I don’t know about you, but I hate blanket statements or diagnoses. This especially holds true to Autism. I hate it when people assume stuff about Autism because of what they have seen or heard on TV. Take Sam from the Netflix series Atypical. Don’t get me wrong here. I am not bashing the show; I actually like it. But more often than not, Sam or any other person on that has Autism on TV, has noise sensitivities or is portrayed as being either really smart or an outsider. This is partially true. I think it is a misconception that people…ALL PEOPLE…with Autism have noise sensitivities. This may be the case for some, but definitely not all. I, I think, fit into both categories here. I love going to concerts and shows. I love standing at the front of the stage or where the action is. I listen to my music loud. So loud, in fact, that my parents can hear it upstairs in their room and yell at me to turn it down. But I do have moments where I get overwhelmed and need a break from it all. I don’t know if this is a side effect of my Autism or just human nature. As for people on the Spectrum being savants or geniuses…this is 100% for sure NOT the case! Some people have the amazing God-given ability to tell what day of the year you are born without thinking about it. One of my friends is like this. I asked him, “My birthday is September 8, 1990. What day of the week is that?” He said “Saturday”. Amazingly, he was right! I can’t do that.
Some people on the Spectrum babble and are low-verbal, if at all verbal. Some other people, myself included obviously, can carry conversation with people on and off the Spectrum. My thought process might now always make sense to people, but it is enough to get by. I am not saying people who are low-verbal or nonverbal are “dumb”. In fact, one of my co-workers at work is low-verbal and he is one of the smartest people I have ever met! He knows multiple languages (3 or more!) and is very tech savvy. I only know one language, English, and to say that my coworker is a level below me on the Spectrum is absolutely insulting!
It is a semi-true stereotype that people on the Autism Spectrum are smart. We are smart, but to varying degrees. I like to think I am smart, but maybe I am just insightful. I am not trying to belittle anyone by any means. Some people are just better than others at different things.
Another thing is that people who have Autism will never marry, hold a job, or do anything that “normal” people do. Not to sound self-centered or make this a “me, me, me” type of thing, but I am living proof that that is complete and utter bullshit. I have been in the same committed relationship for close to 8 years now and have never been happier! I also have 2 jobs. My advocacy job I have had since December of 2016 and my cleaning job I have had for over 3 years. Not only that, but I have risen in the company for my public speaking position. I have gone from a monologue to a Q&A interview style format and from speaking at hospitals and medical campuses to law enforcement. My cleaning position offered me a raise awhile back. They raised my rate from $12 to $12.50/hour. Education wise, I graduated High School, on time and with a diploma, with the rest of my class. I went to my Junior and Senior Proms and got my Junior Ring. The rate as of April 19, 2019 for students on the Spectrum graduating High School is 63.1%. So there is a slight issue with people on the Spectrum and education. I think the education thing is merely and frankly because teachers are not very well-educated on how to interact with or teach people with learning disabilities.
I do not think it’s just Autism people have misconceptions about. I think people have misconceptions or expectations about other people in general. Like men have certain expectations about women. Women, in men’s eyes, have to be absolutely perfect per the media. Clean shaven all over, slim and skinny, and maybe even a little submissive. Allie, my girlfriend, does not fall into some of these categories. I am not giving away any personal info about her, but I will tell you that Allie has a walker and is definitely not submissive. She is a very strong-willed and determined woman and I love her for that!
Women have an expectation about men, I think. Men are expected to be circumcised, act masculine, and be suave and sexy. This is not the case for all men. Again, I am not going to go into details or share any personal info about any of my guy friends, but let’s just say we do not all fit the bill.
So to wrap up, I want to hear from you. What do you think people generalize or stereotype about? Do you think people make blanket statements where they shouldn’t? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!