Are you autistic, or is one of your loved ones on the spectrum? Do you feel lonely, or do you want to learn more about autism? Introducing yourself to autistic culture is a great way to educate yourself and find companionship.
Method1 : Experiencing the Culture
1 Realize that autistic people make autistic culture—neurotypicals don’t. If autistic people don’t have a clear voice in an autism organization or event, then it is probably not a good place to find other autistic people. It may also be a source of inaccurate, pitying, or hateful material.
If an organization is run partially or completely by autistic people, its about page will usually say so.
See if it is partnered with any autistic-run organizations.
Autistic-run support groups may be more difficult to find, and you may need to rely upon word of mouth regarding which one is best.
Emma’s Hope Book (Note: Emma’s parents are not described as autistic; however, they are educated and well-regarded in the community)
Neurotypical/NT: non-autistic, and also without any other neurological issues
Allistic: non-autistic, though not necessarily neurotypical.
Neurodiversity: the idea that neurologically disabled people are a minority, and deserve acceptance and respect
Person with autism: Disliked by the autistic community in general because it implies that autism is separate from a person, and that it is antithetical to humanity. Only use this to describe someone if it is their personal preference.
Autism epidemic: Autism doesn’t kill people, and it is not communicable.
Autistic Pride Day: June 18
Method2 : Tips For Allies
Special tips for neurotypical people who would like to be an ally or learn more about autism
1 Realize that it is okay to join most discussions. You may want to comment to show your appreciation, or ask questions. The autistic community is an autistic place, but friendly visitors are always welcome.
2 Use a search engine for basic questions. While plenty of autistic people are happy to help, some questions (“Do autistic people have bellybuttons too?”) seem a little obvious or demeaning. If you have a question, search the internet for a few minutes first, because the answer might be readily available.
- It is okay to share articles or reblog things you found in the #actuallyautistic tag. (You may wish to mention that you aren’t autistic, though, so people don’t get confused.)
- It’s okay to say that an article helped you, or that you agree.
- It’s okay to ask questions. However, autistic people are not search engines, so they are not obligated to provide an answer.
- Remember, there are plenty of allies who participate in discussions and write autism-related posts!
3Be aware of general etiquette. Like all subcultures, the autistic community has some unwritten etiquette guidelines. Here some insider tips regarding things to avoid:
4 Don’t be afraid to help out! Allies are welcome, and autistic people can always use a hand in organizing events, finding resources, or simply educating the community. If you see autistic people organizing something, feel free to ask “Can I help?” or “May I join you?”5 Look for resources written for neurotypicals. Some autistic writers have articles written specifically for how you can help your loved ones and be a great ally. Never be afraid to ask for tips!
- Posting in the #actuallyautistic tag (It was developed specifically for autistic people to discuss things. Neurotypicals can post in the #autism tag.)
- Speaking of autism as a scourge to be eliminated
- Taking venting personally (When someone says “I hate when NTs talk over me!” they are not talking specifically about you, and it’s rude to interject “Not all NTs!”)
- Pretending to understand autistic people’s minds better than they do
Method3 Avoiding Gaslighting and Cruelty
There is a dark side to autism discussions in the community: many autistic people have been mistreated, abused, and silenced. It is important for allies to be aware of this, and to use basic human decency.
1 Recognize that many autistic people have had bad experiences. Some of them have led to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Remember to be considerate of the following:
2 Be compassionate when they discuss their hardships, and never gaslight.Gaslighting means stating that others’ experiences aren’t real or that their feelings are overreactions, and it has happened to many autistic people. Here are some examples of helpful things to say and hurtful things not to say:
- Some parents have silenced autistic people, or attempted to control them. A few autistic people have become wary of “autism parents” as a result of this.
- They may be used to hearing that their pain isn’t real.
- Their therapists may have abused them.
- They may have been told that they are “too high-functioning” to need accommodations or understand “real autism,” or that they are “too low-functioning” to amount to anything.
- They may have been called strange, needy, or embarrassing by their loved ones.
3 Remember that autistic people are people too. If you treat them with compassion and respect, presuming competence and listening to them, they will respond well to you. If you are kind, it’s hard to go wrong.
- “I’m really sorry to hear that this happened to you. That sounds terrible.”
- “Thanks for writing about the dangers of ABA therapy. I haven’t personally encountered anything like this, but I’ll make sure to be careful when choosing therapists for my son.”
- “Reading this article made me realize that these things do happen to my daughter in therapy, and it’s probably why she’s been so tearful and anxious lately. I’ll start searching for a new therapist for her right away. Thank you for the wake-up call.”
- “Autistic people aren’t actually excluded from the autism discourse.”
- “Stop complaining already. Nobody is trying to hurt you.”
- “Autistic people never get abused by their therapists. Stop whining!”
- “Well, this therapy worked for ME” (implying that it must work for everyone, and that the person’s horrible experience isn’t significant or worth considering)
Via : wikihow