It seems as though when something goes wrong, it is always my fault because I’m Autistic. If I don’t understand the meaning behind what someone says, I am told this is my fault. If someone doesn’t understand me, I am told this is also my fault. Here is a question for you: Why is the onus of responsibility always on the person who is Autistic and why do we need to assign blame? Wouldn’t it be better if we were to try to better understand one another and meet on middle ground?
This is an issue that has occurred often, both in my life and those around me who are Autistic. For instance, I had a meltdown at a conference for work, due to the horrible noise of a clanging bell that was used unexpectedly to get everyone’s attention. The person responsible blamed me for my reaction, stating that it was my responsibility to inform everyone in charge that this could potentially be an issue. I had informed them I was Autistic and had significant tactile and auditory sensitivities. I was even given a room to escape to if things were too much. Also, it isn’t even possible for me to begin to list out every item that may or may not trigger a meltdown. How can someone expect that to happen?
It has become a normal reaction for people to place full blame and responsibility for any needs on the person who has Autism. It is our responsibility to decide what needs we have and it is our problem if those needs are not met, even if it is due to the refusal of those in charge to allow accommodations to meet them. We are often criticized for our struggles with social skills, sensory issues, and memory problems and held responsible for them, despite the fact that they are innate in us, just as being unable to hear is innate in someone who is deaf. One doesn’t hold a person who is deaf responsible for their inability to hear and understand language, so why is someone who is Autistic held responsible and at fault for an inability to understand social cues? They both stem from a difference in the brain, yet one is respected and one is not.
This is something that we need to speak out against. We are not in control of how our symptoms manifest themselves in our brain any more than we are responsible for how our genes manifest our height, our hair color, or our eye color. We are not less deserving of respect for our limits or disabilities than any other person with a challenge. There should be no shame associated with asking for help with communication, sensory needs, or any other associated limiting affect of Autism, yet we all know there is.
We need to change that by speaking up and coming out of the shadows. It is the myths about Autism that hold us back and the lack of understanding about the complexity and variety of Autistic people that continues to keep the myths alive. By being seen, being known, being heard, we can dispel the myths and demonstrate the truth of Autism, both it’s struggles and it’s strengths!