, 22 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Do you feel the pressure on you to be more polite, more socially graceful, more responsible, and more "lady-like" (if female/non-binary) stifled your potential? Do you think pushing you to be a multi-tasker and social butterfly affected your career potential?
Do you think gender norms affected you more & played a role in your life path? Do you think your special interests were stifled because they weren't socially acceptable or the amount of time you spent on them wasn't balanced against more socially-normative interests?
Because it seems like my entire childhood was a giant push to make me less like me, but my brothers were encouraged. Dinosaurs and rescue vehicles? GREAT! Sports? GREAT! But when I asked for what I wanted, I got the opposite. Wanted tools, got Barbies and toy kitchens.
I keep rhythm like a metronome. Drumming would've been a PERFECT fit for me for health/neuro and psych reasons: got piano lessons. Wanted martial arts: got ballet. I'm mirror image dyslexic and the clumsiest human ever.
Ballet was a perfect metaphor for the futile exorcise that defined my childhood: I was the child who was always naturally going to move against the grain, out of sync, going in the opposite direction as choreographed society. I couldn't do their moves, and I felt constant shame.
Because I was never going to care about those things, and your push to make me do them only made me feel inadequate, weird, and like a constant disappointment to you.
#TodayInABA All the progress society has made to empower girls in my lifetime is undone for all autistic children as their natural needs and wiring to develop a skill and field of knowledge in a passion are shamed & discouraged to make autistic kids into polite multitaskers.
Know this: getting the autistic kid to make eye contact or tell a kid a joke enough times on the playground is going to never work. You are PERPETUATING THE SAME ABUSE bullies will inflict on your children later. You are feeding them to bullies.
Studies have shown that "low-functioning" (read: obvious to others) autistic children were bullied more than triple that of non-autistic kids, but "high-functioning" (read: non-obvious) autistic kids were bullied much more often than non-obvious autistics.
You might teach your child to pretend not to be autistic, and feel like you've accomplished something. You have. You've set them up for a lifetime of shame and trauma by behavior-training them to pass as neurotypical. I can "pass" for a while, but I can't survive.
But your kid is in danger because autistic people will never become neurotypical. When people can't tell we're autistic, they are more ruthless with their judgement and torture. We have some hope if they are kind enough to know about what being autistic means and how to support.
I will say or do something misinterpreted. I will have to leave or will impulsively lash out in a professional setting because I have smiled through sensory torture as severe as electrocution & it will look like I am unreasonable for having an unavoidable reaction to extreme pain
I'll not understand when rules are hard and when there is unspoken consensus that some rules are okay to break and in what circumstances. My earnest attempt to save co-workers from getting in trouble will be seen as me being "above the law" & trying to make myself an authority.
I'll be too dedicated to the goals of an objective or task force, & my co-workers will not understand why. I'll not naturally navigate the nuances of language or understand what I am expected to intuit. I will send an email and use the wrong words to describe something.
And because I am conditioned to hide the neurological and medical fact that I am autistic, I will have wasted torturous, accommodated years getting an education in a field where I cannot meet neurotypical standards.
I will have expertise and be able to perform a job beyond co-workers, but without accommodations and acceptance of my needs, it is going to go wrong. I will join the 90% of autistic people who have at least a 4 year degree who are unemployed. I will feel it is my fault.
You have conditioned me to believe that I can succeed if I just try hard. I will have tried harder and eaten more pain than you have ever even dared to imagine, and I have not told you about it because you think it's behavioral or exaggerated. You thought you were helping me.
But you set me up for an impossible life because my success depends on your acceptance. My neurological differences are as real as if I had no legs. Your ABA an attitudes are as productive as coaching me to pretend I have legs.
A study I once read demonstrated that 1/3 of late-dx autistic adults had attempted suicide. More than half had seriously considered or planned it. The researchers concluded that it was because of some neurological flaw. NO. It is because we couldn't accept ourselves as autistic.
It's because you want us to be normal. You think normality is what makes our lives better. No. Authenticity, autonomy, self-advocacy, and self-acceptance make our lives better. Get us diagnosed and then embrace the hell out of our autistic identity and needs. Listen to us.
We are so passionate because we are determined that other children do not suffer the way we did. You will never know what it is like to be autistic any more than we will know what it is like to be neurotypical. That's not an insult. Save your kids' lives. It is an emergency.
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