I thought I would do a list of some of the most common things I’ve been asked by non-autistics, including the odd amusing/shocking question I occasionally receive. Can you add any more great ones to this list?
“You don’t look Autistic”
A suprisingly common question I’ve heard from people a fair number of times.
I’m not entirely sure what they’re expecting to see – two heads? ten arms? I think this stems from the misconception that Autism is a learning disorder and that we may act a certain way. In fact, Autism is a massive spectrum with all kinds of wonderful people with all kinds of abilities.
“But do you feel well?”
Yep, I have genuinely been asked this question.
Autism is NOT an illness. I don’t go to bed every night with a fever or break out in purple spots. However, on this occasion I replied ‘Well my GP gave me some pills to make me less contagious, but I don’t think they’re working’.
“Have you tried not being Autistic?”
Again another legitimate question from someone who was giving me advice when I was looking for a job.
“Can you do this (crazy) sum in your head?”
No. I am not Sheldon Cooper. I suck at maths.
“But women don’t get Autism”
I think you’ll find they do, they just don’t get shown in the media as much as men.
“Do you hate people?”
Depends on the person, but generally no! Autism makes it harder to form relationships, but the majority want to have friends and do all the things neuro-typical people can do. It is not a hating disorder!
“What did you do to get it?”
Another beauty of a question!
I think what this person really wanted to ask was ‘what did you parents do to give you Autism’ but was to afraid to put it this way. Both my parents nor myself did anything. It is widely believed that Autism is genetic. I believe my dad may also be on the spectrum but he has never had an official diagnosis.
“I had Autism when I was younger but I grew out of it”
Not so much a question but this one does stick in my mind. I did try to explain that you don’t grow out of Autism; its a life long condition. You can get better with communication skills, but Autism will never go away.
“Do you think someone like you should really be having children?”
I was shocked too.
Why wouldn’t someone who is incredibly loving, caring, thoughtful and hard working want to have a child of their own? I may struggle with eye contact with strangers, or sometimes not get the meaning of a joke, but I know I will make a damn good mother!