Before (and since) I got my diagnosis, I have heard many classic one liners, mostly from unaware doctors and therapists, to explain why *in their totally unqualified opinion* I couldn’t possibly be autistic. Some are funny, some are down-right offensive, and most are– soooooo common!
Feel free to share the ones you’ve heard in the comments below.
“You can’t be autistic because….”
* You have a degree.
The number one reason I can’t possibly be autistic is this: because I have a degree. In fact the more qualifications I have, the less possible it is (in many doctor and psychologists’ eyes) that I can be autistic. I find this deeply offensive.
Yes, apparently, being autistic means I cannot be intelligent or able to achieve a degree from university. Hmm. What about Temple Grandin – PhD!?
* You are female.
According to some doctors, being autistic is a male only issue. This is such ARCHAIC knowledge. Autism is a human condition, not a male-only issue. Plus, err… must I remind you: the most well-known autistic is Temple Grandin.. a female!
* You can talk.
Shock horror, I can talk! Not all autistics are mute, mofo.
* You look normal.
I am not sure about this one…. but I think the doctors are referring to the distinct dysmorphic facial features seen in Down’s Syndrome. While autism and Down’s share some characteristics, the facial features are rarely shared.
* You are sociable.
Lol! This was the most embarrassing to hear. I wanted to scream, “I’m fucking pretending!”, but instead said something polite… I think I said, “mmm well, not always sociable”. Yep, there’s pretense and coping; but there’s also that I genuinely do enjoy some people’s company. I think autistics are typecast as these sad awkward loners, but you know, some of us do make friends, have lives, chat with people. Just because I love to laugh and be with my small group of friends every so often doesn’t actually make me “socialable”, nor does it make me “anti-social”.
* You have a relationship.
I hate this. The idea that autism (or any mental health condition, for that matter) means that for some reason we’re seen as less able or less willing to want LOVE. It is true that some autistics are not interested in romance or sex, but similarly, some of us are! I adore having Z. in my life, and I feel so appreciative of the connection we share. Having a love-relationship matters a whole lot to me, and my autism shouldn’t mean I do not deserve that…
Any more out there?
Share your WTF “you can’t be autistic because…” reasons, and who said it to you.