Because there is so much misinformation surrounding autism, people with autism as well as their families have often heard some…ah…colorful things from oblivious, rude, or even well-intentioned individuals.
You may be familiar with the most commonly said things that we hate to hear: “They don’t look like they have autism/But they look so normal!” or “They’ll grow out of it” or “You just need to give them a good spanking” or “They can’t have autism because…” But we wanted to know the weirdest, most outlandish things people on the spectrum and their families have ever heard. So we reached out and asked you.
“‘What does she do that makes her a savant?’ When I told this young and oh-so SMART young woman that my daughter isn’t a savant, I was ‘informed’ that ‘ALL people with autism have some sort of special skill.'” —Joyce C. T.
“I had some idiot spill a full box of matches on the floor and then asked my son how many he dropped (apparently thinking he was RainMan or something). Without missing a beat, Rhoady said, ‘250, cuz you just opened the box. It says that on the box. Can’t you read?’ I had wanted to slap the idiot, but I was laughing too hard!” —Stacy MC.
(Stacy, can I meet Rhoady so I can give him the epic high-five he deserves for that “Ignorance Smack-Down?”)
“Someone assumed that because I was a little quirky that I was autistic. They’re right! But then they asked if I was smart.
They asked me that in an honors classroom.
I have 103% in a foreign language.
I have straight A’s.
I play 6 instruments.
I’m a great actress.
I got my IQ tested and I’m in the 160-180 range.
So no. I’m not smart. I’m very smart. And very talented!” —Anna E.
“When my son was first diagnosed I was told, “Don’t worry. He is so beautiful no one will care that he has a disability.” —Evie L.
“I was told by a close relative to take him back and get them to diagnose him with Asperger’s instead of autism because it sounds better.” —Jennifer D. S.
“While complaining about a disobedient dog, this person said the dog ‘was probably r******ed.’ As if that wasn’t bad enough, they continued on to say, ‘Well, maybe r******ed is too strong; it was probably just autistic.’
I wanted to punch her, but you can’t change stupidity.” —Darla S.
“The one that was the most silly was the lady who told me I caused my daughter’s autism because I was a single parent. I needed to find a man, get married, and quit work to spend more time with my daughter. That would make her ‘autism’ go away.” —Jennifer E.
“Not me or [my] child, but my brother. A kid at my old school: ‘Does autism make him like, less than everyone?'” —Taylor W.
“He can’t have autism, he is too happy!” —Megan H.
“An Army recruiter called to talk to my son. I told him, you don’t want him, because he is autistic. He could be a sniper, he is a crack shot. But he would probably get the entire platoon killed, because he can’t stop talking, loudly. He responded…. ‘Sir, we don’t discriminate against people because of their artistic abilities.'” —Lance O.
“Some guy asked me if my 6-yr-old was 3. I said, ‘No, he’s 6. He’s autistic.’ He goes, ‘Oh, that’s what it is.'” —Dana P.
“When my daughter was 4, her pediatrician told me he would rather diagnose a child with cancer than autism because cancer is curable, autism is not. She is 17 now, and she is awesome. We do not see that doctor.” —Mandy H.
“‘Why don’t you send him to an institution? That’s where that kind belong.’ A young couple said to me when my little brother and I were at the mall.” —Jenna U.
“I had a lady (I use the term very loosely) actually push her hand into my little boy’s face and say ewww. We were on holiday at the time and he was squeezing my hand and screeching because he was really anxious.” —Sam M. D.
(And yet people think those with autism are the ones with the bad behavior?!)
“I had a neurologist tell me point blank ‘No, you are not autistic, those people are r******ed, and you are smart, and competent. Don’t say things like that about yourself anymore, it’s disrespectful and not funny.'” —Kimberly G.
“My son was flapping, jumping up and down. He was excited and this family said ‘Stay away, it might be dangerous.'” —Mindy E.
While introducing [my] child with autism to [the] school nurse… ‘Is there an EPI pen for that?'” —Patty W.
“As my son is having a meltdown in the middle of the sidewalk at a YMCA, a woman walked by and said ‘I’ve got one of those at home!’ In shock I thought, he’s my child, not a frying pan!” —Aurora D.
“Stranger — ‘You are autistic, that means you can’t understand humans but you can communicate with animals, right?’
Me… ‘Errrrr…Maybe, because I have NO IDEA what you are talking about!’
Seriously, where do people get these myths from?!” —Joely C.