When did ‘different’ become wrong? or Acceptance is not a one way street

differences

There’s something about you that’s different

I couldn’t decide on which title I liked better so I just went ahead and used both.

There seems to be a divide growing between certain autistics and certain parents. Not all. Just certain ones. My fear is that divide is growing.

I cringe when I see people talk about how they don’t understand how “the camps” can’t work together. For me, I don’t understand how there can be “camps” at all. Yes, autistics are different from parents and children are different from adults but really, aren’t we all different anyway? Autistics are different from other autistics and parents are different from other parents.

In the camp of differences, we all belong together.

So it hurts me when I see people share their experiences and opinions and get attacked for it. Now, don’t get me wrong. If someone tells me the green grass is orange, I’ll be pretty quick to say “no it isn’t.” But really, do I need to? Is it a requirement of mine to correct them? Or worse, am I bound by some law that says I have to attack them for what a horrible person they are for believing it’s orange?

What if it turns out that the person has a condition, such as color blindness, that truly does make the grass look orange to them? Are they still wrong? Is their perception wrong? Do I proclaim them wrong because their brain interprets things differently than what mine and my friends brains do?

A parent is going to have a different perspective than their own child. That just has to be. I mean that whether the child has autism or not. If a parent shared a child’s perspective and was only interested in appeasing that child’s wants, then the child would have totally chocolate dinner every night, a water park in their bathroom and video games would replace school.

When I hear about a parent that “leashes” their child while out, or fences off their backyard or school yard, I find that it almost always accompanies people that don’t just share their own opinion that a parent shouldn’t do that, they outright attack that person’s intelligence, age, education, parenting skills, rationality, mental stability and oh so much more. People are vicious. They never once consider that person or their child’s past. Does the child have a history of dashing off? Into traffic? Is the child incapable of staying close by for some reason? Is the parent incapable of reaching their child should something happen? Perhaps they have a medical condition of their own such as bad knee or back?
The point is, maybe they just are way too overbearing… or maybe they have a very good reason for keeping their child safe in the way that they know how.

When I hear about an autistic that tries to share their experiences in just how hard life can be sometimes, I find that it almost always accompanies people that hate them for being negative when others are trying so very hard to make autism out to be a positive thing. Or conversely, there are those that hate autistics that share their successes and triumphs only because they’ve been trying so hard to paint autism as a very dark and debilitating thing. They don’t take the time to understand how hard it is to share these things or how hard the journey was to overcome the obstacles they did… they simply attack for not representing their own situation or for “giving people a false impression” simply because it does not reflect their own situation.

Everyone is different. Everyone’s perspectives are different. Everyone’s experiences are different. And for anyone, autistic, parent, child, etc to request/demand acceptance from others, they must be willing to do the same.

Instead of condemning a parent for protecting their child from the evils of a chocolate dinner, accept that they are different from you. Before you condemn an autistic for making the world think that not all autistics are like you or your child, accept that they are just different from you.

I am different. And I am proud. And quite frankly, I don’t care if you accept that about me or not. But know that I understand just how different you are. And I accept that too. You won’t parent how I parent. You won’t “be” as I will “be”. You won’t see the orange that I see.

If someone says something that I disagree with, that doesn’t make them wrong. It makes them different. And even if I do feel they’re wrong, it’s not my job nor my duty to attack them for it.

Different is not wrong. Acceptance is not a one way street.

Let’s accept the differences in those that we demand acceptance from for our differences.

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. 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.

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11 Responses to When did ‘different’ become wrong? or Acceptance is not a one way street

  1. jillsmo May 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    YES!!!!!!!

  2. Jessi C May 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Yes!

  3. Lolli May 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Thank you.

  4. A Quiet Week May 28, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Thank you.I see myself in your post! I write positively, but I agonize privately. People can be unkind and not understand how hard I struggle. And if I write of my struggles, oh my! Humanity is diverse and their experiences broad. Compassion and acceptance are essential.

  5. Christine @ The Cupcake Bandits May 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I applaud you sir.

  6. Jennifer Schaefer Gillam May 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Thanks, Stuart!

  7. juliesboyz May 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Well said Stuart. I actually thought about not blogging anymore because of all the hateful comments I have read on other blogs. What I think (and why I kept writing) is that autism is a SPECTRUM!!!! There are all sorts of good, bad, easy, hard, scary and funny situations — from both the autistic adult and parent point of view. I am just out to entertain my small corner of the world and the heck with the rest of them. If someone is endlessly negative or argumentative I just stop reading. Life is too short and stressful enough. Keep writing and telling us how it is for you and we’ll keep reading. 🙂

  8. Karla T May 28, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    I agree that I don’t understand why there are camps. And I don’t understand why people feel the need to constantly correct or attack anyone who is “wrong”.

  9. Andrew Bromley May 29, 2013 at 3:18 am #

    Great post Stuart. I think you can blame propaganda on that divide. Before I knew I was autistic I struggled with understanding why I found it hard to accept differences in others. Now I understand that it is my problem with abstract concepts that lead to this misunderstanding. This is where rote learning comes in handy. Unfortunately my father does not see my autistic traits. Denial is big in our family. It does give me some comfort knowing there are parent’s like you out there.

  10. Niksmom May 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    This. God, yes. Just…this.

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