, 52 tweets, 18 min read Read on Twitter
Hello. Are you #autistic? No? Cool. Now then, here are a few guidelines for how to work, play and live with #autistic people. I hope they prove useful and believe me when I say that taking care here may save lives. Please share, especially if you are not autistic yourself /1
1. Do not challenge or question a person's diagnosis of #autism, unless you are very close and well meaning. There is little more hurtful than this simple act of distrust. /2
2. Do not assume we will have some unusual or special skill or ability. This is ignorant and also kinda silly. Also, don't judge us on this. #autism /3
3. Don't assume that #autistic people also have learning disabilities. We don't, necessarily. /4
4. There is no such thing as 'looking #Autistic so never say we don't 'look autistic'. Seriously. /5
5. Do not expect or demand us to look you in the eye. Do not think less of us if we don't look you in the eye. *accept* that we may not look you in the eye. #autism /6
6. Don't touch us if we haven't signalled in some way that we want to be touched. Even if you're being nice, it's too risky a strategy as #autistic people can be extremely sensitive to unwanted touch. Feel like this is pretty good advice generally. /7
7. Don't assume that all #autistic people are white male children. #autism is widespread across the whole population. /8
8. Allow #autistic people time to think and respond when you ask them a question. Do not assume you're not getting an answer. /9
9. Invite #autistic people at work to speak but do not be all weird and offended if they decline. /10
10. Be cool if an #autistic person leaves a situation abruptly or ends a conversation suddenly. They may need space or a recharge (almost literally) /11
11. Be cool if an #autistic person is unwilling to shake your hand, kiss your cheek, hug you, hold hands... Don't take it personally and try not to get upset. /12
12. Don't demand we eat what you want us to eat. Be accommodating. Don't be offended if we decline your cake or dip. #autism /13
13. Dont stop is engaging in our interests. By all means gently nudge us towards new, suitable ones if you think we'd like them, but don't be pushy! #autism /14
14. Please don't film us or take photos when we #Meltdown. It's cruel and unreasonable. Don't threaten to do this either. Don't tell us off for our meltdowns. #autism /15
15. Please do understand that we will be very stressed, a lot of the time, and that this may be hidden very successfully. This is exhausting for us. #autism /16
16. Please don't assume we have no emotions. #autistic people are actually likely to feel emotions, very strongly, which can be disorientating. /17
17. Be aware that there is a big overlap in the #autism community with the #LGBTQ community and that these communities are pretty close knit a lot of the time, so be sensitive. /18
18. Forgive us if we misread or misunderstand a situation - there's an extremely good chance we're already beating ourselves up over it. #autism /19
19. Be patient with us as #autistic people may be very disorganised, forgetful (almost to a fault) and bad at planning. This does nit mean we're incapable. /20
20. Our favourite interests are *extremely* important to us. Please don't be dismissive or openly disinterested. Obviously you don't have to indulge us but it is nice sometimes, and you may learn something! #autism /21
21. Please be aware that #autism can come with comorbid physical conditions that can mean we struggle sometimes quite badly. These conditions may not be visible. /22
22. Please be extra aware that #autistic adults may well have developed PTSD from repeated instances of advice like this not being taken, and may need extra support and care. /23
23. Please don't patronise #autistic people, it's not nice. /24
24. Don't be all weirded out and embarrassed if an #autistic person talks with an unusual tone, volume or pitch. Just accept and leave us be. /25
Wow I feel like I could keep on going all night. There's so much in my head! Gotta cook dinner though. Be back soon.
It's tacky as hell but I'm only human and life is too expensive so any coffees that are thrown my way would be hugely appreciated. Thanks. buymeacoffee.com/UfTVnRY
Right, where was I?
25. If an #autistic person is having a meltdown, then back off and if you are the cause of the meltdown, back right off. Try to make safe the area but don't be demanding of the person. /26
26. Check in on #autistic people, via text or whatever. They may be pretty crap at keeping in touch. /27
27. Give very clear, unambiguous instructions when that's what you need to do. Make it very clear when something must be done by. #autism /28
28. Don't 'hint' or 'imply' important things. Don't leave #autistic people to read between the lines as that probably won't work out to well for you or them, and we really hate screwing up. /29
29. Sarcasm can be OK in non-pressured situations, but generally may not work. Male banter, mock aggressiveness can be very difficult for #autistic men to negotiate. /30
30. Don't assume @autistic people have no sense of humour. I'm autistic and I'm hilarious. /31
31. Be aware that #autistic people may have a very dark sense of humour and they may use it out of discomfort. Chandler Bing is very much like us in this respect... @MatthewPerry /32
32. Some #autistic people are extremely artistic and creative. #autism doesn't mean science. /33
33. Don't assume that all #autistic people have the same favourite interests. There are some commonalities though. /34
34. Bear in mind that #autistic people may use alcohol to help them cope in social situations. Don't encourage over-use please! /35
35. Your #autistic colleagues may not want to socialise as frequently as the rest of you. They may prefer to have lunch or break alone. Don't be offended by this. /36
36. #autistic people may wear the same clothes a lot. Please don't assume they are dirty or unwashed. /37
37. Please don't sit right next to #autistic people in tight spaces like in audiences, on trains etc unless necessary. I once sat at a Manics gig with an empty chair each side and it was bliss. /38
38. Do not discourage or tell off #autistic children for having fun lining up their toys or organising things into categories. You may not see this as fun, but they do, so back off. /39
39. Please avoid talking of cures for #autism around #autistic people. You may mean we'll but many, if not most of us view our #autism as an inherent part of our personalities and psyche. Curing this sounds harsh. /40
40. Similarly with talk of prevention, treatment and screening. All unhelpful and quite offensive for #autistic people. /41
41. If you are a parent to an #autistic child, please do not disregard the experience of #autisticadults or assume we're somehow 'not autistic enough' to listen to. /42
42. Please don't conflate #autism with learning disabilities. They can frequently exist together, but autism is not technically a learning disability at all. /43
43. Do not change plans abruptly with #autistic people unless it genuinely can't be helped. We tend to mentally prepare for things in advance and a change can spoil and waste that. /44
44. Don't use the fact we're #autistic to try to get away with gaslighting us. This is horribly common and really, viciously unpleasant. We are generally quite trusting of people we know and like, so that can destroy us. /45
The whole thread is now on my blog:

petewharmby.blogspot.com/2019/09/guidel…
45. Be aware that non-speaking #autistic people exist, that their needs tend to be even less well met than for other #autistic people, and that they are liable to be treated as having learning disabilities they do not in fact have. /46
46. Be aware that some #autistic non- speakers are also apraxic, meaning they struggle with physical movements, and may find it hard to control their movements. If they rely on cards or typing for communication, this can make it extremely difficult to be understood. /47
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