Point 2 from Sometimes my Heart Hurts for your Child
Over on Speaking of Autism… Quincy has written a heartfelt piece aimed primarily at the autism community, but it is also relevant to the wider neurotypical (non-autistic) community.
The article is quite long (approximately 9 minutes reading time), and each of the points Quincy makes shows how much the autism community fails to understand the autistic community. For this reason, I’m re-posting each point as a separate article here, because each point is important.
Before I start, I feel I need to explain the difference between the “autism community” and the “autistic community” The autistic community consists of people who are autistic, whereas the autism community consists mainly people who are directly or indirectly involved with autistic people (typically family members and those involved in the “treatment” of autism), but are not typically autistic themselves.
Each of Quincy’s points illustrates just how far the autism community and the wider community has to go to meet the autistic community even part way.
You say they have the “mind of a toddler” when I see their intelligence.
This phrase among others, such as “my daughter is 18, but is mentally 4” make me sad, because I know it’s not necessarily true. Not to say that there aren’t intellectually disabled autistic people, but intellectual disability is highly over-diagnosed in autistics because IQ tests rely on the person communicating typically and being able to regulate their body in a typical way.
Some people make the assumption that because someone has trouble communicating that they therefore must not have any new information to share and be unintelligent. But this isn’t the case. Autistic people, of all communicative abilities, know more than we say and understand more than we can articulate on the fly. Or they’ll say “well his favorite show is Sesame Street, so clearly he’s only a five-year-old.” But I bet there are quite a few adults and older kids and teens who like kids shows. And when a non-autistic person likes a show for little kids it’s seen as endearing, but when an autistic person does it’s evidence that they’re a toddler in an adult body. It’s a double standard.