I walked into the vicinity of a conversation that was happening in my local shop a few days ago. The people in there I don’t think are aware that I am diagnosed. I never really mention it much in every day life. However, this conversation illustrated how people thought about autism in general. The whole conversation was about someone going to get a job supporting autistic people. I don’t remember the exact details of what was said but it was all on a negative slant and made me uncomfortable so I got out of there quite quickly after I had paid for my drink. I work so hard to try to educate others to change attitudes but the ones with ignorant attitudes and opinions don’t particularly listen. They aren’t going to be the type who reads blogs about living as an autistic person. I see the point of view from those that don’t understand us and that sometimes fear us but I work very hard to try to bridge the gap of understanding. Conversations like that make me feel like I waste my time. I have always been openly autistic but now I’m starting to change my opinion about that. I know that everyone has a preconceived notion of what autism looks like in a person. I can now see how those ingrained beliefs will make others see me differently even if I’ve let people know me a little before telling them. It makes me really sad that in 2023 people still have to hide who they are in case others have a negative perception of their identity. I see autism as a part of my identity. I wouldn’t be who I am without that piece. I was open about it many years ago back in the early 2000’s when I found out my diagnosis. I never assumed that the same kind of attitudes would still be intertwined into the fabric of society nowadays. 20 years ago I would have expected to be witness to those types of conversations. I thought there had been some progress but obviously I was wrong. If you are going to be doing a job supporting autistic people then you need to not have any of those preconceived assumptions. They aren’t going to help the clients. The importance of having an open mind is key to being helpful to your clients. They get enough stress out in the world. The whole support system around them has to be made a safe haven from that otherwise we end up traumatised (that is what happened to me). If the client doesn’t feel safe then the support provided actually is counterproductive. I was messed up mentally by the system because they made me feel unsafe and attacked for my autism. Then when you speak out they start victim blaming/shaming so that you don’t continue speaking out. I don’t trust anyone and I’m always on edge when dealing with other people. That has left me isolated because others don’t want to deal with that kind of damage in another person.
One response to “General attitude doesn’t seem to be changing surrounding autism.”
Thank you for speaking out against the ignorant attitudes and opinions of those with autism. It is so important that we all learn to see autism as a part of who we are. We can help those that are struggling by educating others on the importance of having an open mind and helping to bridges the gap of understanding.