Louden on Autism Q & A: Bullying People With Autism

560 315 Paul Louden

Welcome to the Louden on Autism Q & A. This week, I’m back to answer a question submitted by a website visitors to shed light on some of the most important questions about autism. I receive questions every day, and I want to make sure that the answers to these important questions are being shared with all of you.

 

Please know that these are my opinions and my answers come from my research and my own personal experiences. Of course, each situation is different. All of us as people are different. And no two people with or without autism should be treated the same exact way.

 

This week, I received a question about bullying on the Internet in relation to Autism. Here are my thoughts.

 

QUESTION

 

I am on the Autism spectrum as well. People on the Internet like to say that people who do or say something stupid are . . . Autistic. Personally, I do feel insulted by that. How would you perceive these comments?

 

ANSWER

 

This is particularly frustrating because we’re often struggling against our challenges, trying to be better. Trying to make missteps less often. When it’s used as an insult, it suggests we aren’t good people, when the truth is, we usually are and our missteps hurt us when we recognize them just as they may hurt people we’ve inadvertently offended.

 

So using the term “autistic” as a general insult for anyone who lacks social graces or otherwise does things like that is just completely unacceptable in my book. I take offense to it and it really does bother me quite a bit.

There are a lot of words, historically, that have been used as insults for a while until people learned to adjust their behavior around them. Although it’s not nearly to the same severity for “autistic,” things like the n-word and “retarded” have gone through various periods with the former being reclaimed, and the latter more or less being retired.

 

My perspective is that we should be trying to lay claim to “autistic” and establishing it as an identity. A word that has a specific meaning *we* control, rather than letting people who might abuse it toss it around as an insult, and that ties into part of how I speak about it these days. But in the end, harsh words come from all types of people, with and without disabilities, so we have to focus on what we can control and move forward being the bigger person.

 

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for another Q&A.

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