When Aspies conform to stereotype…

Recently I encountered two autistic people, in the flesh as opposed to online, who shared such similar traits that I want to comment on them. Although my sample size is small, I have read similar accounts in several places. In fact, they appear as “textbook” examples. Their traits literally appear in textbooks about Asperger Syndrome written by NT “experts”.

I’m just going to list them here, in no particular order. And to add that although my view is that although these “Stereotypical Aspies” may, in my opinion, actually be in the minority, they do exist. I’m a bit torn how to treat them actually. I want to respect their neurotype and way of communicating, but I also am wary of condoning their actions when/if they harm others. In person, I find myself just smiling and nodding while trying to escape from the conversation.

So, here are the traits these two individuals share:

  • Are cisgender, heterosexual males.
  • Are white.
  • Tend to dominate the conversation.
  • Use the word Aspergers a lot.
  • Don’t approve of “PC” language.
  • Tend to mansplain.
  • Don’t seem to realise their listeners are getting bored.
  • Don’t really listen to what others are saying.
  • Talk as if they are authorities on autism, to an audience of other autistics.
  • Did I mention they dominate the conversation? Seriously though, nobody else can get a word in. Though one of them did pause for a minute when given a not-so-subtle reminder by their girlfriend.
  • Appear to be Aspie Supremacists even if they aren’t.

Obviously, a lot of autistics share some of those traits. But this exact configuration is The Stereotypical Aspie. (Though these two individuals both had children and autistic partners so not conforming 100% to the stereotype I guess.) They are why the myths and stereotypes exist. People see them as representing all autistics.

Personally I don’t like the vibes they give off. They make me want to run and hide. But at the same time, they do seem to genuinely want to help others. And they both support Neurodiversity in their own ways. They are just as much a part of the autistic community as I am. After all, I don’t have to like every autistic person for them to be valid!

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Day 7: Anxiety Challenge: Take a long bubble bath.

Um, yeah, it’s been a few days but I’m finally back on track…

If this challenge had come along a month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Our bath had a broken tap for….a long time. We finally bought new taps and tracked down a plumber and now I can take baths again!

I love baths. The hotter and deeper the better. With plenty of Epsom salts. Really relaxes my muscles and eases the pain. Ideally I’d have a bath every night.

So, tonight I finally had my bath. And it was bliss. Only problem is I need to lie down for ages after baths as they lower my blood pressure. But that’s ok, I can relax in bed for a while.

Day 6: Anxiety Challenge: No Social Media

Does WordPress count as social media?! I don’t know. Maybe technically it does. I’ve been trying to avoid social media so this challenge is not too onerous. Not saying I’ll achieve 100% success, as I do like reading other people’s blogs etc. But I’ll try.

I do want to cut down on the amount of “screen time” I do. I do tend to over rely on screens to an extent as they are very good at distracting me from physical pain. They provide education, information, and connection to. But I really need a better balance and to add more activities to my life. I’d love to do more things like knitting but find my hands hurt too much.

I’m thinking of getting back into baking. It’s also something the kids enjoy too. There’s something very therapeutic about mixing and kneading and rolling dough. Plus yummy treats when we’re done!

Day 5: Anxiety Challenge: Play loud music and dance.

This one is great timing too, as on Saturday nights my kids take turns “DJing”. We turn down the main lights, turn on “mood” lights, hook up their iPad to the amp and speakers, arrange the cushions so they are comfy, and settle in. We call it “The Flamingo Club”, for reasons the photo will make clear.

The music may be relaxing “lounge” music, or may be techno, or anything in between. The important part is that the kids get to show us what music they like, and we all have a good time.

So, tonight was a “loud music and dancing” night at The Flamingo Club”.

#YesAllABA

Every time there’s a discussion about ABA, I hear the refrain of #NotAllABA. Today, for example, I read that “…the blanket ‘All ABA is abuse’ is counterproductive.” Counterproductive how? Counterproductive to whom? Counterproductive to what purpose?

The statement that all ABA is abuse is just a statement of fact. If it angers ABA enthusiasts, if it brings ABA defenders into the open, if it exposes those who believe that autistic children don’t deserve the same human rights as other children, then that statement will have served its purpose. It will have been productive.

If it makes even one parent stop and think. If it makes them realise that they have been sold a lie, that “the good kind of ABA” exists. If it makes them listen to autistic people who have written about “good” ABA . If it makes them realise that even reward-based behavioural therapies do not yield good results . It will have been productive.

There is a great irony in making blanket statements about blanket statements.

#YesAllABA is abuse.

[image of a red and blue and white and yellow tartan blanket.]

Day 4: Anxiety Challenge: Get hydrated.

This couldn’t have come at a better time, as I’ve been feeling a bit dehydrated lately. I really struggle to drink enough, especially as I don’t like the taste of water plus I literally forget to drink.

I found a punnet of half price lemons yesterday. And you know what they say… If life gives you half price lemons, make lemonade!

And so the kids and I spent a merry hour today making lemonade and lemon syrup, and learning about acids, bases, suspensions, solutions, and crystalline structures. And my daughter declared she had made “an edible solution of citric acid, sucrose-glucose compound and dihydrogen monoxide.”

And so we got hydrated and had fun on a rainy afternoon.

And yes, those are limes in the photo. We were going to make limeade too but got tired so we’ll make it tomorrow.

Day 3: Anxiety Challenge: Write down 5 things you are grateful for.

  • I am grateful for my husband and my kids. Without them I would not be here today. They are what keep me anchored, present and alive. I wouldn’t change a single thing about them.
  • I am grateful I have a roof over my head. I love my home, it’s my refuge from the world. And given that there is a huge homelessness problem here in Ireland, and globally, I really am so lucky to have a sanctuary here to call home.
    I am grateful to live in Galway, the greatest city in Ireland. And it’s not just me that thinks it! Here’s a lovely little article about why it’s so great.
    I am grateful for the autistic community and all the support I’ve gotten from them over the past few years.
    I am grateful for this blog. It really brings me so much joy.

Bonus: It stopped raining for a few minutes so I actually got outdoors for a walk, and so completed the Day 1 Challenge as well!