Autism and Us
Here at the Holmewood School, we are always striving to be at the forefront of autism practice. This also means we aim to push boundaries and dispel ideas previously put in place by neurotypical individuals. So we thought we would speak to some of our students about common misconceptions neurotypical people have about autism. Some of the responses were eye-opening, whilst others were simple and to the point. We hope at least one of these answers helps to change how you see autism.
A: Hey everyone, so if you already know us you must know that we are indeed autistic, however a lot of neurotypical people ask some really weird questions.
Things neurotypical people say *sigh*
How would you describe autism?
B: I dunno, I don’t even know what it is myself.
C: I would describe it as me. Me, my personality and nothing else.
D: Every single person has a unique presentation, every single one.
E: It’s just the reason why I’m freakishly smart and I’m not trying to brag.
F: I would describe autism as a bridge but the bridge is in the wrong place.
G: It means your brain is wired slightly differently to somebody else. It’s as simple as that. It means you act in a different way to other people.
H: If a normal brain was like a computer room in an office. Autism is like the backside of a television set or your computer with all the wires jumbled up, but it works.
How long have you been autistic for?
I: Well that’s a stupid question…since the
day people were born. Some were born autistic and some weren’t.
J: Since I was born.
K: For my entire life.
L: A guy actually asked me that once, a police officer, he came to my house for something and he was speaking to me and he said to me “how long have you been autistic for?” and I was like “how long have you been neurotypical for?”.
You don’t look autistic
J: No one can look autistic. It’s a thing to do with your brain, in your head, inside of your body.
You can be normal if you tried
E: Now I’m going to take this quote and *rips it in half*.
H: I can see why this one is torn.
B: I’m not even going to bother to respond to this one.
K: No no, I could not, that is not how it works. For example, you don’t have any legs? Well you could walk if you tried.
N: If I stopped trying to be normal, you’d see how much of this is a ruse. I’m like an onion, layers and layers of fakery before you get to the middle and realise it was never an onion, but really a banana and the banana has an even smaller banana inside it, like Russian dolls of autism.
O: Haha, no way.
P: There’s no such thing as normal to be honest.
Autistic people can’t feel empathy
Q: I’m autistic and I feel empathy.
H: Well, I mean, we may not have the best grasp of it but we definitely feel empathy.
P: I think it depends on the person.
B: I can, but I feel empathy better with animals because pe
ople don’t tell me that they’re upset, so I don’t understand.
G: Now, just because I’m autistic doesn't mean I’m super different to you. Autistic people can definitely feel empathy. If anything I think I feel more empathy than a lot of neurotypical people I know do, so I find this to be very incorrect and another stereotype people create about autism.
I know someone who is autistic, you’d get on well
C: Autistic people aren’t like magnets, we don’t just attract immediately.
L: What I say to that is that people assume that just because someone thinks similarly, doesn’t mean they are going to get on well.
A: It’s like saying to you “oh my god, you’re neurotypical, my mum is neurotypical, you two should get along very well. No”.
Would you cure your autism if you could?
J: Of course not. Besides, autism isn’t just like an addition, it’s just like you.
F: No, what the hell?! It’s like changing the way I am. I can’t imagine myself changing anything about myself because I wouldn’t be myself. Like even the sha
pe of my nose or the shape of my pupils.
K: No. Would I cure my OCD? Yes. My dyspraxia? Yes. Would I cure my autism? No.
P: No, although it has its downsides. I wouldn’t because it makes me do a lot of things I wouldn’t if I wasn’t autistic.
H: No, I wouldn’t cure my autism if I could. I mean would someone take away what makes them them? I don’t think so.
Hopefully you are able to take away some interesting insights into autism, its vastness as well as how distinctly personal it is to each individual. Some of these responses even surprised our staff and have helped to further shape best practice at the school. Stay tuned as in our next post, we will be speaking to our students about stimming, what it is and why people stim.