Autism Community: What is Politically Correct? How do I Not Offend Someone?

This goes along the same lines as my last post, where I feel people need to stop being so childish… how do I talk about Autism without offending someone?

I’ll give you some examples… when I talk about Autism being a source of strength, something to not just overcome, but to master and use as a way to make yourself even better, I get attacked by those who have a loved one with Autism that is unable to speak, hurts themselves, will never move out on their own and never really have a life of their own.

On the other hand, if I try to speak up for those people and help people see just how ugly Autism can be, how stressful and depressing it can be on those who have it and those who sacrifice so much to care for those people… when I try to show people just how much of a disability it can truly be on a life long scale… I get attacked by those who have Autism and use it as a sword to attack us “neurotypical” people who don’t really know what we’re talking about.

Now obviously, I’m talking about small percentages of the over all population, most rational people wouldn’t attack me for doing either as I’m only trying to raise awareness and trying to do so for the greater good of all parties involved. However, there are still those out there who feel I’m making an effort to undo everything they’ve worked to accomplish.

Those with Autism that live on their own should feel proud and should hold their head up high… if they’re proud of having Autism (or Aspergers), then I will join them in telling the world.

And if those who cry more than they laugh because their children will never have a friend, never learn to talk, never be able to go out for a nice quiet meal and so on and so on…. I think they should be allowed to speak up too, and make sure the world hears them when they say “we need help, we need to stop this!”

But how do you do one without offending the other?

I’m not entirely sure there is a way, to be honest…. unless everyone can agree to stop being offending in the first place.

You can be proud of how you’ve learned to use Autism as a strength instead of a weakness, and still feel compassion and reach out to help those that see Autism as a life destroying disability in their own house.

And you can completely hate and feel defeated at what Autism has done to your family but still congratulate and be proud of those that have overcome and used their Autism to accomplish great things and have a good life.

We have enough fighting going on over which doctor is right and which one is wrong, we really don’t need to be fighting amongst ourselves.

The one thing all sides of the coin can agree on is that Autism is a spectrum. That doesn’t just mean several shades of good nor does it mean several shades of bad. It means going all the way from super human brilliant all the way to non-verbal self-inflicting violence.

Anyone being offended one way or another is either not as aware as they thought they were, or they’ve allowed their emotions to hide what is truly important… supporting each other.

I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but I’m not going to stop raising awareness for those too tired or depressed to do it themselves… and I’m also not going to stop being very proud of those with Autism that are doing well in life.

I will not stop if you’re offended that I think Autism is wonderful when it is doing such terrible things to a loved one and I will not stop if you’re offended that I think Autism is truly disgusting even though it’s making some people truly exceptional.

I will not stop.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.


5 Responses to Autism Community: What is Politically Correct? How do I Not Offend Someone?

  1. outoutout August 6, 2010 at 9:37 am #

    There’s an old saying which goes, “You can’t please all of the people all of the time.” It’s especially true when dealing with such a highly controversial topic, with two sides so distinct & bitterly opposed. Of course you’re going to ruffle some feathers. It goes with the territory.

    It’s your blog, your space, your opinions. You shouldn’t have to apologise for what you write here. On the other hand, you might want to look at ‘how’ you present your views. If you’re making sweeping statements like: “Autism is wonderful, Autism is horrible..”, you may be inviting disagreement because, to others, Autism may not be wonderful OR horrible. It’s one of those things that is SO individual, viewpoints are also on a spectrum, and it would be more diplomatic to qualify yours as being yours alone. IMHO. 🙂

    Of course it would be nice if everyone got along…but then, we might be saying the same thing about 2 political parties! I really think it would do well for each side to try to understand where the other is coming from, and be open to changing – easier said than done, I know. Change is a really, really difficult thing for people even under normal circumstances. Regardless, it would be a mistake to downplay or minimise the emotions at stake here.

    BTW, this is my first visit to your blog – well done! 🙂

  2. Wendy Bailey (Wendakai) August 6, 2010 at 10:44 am #

    Any issue has many points of view. You should never feel that you must represent all of them. You’re one person. Expressing your own experience and knowledge of autism cannot offend anyone reasonable, because it does nothing to diminish their empowerment to express theirs. In fact, if we all speak to our own experiences in our own way, it would create a profound and powerful mosaic of all the shades and aspects of autism.

    I can’t even begin to fathom why anyone would choose to attack what others express, instead of taking that moment to share their own point of view. If someone can whine and complain using this medium, they could also take advantage of the free opportunities to blog and talk about their own experiences. It’s a matter of choice. Those lost in negativity and burdened by anger issues, need to find better ways to deal with their problems. Counselling springs to mind.

    Keep doing what you do. You are part of a rich mosaic of experience with autism.

  3. Big Daddy August 7, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    It is true that it is a wide spectrum affecting each family differently. As my son reaches his teenage years, it is now apparent that he is one of those whose autism will probably prohibit him from ever living a truly independent life. But his autism makes him the most unique individual I have ever known. He is both beautiful and disabled. For us it is truly a blessing and a curse.

  4. Matt August 15, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    You’ve summed up very well what I know many of us in the blogging community experience. I just remind myself that I speak only for myself, and not for anyone else, or any movement or group.

  5. Obama's "birth certificate" unpicked using adobe illustrator May 19, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    In my too-long experience the vast majority of people have very simplistic thinking (not least those in “universities”) and insist on categorising just about everything and either good or bad. You are seeing this here with autism being forced to be either or. In reality it is neither, it depends. I would suggest an analogy with body fat. Most people will instantly think fat is bad of course. In reality, having too much body fat is bad and having too little is even worse. Fat is good up to a point and bad beyond it. And likewise you can be excessively autistic or instead you can be insufficiently autistic, resulting in a typical neurotypical mentality (characterised by over-conformity, over-emotionality, bigotry, lack of independent thought, and a delusion that ‘tactfulness’ is a valuable virtue overlooked only by insensitive fools, among other things).

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