As I’ve already explored, communication and relationship difficulties between Autistics and allistics (non-Autistics) are not solely the fault of Autistics. Both sides have to seek understanding.
To start with the obvious, understanding of Autistics cannot come from reading allistic perspectives of Autistic lives. Allistics haven’t lived it. They are only guessing about what it’s like to be Autistic and usually manage to completely misunderstand what our motivations are.
I can tell you for a fact that I do not relate to allistic renditions about autism at all. I had to find writings by Autistic authors/bloggers before I saw myself clearly and eerily reflected in others’ words for the first time in my life.
Allistic understanding for how we experience the world and communicate can only come after we are accepted and respected enough to be listened to and believed.
I’ve had an entire lifetime of both being forced and being curious enough to learn a good deal of understanding for the allistics who surround me. I also believe my allistic friends and acquaintances when they tell me about how they experience the world, even when I find it difficult to comprehend how their minds could possibly work that way.
I would appreciate having that same courtesy extended to Autistics, as well.
A small recent study shows a bit of what we’re up against. Based on personal experience, that study is spot on. Allistics often have irrational prejudices against us, based on snap judgments, for things we don’t even know we’re doing.
Snap judgments that are made so quickly that we might not even be aware of the other person’s presence by the time they’ve decided we aren’t worth their time and attention.
Even if we are deemed worthy and human enough for their efforts, we have to accommodate their expectations or the interaction will meet a hasty end.
And even when I’m the most accommodating I can possibly be, those interactions have frequently still involved allistic assumptions and “reading into” what I say, usually in ways that I would never have dreamed possible ahead of time. Thus, I’m blindsided, can’t clarify adequately enough, often end up completely mute, and my entire attempt at socializing is an utter failure.
A quote that I love (and finally found again!) is from the Autistic Academic:
“Few things are worse than being dismissed for something you didn’t actually mean.”
That is how most misunderstandings I have can be summed up.
Allistics need to stop dismissing us for things we didn’t say and certainly didn’t mean.
And they really need to stop dismissing what we have to say just because we’re Autistic. Who better than Autistic people to explain what being Autistic is like!
I do not understand why so many allistics don’t seem to understand that very simple concept.