How do you feel about autistic people?

f1r2a3n4k5

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What is this even supposed to mean? "How do you feel about...?"

Life is not all doom-and-gloom for disabled people. It really, really isn't. This is one of the more understanding eras to-date (mileage may vary according to time/place). My sister is developmentally disabled and her school voted her Prom Queen. I was quite proud of the community that day.

Sure, there's still derogatory terms and teasing. There's disabled abuse. Should we just throw our hands up and give up? Nope. We can work to make it better.

Do I worry about my sister? Hell yeah. Do I worry about the autistic? Definitely.

But they're people. Just like anyone else. Perhaps a group of people we should make special effort to protect. Just like the elderly or children.

"Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy." -Proverbs 31:8-9
 

Thaluikhain

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f1r2a3n4k5 said:
What is this even supposed to mean? "How do you feel about...?"
Presumably there was an autistic supervillain that robbed people of the sense of touch when he or she got to close to them.

f1r2a3n4k5 said:
But they're people. Just like anyone else.
Yes. Though, (and I don't know if this is what the OP meant), that affects how we should be, not how we are. You could rephrase the question as "Do you harbour irrational prejudices against the neuroatypical?". More or less everyone harbours some amount of irrational prejudice.
 

Colour Scientist

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CrazyGirl17 said:
As someone with Asperger's (diagnosed by a professional, thank you very much, and back before anyone knew what it was).
Asperger's isn't really a diagnosis anymore though. I think now it's Autistic Spectrum Disorder with varying levels of severity.
 

Thaluikhain

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Colour Scientist said:
CrazyGirl17 said:
As someone with Asperger's (diagnosed by a professional, thank you very much, and back before anyone knew what it was).
Asperger's isn't really a diagnosis anymore though. I think now it's Autistic Spectrum Disorder with varying levels of severity.
Depends where you live, though, doesn't it?
 

moggett88

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I work in a care home for autistic people, and can honestly say they are annoying as shit. I don't know how things are in America, but at our place they are treated extremely well, being cooked for, cleaned up after and taken out every day to do things they enjoy. In response, they make no effort to help, often attack us and are generally anti-social...because they're autistic!

I'm sure people who know autistic people in their personal lives can see past their autism to them as people, but as someone who is paid to take care of them, I can't. I'll do my job to the best of my ability and care for them, but since they seriously piss me off I will never care about them.

Also, just to be clear, the people I'm talking about aren't people in the general population (e.g. who go to school/work with everyone else) and have autism/Aspergers, they're profound cases, often with no ability to speak/understand speech or communicate otherwise.
 

umbr44

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Maybe it's different in America but here in the UK they try and keep kids (with Aspergers at least) in the same class as everyone else wherever possible; albeit with more support.

I know someone with Aspergers and from a personal level I feel mixed. I think it largely comes from misunderstanding towards the condition. Yes the person I know has genuine issues with social norms at times, however, he is clever enough to 'play on it' at other times, and has admitted to doing so. As do the children with aspergers where my partner works.

Let me be clear, I don't feel mixed about the condition, it's definitely real and it's definitely not a nice thing. What I feel mixed about is probably more on the personal level of knowing and knowing of people with Aspergers who 'aren't too bad' but play on it for those who don't really understand.


Don't forget, there is still a 'normal' person there, and normal people aren't always the nicest or most honest of people. Having aspergers/autism doesn't automatically make someone nice and unfortunately people not realising the difference only leads to people with these conditions having more potential to play on it for their own advantage (Not that they all do by a long shot of course). Where my partner works some kids don't go to more than 3 lessons a week because they 'can't cope' and play video games instead; my partner who has been best friends with our housemate for over 10 years now can see straight through it when they're faking, and also spots the real struggles others miss.


Hope I didn't offend anyone, that wasn't my intention (Certainly not saying everyone with Aspergers is faking, merely that misunderstanding gives the opportunity to exaggerate at times and some take it)...just trying to point out that a person with Aspergers is still a person, with the same range of nice and mean people as everyone else.
 

Korolev

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Depends on the level of disability - I know we don't call it Asperger's syndrome anymore, but I don't consider "Asperger's" sufferers to be really "disabled" - they're more a variant of normal, and in certain aspects the condition gives them a benefit. I've talked to many Asperger's people - they're a little odd, sure, but I get along just fine with them and they appear to be as bright as anyone else I've met.

Those with more severe autism - I see them as human beings with an unfortunate developmental disability that hinders them greatly. I still see them as people, though, because that's what they are.
 

Buckets

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Colour Scientist said:
CrazyGirl17 said:
As someone with Asperger's (diagnosed by a professional, thank you very much, and back before anyone knew what it was).
Asperger's isn't really a diagnosis anymore though. I think now it's Autistic Spectrum Disorder with varying levels of severity.
Changing the name doesn't make it any less valid.
 

Colour Scientist

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Buckets said:
Colour Scientist said:
CrazyGirl17 said:
As someone with Asperger's (diagnosed by a professional, thank you very much, and back before anyone knew what it was).
Asperger's isn't really a diagnosis anymore though. I think now it's Autistic Spectrum Disorder with varying levels of severity.
Changing the name doesn't make it any less valid.
I didn't suggest that it did?
 

JoJo

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A saying I've heard on various support forums rings true here: "If you've met one person with autism, that it's, you've met one person with autism." There's so much variation in severity and symptoms shown that it's impossible to judge us as anything other than individuals.

I see the distinction between high-functioning and low-functioning has been brought up already a lot and I agree that is an important one, while some feel it's simplistic or disparaging for those labelled at the more severe end of the spectrum, clearly the needs of someone like myself who may have difficulties in the social world and organisation but can still hold down a job, drive a car and generally lead an independent life is very different from someone who is completely non-verbal or needs to live in a group home. I agree with keeping high-functioning kids in mainstream so they can learn to socialise with neurotypical kids, this seems to be the standard here in the UK, obviously with the more severely autistic if they cannot keep up at-all with the regular classes or are repeatedly disruptive then separating them has to be done.
 

CrystalShadow

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where do I even begin here? My mother was a teacher both in the UK and Australia, and autistic children were just a part of regular classes usually. As a teacher she did have to give special consideration to them to avoid major problems.

But honestly, I find the attitude towards autism pretty offensive. You make all this effort to try and understand 'normal' people, and they go and act as if 'if you only tried a little harder...'

You know what? No. It's not that easy.
Dealing with people is tiresome, stressful, and confusing. And just because some of us can seem almost 'normal', doesn't mean it's easy.

Anyway, whatever. Yes, I know some autistic people can be very difficult or annoying. but as usual, it's the extremes people see, while it's the rest of us that suffer the consequences of people taking these extreme examples as representative.

(and yes, if you haven't figured it out yet, I am autistic. Or have aspergers. Or whatever they're calling it these days...)
Not that high-functioning autism is as extreme as the other end of the spectrum, but these super-annoying people aren't the low-functioning ones. They actually tend to be the high-functioning people whose parents and environment were very unsupportive. Ironically, the more difficult you are about the quirks of autistic children (leaving aside special lessons to help them specifically understand the world better), the more broken and extreme they seem to end up being as adults.

Ugh. I need to get away from this stuff. One of my own issues (online anyway), is getting too emotional about arguments, getting too involved with discussions, and then being a complete wreck as a result.
 

jklinders

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I have not had sufficient contact with autistic people or at least those with significant difficulties functioning in society to have an opinion more specific than the very most general. I do know that it's interpretation on professional basis has changed a great deal since I was a kid.

Lumping all folks who have been diagnosed with it into one group is a problem as many are rather high functioning and you would not casually know that they have any issue at all unless you knew what to look for.

others are incapable of caring for themselves even into adulthood. So no, I have no unified opinion of autistics as a group. How about we instead take our opinions of developmentally disabled folks on a case by case basis just like we should be with all other so called groups instead. It makes life a little easier when we are not carrying bullshit prejudices around all the time.
 

Ragsnstitches

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My only personal experience with an autistic person was someone who could function perfectly fine in normal situations. It was only apparent every so often and issues often fell into the area miscommunication. Sometimes they would say something awkward or I would need to clarify the intent of something I said prior. Most of the time I wouldn't have to even clarify they would just ask about what I meant.

Frankly, it wasn't much different to any other daily interaction bar some very rare occasions. Comparatively I've met relatively "normal" people who were genuinely hard to deal with if not completely insufferable.

I've heard some horror stories involving families with children who were affected with severe autism, where the child was highly aggressive and violent, on top of being very difficult to keep calm. I honestly don't know how I would deal with such a situation beyond seeking professional help.

If you count online interactions (I often don't) I guess I've interacted with more. Most times I don't even know unless it's brought up in conversation. On the rare occasion I find someone who, after being incredibly obnoxious and disrespectful, would claim they were Autistic and then use that "fact" against me to make me feel bad for calling them out on their attitude. That doesn't fly well with me as I'm certain that "asshole" is not necessarily a symptom of autism.

I'm aware that Autism is a disorder that manifests with different degrees of severity. So how do I "feel" about autism? It depends on said severity. Severe cases I have no experience with but I struggle dealing with difficult people as it is I can't imagine a difficult person with a disorder would be much different. Those that know of who I've interacted with are, as far as I'm concerned, perfectly "normal" (normal in quotations because what is normal anyway?)
 

Silence

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JoJo said:
A saying I've heard on various support forums rings true here: "If you've met one person with autism, that it's, you've met one person with autism." There's so much variation in severity and symptoms shown that it's impossible to judge us as anything other than individuals.
This. You can't really feel about autistic people in general, because you probably met most without even knowing they were.

Would be good for people to know what sensory gating disorder is. (Weird, I see the german term "ReizfilterschwƤche" all the time but never read it in english).

As for me: I met one person I knew was autistic. First normal person I met in my life!
 

CpT_x_Killsteal

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Holy mackerel, it's big bird again.

I'm not sure how Americans see these things, but for me it's as follows:
1. Using retarded or autistic as an insult is fine, if you're not using it towards mentally disabled people, because a) they've it got it hard enough as it is, and b) they've actually got an excuse. It's like, if I say "you play soccer like you have one leg", which is clearly insulting your soccer-ing abilities, saying it to someone who actually has one leg just makes me look stupid.

Oh yeah, and yanks, stop calling mentally disabled children retards, that's a bit much.

2. Everyone's got their issues. It's true some people treat autistic children like a different species, and I think this is wrong. They're just weaker in a few areas. If you raise them to act like needy selfish morons, as some organisations do, they will become needy selfish morons.
 

umbr44

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I think one of the big issues for the higher functioning people is misunderstanding when they were children. My partner sees many people who are completely unable to cope with real life and will not manage once they leave school, purely because of the way they have been treated through the school system.

When my partner met her best friend he was to all intents and purposes a social recluse, didn't make eye contact when talking to anyone, got very frustrated and couldn't control his anger etc etc. But over the years, through not being treated as overly special/can do no wrong/will never improve...has gotten to the point where unless you know he has Aspergers, you would likely just think he was a little bit socially awkward occasionally.

Whereas at her place of work, she sees kids with Aspergers being completely molly-coddled and thus never improving, because the staff don't understand the condition. Of course it is different for each individual person, but a rather apathetic...he/she has Aspergers, they can't help it...view is usually taken. Which only leads to these people leaving school having not improved enough to live a successful life on their own.

This can then lead to them being looked down upon when compared to people who have managed to deal well with their condition, though it is through no fault of their own.

As a good example, there are kids where my partner works who "must not be told off because they can't deal with it" and the only reason being that they have aspergers and the staff don't understand it at all and have had no training. Unfortunately in real life that's not going to work, you boss WILL tell you off if you sit around not working all day everyday and by not dealing with the issue at school, these kids really can't handle it. Since starting at her place of work, and ignoring that rule where she deems the child will be okay and telling them off when they misbehave constantly, some of their grades have gone up by two to three letters. She only started in September.
 

DarkRawen

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How I feel about autistic people? That's quite the question you've got there. Let's see...

Well, first off, I actually used to be friends with someone with a form of autism, don't know how severe it was, but I definitely know how I had to adjust the way I acted. Since this was from 5th to 7th grade (which means I was 10 and it lasted till I was 12), I was still reasonably young, and hadn't really heard the term autism. This girl was also not diagnosed at the time, since she would get that in 7th grade, when she was taken out of "normal school" and into a special one, and we stopped talking.

Anyways, I was her only friend, and while she was somewhat nice (like, average, I suppose), she could not take sarcasm and irony, and would therefore hit me (not that hard, but it still hurt) until I apologized if I made the mistake of using sarcasm or if I joked around. She mostly refused to talk to anyone else, and I had to be rather straight forward, if I wanted her to do something or tell her that her parents had called and asked her to come home and so on. I also spent a lot of time learning about her hobbies, and not really mentioning my own at all (that's how I got into anime and manga and stuff, though I probably would have regardless because of my older brothers).

It was... peculiar, and certainly the time when I learned more about how to deal with people individually. She could be rude, very directly, or in a sorta wishy-washy fashion, though I quickly learned to bite my tongue. How I managed to deal with her at all is beyond me, considering the fact that I likely had rather severe anger issues as a child, yet never got angry with her. Then again, all of the issues and so on included, she was still my friend, and we had a lot of fun times. I was never actually told she was autistic and that was the reason she dropped out until a few months later, when I had learned what autism was, and told my mother this girl was one, at which point she went: "Yeah, that's what they found out."

So, I suppose what I'm trying to say with this story-thingy is that she was somewhat typical case of not quite high-functioning (but still able to interact with people, mostly) autistic individual, and that there was certainly a lot of things I had to do to even make her listen to what I was saying, and to ensure I didn't make her upset. However, I'd never consider her to be anything less than anyone else.

Even when comparing the friendship to other people I've met, there's a remarkable similarity in how you have to act, make sure you only interact with some people in certain ways, be direct rather than indirect and so on, if less obviously so. People react to things differently, and the most useful approach is to deal with them in their preferred way. Autistic or not, people are weird as fuck.

However, that said, I also cannot take people who is somewhere on the autistic spectrum serious when they say that they're the "next phase", or, if they have a high IQ, try to use it to say they're smarter than everyone else. It's like, no, IQ doesn't matter that much, it can be trained to increase scores, and many people do that. I've got a reasonable IQ (around 130 or whatever, I took an official one when I was younger because of anger issue things but I can't remember the exact number), but I'd certainly never try to claim that it means that I'm more intelligent than those with a lower IQ. There is a bunch of different aspects to take into consideration, the way you interact with people among those.

TL;DR

Autistic people are certainly a bit peculiar, but so are everyone else, in their own way. The ones who can't take care of themselves I can't actually speak for, having never met one such individual, but still, everyone's a person. Oh, and also, there's no one test to measure people's intelligence, it depends on a whole lot of aspects.
 

Souther Thorn

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So...
My son is on the Autism Spectrum, officially when he was 4/5 he was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. It was a struggle for his mother and I for several years, in his first grammar school classrooms, they had no program for autism spectrum kids so they had him in a 'Emotional disturbed and abused childrens' class. They had a mag-cell in the room for unruly kids, despite our protests he could not be bused to a school that DID have the right program. So he languished with us trying to get through to him for 2 years before we moved to a district that could accommodate him. The treatment that many kids get is abhorrent, I can tell you from first hand experience. The bullying was fierce, the name calling consistent from his 'mainstream' classmates and schoolmates. Thankfully the faculty was top end.
NOW.
To whit, it was a long hard time.
We entered him into therapy (a mistake, doctor patient privilege apparently doesn't matter to most childrens advocates), and it was successful in fits and starts. Eventually we found him a therapist that could work with our family.
Over this time I tried to encourage him to see the humor in EVERYTHING. I'm a comic/comedy writer in my 'not day' job. So discussing and going over the ideas related to comedy were consistent. Why kids would laugh at him, what made him laugh at others, eventually he learned to shrug off the names, the hollers, the insults, and return with something approximating being a wise ass.
NOW....this may sound horrid, and trust me until we talked I thought that it was, BUT.....
We were attending his therapy session, and there was another autistic child in the lobby throwing a fit. Not a little fit, a HUGE fit, throwing himself down, screaming at his parents, striking out at anyone in range. My son looks at me, his eyes wet, I think he's embarrased that this is a kid he's met and can't handle the emotional strain of dealing with this associate freaking out in the lobby. He motions me close, and whispers 'Dude, I might be autistic, but that kid is FUCKING retarded.'

He was 8. He's 14 now, getting straight Bs, and doing well. He's awkward, and when he's called an 'autist' or 'retard' online, he usually responds with 'So? At least I'm not a dumb ass that doesn't know what those mean'. He's doing fine, and I'm proud of how much he's grown.


AS to how we see them as human....how do you not? How do you see someone with issues, silly or humorous or tragic as they may be and NOT see them as human? Just because something can be funny in some circumstances and insults are certainly used to dehumanize, it doesn't make us LESS human, no matter what our issues.
 

OmniscientOstrich

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I am one. Well, Aspergers technically, but same spectrum and all that. I'm kind of in a unique position having spent the first 17 years of my life oblivious to it and under the assumption that I was just like everybody else neurologically speaking at least. So I've been through the whole comprehensive school thing, never met anybody else (afaik) with the condition, never tell anyone IRL that I have it and I guess unless the person is particularly clued in about the spectrum, the outsider perspective is probably just that I seem a bit odd/awkward/reticent without pegging that I actually have some kind of disorder. My life is kind of a wreck at the moment but I think that would be the case regardless of any outstanding conditions, I was fine until the university experience kind of broke me and I definitely have the capacity to get my shit together. As far as autist being a popular pejorative on 4chan and the like, faceless people hurling epithets into a void really doesn't bother me like it used to. Partly because if I'm being honest with myself I make jokes of a much more offensive nature all the time and only really would get butt hurt when the sentiment hits close to home (autist, ******, neckbeard etc.), partly because context and intent are things and they matter and partly because at the end of the day if somebody's calling me an autist or ****** they're describing something they consider an insulting/terrible thing to be, not me. It's their hang up not mine. I guess I'm also the kind of asshole who prefers people being a **** if they're at least being honest over being 'nice' in the condescending stepping on eggshells around me kind of way. If anything's a concern, it's that people end up conflating the meme with the reality; not having any appreciation for the broadness of the spectrum, the nuances of an individuals behaviour/character and thinking that Chris-Chan is an atypical representation of the condition and therefore self-sufficiency and integration into mainstream society is an impossibility.
 

IamLEAM1983

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I'll answer with another question.

I'm disabled, myself. Light Cerebral Palsy, needed some help in making sense of basic math and yet started out as this gigantic uber-nerd for anything related to Linguistics and the learning of other languages, yadda yadda.

How do I feel about disabled people? My immediate and politically correct response is that they don't bother me. Why would they, I'm one of them! I was the kid with the Oswald Cobblepot wobble, back in Elementary, and needed huge amounts of physical therapy and personal training to overcome it. I still ride paratransport vans and see varieties of disability that run any and all potential spectrums. Mental impairments diverse, behavioral problems, acute autism, near-blindness or complete coma - I've seen it all.

Yes, as someone with all my faculties, some cases do bother me. For all of my attempts at being inclusive and tolerant, I still get chills when the mentally impaired guy from my Thursday rides looks at me with the creepiest of Goofy laughs, as if he'd recognized his best buddy in the world. He's one of my mounting reasons for actually getting a driver's license, screw gas costs.

Then again, everyone's peculiar. There's no way I'm not someone else's vision of an unbearably freaky or geeky type, and I'm entirely okay with that.

So, OP, you're asking what we think of autistic people in light of the American perception of autism? I'd oppose a rebuttal and say you're expecting generalizations galore. And, if I may, you describing yourself as a sociopath doesn't really help matters, and neither does your turn of phrase. I'm sorry to say this, but there's a difference between coming across as articulate and coming across as somewhat pedantic. To put it lightly, it feels like you're looking for that Hot Topic badge.