Sh*t people say about autism – segregating imagery.

000imagery

I have to say this first: to the big Aspie/Autism online community that is “wrongplanet.net” –
this is NOT about the perception of autistics who might find society so strange and bewildering at times, that it feels to them like they have touched down on another planet. If that is the way you want to describe it, of course I am fine with it (and sometimes feel the same btw..) But every time someone comments on an autistic child with those words, while they might be uttered with endearment and sympathy, it factually sets these children further apart from all the others. Doesn’t matter if it’s only a ‘superficial absence’ (lack of eye contact, different body language) or if they are very distracted (or stressed) by an overflow of stimuli: those kids are still here, with us. Do not exclude them, not even with words.

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14 thoughts on “Sh*t people say about autism – segregating imagery.

  1. Aspermama

    I really like how you defined lack of eye contact as a superficial absence. Unless it’s someone I’m really close to I try to look at other people while I listen, but I often listen *better* when I’m not making eye contact.

    It is so important not to write people off as being in their own world. I think that’s where a lot of the stereotype about being cold an detached comes from. I read an article recently where they made a point of mentioning that kids with autism are attached to their parents, and it is amazing to me that it’s not taken as a given.

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    1. suburp Post author

      absolutely!! the whole ‘refrigerator mums’ theory has been turned into an absurd idea of ‘ice-cube kids’ . that article would have upset me too. =(

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    1. suburp Post author

      hey, you know.. i am not very good with people shouting in my face or whatever and have been known to just close my eyes on them. it gives me a moment of respite, but it usually has the effect to shut them up too. this said, increasingly people know about the ‘will not lock eyes with you (or not permanently)” of autism but they still assume ‘no eye-contact=no hearing capacities’ . which is so wrong.

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        1. suburp Post author

          my point exactly. i often see this point made by parents or advocates of non-verbal autistics, but people seem to quite generally just assume that they can talk about people who SEEM not to be listening.. (this said, talking about grownups behind their back isn’t actually the best thing anyway, but with kids in education, it’s sometimes necessary to get things right)

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  2. autisticook

    I like this! I use the phrase “off in my own world” a lot but I think that’s because what people have told me from the moment I started reading. I don’t really feel that separated or closed off.

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    1. suburp Post author

      Ha, I think that’s what a good book does to anybody, no? I was thinking of situations where a child is in a group or in class, when he looks like he is ‘daydreaming’ or (people say that here) ‘zoned out’. Well, mostly he is actually not. And when other parents or teachers then talk ABOUT him, I often interrupt them, because I know, he might still hear every word. He IS there with us.

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    2. ischemgeek

      I don’t think of reading a book as being off in my own world. More that I’m drawn into the world of the book. To me, some of the fiction worlds I read are very nearly as “real” as the real world. If an author describes stuff in a way analogous to how I perceive it, I almost feel what they’re describing. I can get lost in literature, and I wouldn’t have it another way. 🙂

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      1. autisticook

        Yeah, I like it too, but it’s something I got teased and sometimes berated for as a child. Because I honestly don’t hear stuff when I’m reading. Like people asking me something.

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        1. ischemgeek

          I used to get teased/berated for it as a kid, too. “Don’t ignore me!”

          Erm, I’m not ignoring you. I’m hyperfocused. There’s a difference. < – What I wish I knew enough to say to my teachers back then. Because, yeah. Not many 7-year-olds can ignore their need to sleep to such an extent that they pull an all-nighter reading, but I certainly hyperfocused past my need for sleep to such an extent on more than a few occasions. To the point that my parents had to confiscate whatever book I was reading that was new to me and lock it in their bedroom for the night, otherwise I’d stay up reading and then be a mess of meltdowns and exhaustion for the next 2-3 days.

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          1. suburp Post author

            oh absolutely, a good book will suck my son in and, as I said above, he has ‘selective superhearing’ so if what I say is not as interesting as what he is doing.. he genuinely does not hear it (mostly). but that’s an active and pleasant evasion shared by many NT kids and adults. What I meant with my comic is the reaction to a different ‘idle’ behaviour – looks different than the other ones, yeah, he is not quite here, comes from another planet, lives in his bubble..etc.
            it just annoys me.

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          2. ischemgeek

            My neutral face is read depending on scenario, as deer in the headlights, bored, or spaced out, so I feel you here. Plus, I usually won’t talk unless I have something I think is worth saying after appropriate social rituals are conducted, so that adds to the impression that I’m spacing out.

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