Autism and Stereotyping: Not Good

One of the things that get under my skin, when people try to stereotype kids on the spectrum. The whole “image” in people’s mind of most kids with autism is what concerns me. Many of the people I encounter that are relying on a preconceived notion of what it’s like to have autism or be around someone like Em.

They expect something and when it’s not a certain way they are confused. It makes me feel like sometimes Em’s not “autism” enough for some as they can’t see it. They see her being social. They see her holding eye contact, or at least appear to. They see her maintaining conversations. They see her thinking outside the box and problem solving. They see her being kind. They see her being gentle. They see her showing empathy and emotions.

I’ve had people ask me if I’m SURE she’s autistic. I actually had someone tell me she didn’t “look” or “act” autistic to her. I’ve had people argue with me why they think she’s not on the spectrum. The only see the surface stuff. They don’t see the hard work we pushed to get her to talk. They didn’t see the tears and breakdowns because she struggled to find words, or used the wrong form of a word. They don’t know the years it took to get her to have a proper conversation or think outside the box. What they see is the culmination of all her hard work.

They don’t see the struggle she has to keep those skills. They don’t see how easily it is for her to lose these skills if she is overwhelmed, tired, agitated, or sick. They don’t see how frustrated she can get if she can’t get her message across with the words she chooses. She gets extremely agitated if she has to explain herself more than once.

She also is older and has stims that aren’t as noticeable. Most people chalk them up to nervous movements. She has large noticeable stims but they usually only come out at home. Regardless, you can’t tell if someone is on the Autism Spectrum with just looking that them. Even talking to them or getting to know them, it may be difficult to tell.

Autism is unique. So is how it presents itself in people. Don’t assume.


8 thoughts on “Autism and Stereotyping: Not Good

  1. I can certainly relate! On days when my boys seem, what people deem normal, and they feel the need to bring it to my attention, I simply let them now it is because they have a warrior momma who has fought for them, taught them and accepted them. Then there are the days people see them in their full autistic glory and say things like, “I thought they were doing so well.” They were and they are . . . Until people let go of their preconceived notions and start learning from those on the spectrum and those who care for them, we are rather stuck with their ignorance. I suppose all we can do is what we are doing, spreading our message.

  2. I just got a diagnosis of ASD on my eldest. The last few years, family was telling me that my kids were ¨not parented properly¨, they were ¨not fit for company¨ and I had ¨better do something about them¨. When we started therapies, they couldn’t understand why, and ¨what good would it do?¨ This month, they are ¨too normal¨ to have a diagnosis, and don’t I think I need a second opinion? These are the same people for each statement, by the way, and the same children in question, though not the same diagnosis. You just cannot please everyone, and in my case, there is no pleasing anyone.

  3. Reblogged this on kraftycatcreations and commented:
    Autism – yet another “invisible illness.” While I have M.E., my daughter has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (along with depression and OCD.) Between the two of us, life is quite interesting! The following post tells of assumptions surrounding Autism – what it “should look like” and the frustrations these perceptions cause. Well stated.

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