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Monday, April 9, 2018

How to NOT talk about Autism

I don't know about you but if I had a dollar for every time I found myself stuck in an awkward conversation about autism I could buy Kiddo his own McDonald's franchise. I don't actively go looking for these interactions but they come up now and then.  I'm sure you have had them as well.

Maybe it's at a family gathering with some well meaning in law. Maybe it's with the mom next to you at the "Back to School" night. Autism comes up and the person next to you suddenly has MANY opinions on Autism and is extremely vocal about how you are doing every thing wrong!  It's especially wonderful when there's an audience of people around you watching this interaction.  Some of whom are equally out of touch with the subject but see it as their chance to hop on board with all their crackpot theories.  Despite your best efforts, the conversation is going nowhere good.

This is when I find myself just standing there thinking "Why did I choose to sit next to you? Why didn't I ask you about your kid or just compliment your shoes or something. Ask about your job. Anything other than sit here and bite my tongue." 

So many of us find ourselves in these situations and we are so worried about coming off badly in our response.  We don't want to offend them or hurt their feelings but let me tell ya something, that's some bullshit. Here's why.  They surely didn't think that far out when they made their hurtful and/or clueless statements. They didn't remember their manners or if it was the right time or place to talk about an already sensitive subject.  For whatever reason, they are not picking up on your social cues and body language that this talk is going off the rails and you are very uncomfortable.

Perhaps they are the ones that need the social skills training more than your kid.

The longer we have been "Living La Vida Autism", the more I have no problem stopping these conversations. I'm not saying you should get up and start screaming at them about how they are wrong wrongness sitting in a box of wrong but I have no problem stating "Thank you but that information in incorrect. I'm sorry YOU feel that way about Autism. That being the case, let's not talk about it. Seeing as it's something we clearly have very different opinions about."   Yes, you can say that to them. I am living proof you won't die if you do.  Look at me, blogging about, all willy nilly.

And that is usually all takes for them to realize "Oh shit" and shut up about it.  Or they stop talking to me. Whatever.  We're we gonna be besties? Probably not, so screw it. Why should I have to listen to a ton of Autism Myths that further promote stereotypes just because I'm afraid a person I can tell is a bit of an ass might get upset if I say "No, I'm not listening to this.".

And yes, I am aware that sometimes these conversations come from people that are also parents of autistic kids. Guess what? Telling them you would rather discuss something else is entirely okay! Seriously, I bet they would like to talk about something else other than Autism. Look deep into their eyes (or not) and just say "Hey, it's me. Same team here. Let's give ourselves a break and not talk about Autism for a moment."

and Dude, if they still want to go on and on and Autism and Autism about it, CHANGE YOUR SEAT. I give you permission to do so if that is what you are seeking.

And BUH-BYE. 


 You want to NOT talk about it? Come sit by Mama Fry. I'll be happy to talk about anything else.


2 comments:

  1. "Living la vida autism" slays me. I don't feel like talking about it anymore either! Great post!

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