Sunday, 18 October 2015

Autism and the Everyday #6

There are some things about autism that are hard to live with.
  It's all relative because, let's be honest, autism is hard to live with.
Full stop. 
Let's talk empathy.
"So, does that mean that he doesn't want you to touch him?"
"Does he hug you?"
"Can he feel things? You know, emotions and such like?"
That's my son being discussed in the above.

Questions I've been asked by people who are too stupid/ignorant to understand 
how painful it is to have to listen to them or to ask them of me when The Boy Child is present.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about autism is the belief that
 lack of empathy is inherently part of the condition.
People with autism cannot 'read' facial cues or detect vocal intonation as easily as typical people.
Often they have a hard time gauging the feelings of others. When this is the case, it may be
the result of a lack of skills rather than a lack of feeling.

Let me be honest here.  I am no expert on autism.
I don't pretend to be.
I am, however, an expert on what it is like to live full-time with The Boy Child.   
He's no Rain Man.
He's somewhere in between.
He's tactile, loving and feeling.
Just like a typical child.
Just like your child.


debs14 said...

How hurtful for people to ask such questions especially when TBC is around. The Autistic spectrum is so diverse and you can't just categorise people with one heading. When I read your blog and also Robyn's it is obvious that although we are hearing about 3 autistic children, they are all different. There are so many social skills that all children have to learn, some need more help than others in understanding what may come naturally to others. It's so sad that people think that there is a typical autistic child with particular traits. Every single child in the world is different, not just those with autism.
Go give your boy a hug from me and tell him how adorable I think he is!

Sian said...

He certainly gives good hugs. I can vouch for that.

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

It seems to me those "normal" people, asking the questions above, must be entirely lacking in empathy and indeed good manners, to do so in front of TBC. And yes, I've been on the receiving end of those questions too.

Julie Kirk said...

Some people could really do with changing their questions - I guess they want to understand / be enlightened ... but those are hopeless dead-end prejudiced questions. They'd do far better with a general question where *you* could decide what to tell them about a specific person, with his own name and personality.

It's like someone hearing the lazy idea that men can't multi-task and asking if your husband can walk walk and speak at the same time.

I suppose it all comes down to exposure to different people. I used to know someone with Asperger's who gave the best, considered, genuine, observant *compliments* - proving he was clearly aware of other people. Obviously once we're more aware that everyone is unique, with their own qualities, we stop rushing to stereotypes. You're doing a great job on that here.

Margaret J said...

Pleased that you have supportive friends (see previous comments) As for me ............ I love him and find him good company and like any young boy knows how to play a trick on Granny. I bet he will remember the 'frog' in my bed - it still makes me smile!!

Alison said...

This is one of your posts that have brought tears to my eyes...I just can't understand how people can think these are appropriate questions to ask you at all, never mind in front of your lovely boy! Like your mum, I am glad you have such supportive friends...I just wish we all close enough to give you a REAL hug rather than a virtual one xx

Abi said...

I'm so sad that people say these things Ruth. I have just started my first placement in a little school. One of the boys in my class is autistic and your posts have been a wonderful reference point for me as a I build up a relationship with him. I just wanted to thank you for being honest and for giving me a better insight into what it is like to live with an autistic child.
You and TBC are both wonderful and I hope I get to meet him (and you) in person one day!

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