reason was to get the thoughts out my head, almost therapeutic like.
        The irony though that doctors are the ones that diagnosis. They tell us whether we are autistic without any real knowledge of what it actually means to be autistic!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I want to become a therapist with all that knowledge you and all my autistic/aspi friends are craving/needing. Some people things I am obsessed, but is out of pain and the frustration coming for misinformation. I love reading everyone comments and please let me know if something I say hurts you guys, it doesn’t mean to hurt anyone. I am learning. Love you all.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. It is true. And there are so many Autistic people who can not even hide the ways they are different. I can only hide it for so long before I need a break… just like there are so many gay people who can’t hide their – uniqueness. There are also a LOT of LGBT Autistic people out there. I think it is because Aspies are open minded and more attracted to minds than genders. At least that is how I feel and I realize everyone is different.

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  5. I rarely jump in with a comment, but feeling up for it today. 🙂 I have heard nearly all of these. Been guilty of saying number ten myself, actually…but, mostly, I suppose, to answer to those who would like to pat our hands and feel sorry for us. I never thought about it as a negative phrase before, but, I see where it could be, as it could diminish what we deal with on a day to day basis, which, for all of us in my family, has not always been a skip through the park, honestly. Thanks for a thought provoker. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like this list. I do think my autism is a disability. The only good point is that i can memorize things i guess. But also that is a pain as sometimes my brain just wants to memorize stuff and I don’t want to.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I was wondering if I could post a link from my blog to this post as I have got many of these and I would like to expand on them in a few posts on my blog.
    Would that be ok?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks – I want to expand on these on my blog as well as on twitter as they are very relevant – especially the one about “everyone” being a little autistic!!! My brain is different not the same as a neuro-typical, just hard for them to understand! lol

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is really different, and not easy at all for us NP to understand, and I would add it is not just understanding, it is learning multiple lenguajes at the same time. To understand an autistic brain we need to learn even new feelings, and to relate those feelings to a new language, that usually it’s been taught by a non native speaker. While learning, I often feel I am the one disable. That it’s why I am so happy to learn from you !

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          1. That’s so great! thank you so much. I am going to also go back to posting a bit more from my personal challenges so that it becomes real, while every now and then going back to definitions. Thank you for the comment – so much appreciated.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t think Autism is a disability, but if you put a polar bear in the middle of the Sahara desert and he couldn’t survive it wouldn’t be because he was disabled. Our new artificial world dominated by a species that is entrenched as a pack animal, has been completely shaped to suit neurotypicals, many of these deliberate and especially resultant changes have distorted the world to the point Autistics can’t survive without assistance. Sorry, bad day!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I honestly feel us, I mean NT’s are the disabled ones if we are the ones we can’t understand or learn there is nothing wrong with being different, with feeling different. You are not disabled, you are able to do what you need to do in your time and where you need to. With the right support in the right environment. We are supposed to be able to learn and respect people who need different things than us. And provide a place for everybody to feel confortable. And under tandem that comfortable for me does not mean the same than comfortable for you. Love.

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