Remembering How Others See Us

My time is arranged specifically in many ways so that I can manage life in general. These arrangements also serve to keep me away from professionals, teachers, and other people who have been trained to see us as “people with autism” or “defective” or whathaveyou.

Primarily I interact with people who know I’m Autistic, but accept this and don’t make a fuss about it. My closest friends are all Autistic themselves.

So it becomes all too easy for me to forget from time to time that the wider world, most of society, views us very differently than I’m used to being viewed.

I forgot this recently and was reminded so abruptly this week that others often see us negatively that I wrote myself a reminder card:

Do not forget that we live in a world where compliance training is seen as the “gold standard” for Autistic people and nobody wants to listen to us because they think we’re “rude” or “overreacting.”

Controlling and placating us are the norms, not listening and trying to understand.

I’ll continue trying to bring attention to the issues that affect us and to try and help those who want or need to understand, but I cannot forget again that most do not see us as full people if they’re really pressed about the issue.

It’s a safety issue to forget such a thing. It’s dangerous to think that others are listening and understanding when they aren’t.

I need to not fall into complacency (apathy, unconcern) about this again.

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