Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Autistic women can't laugh!

It happened days ago and I'm still thinking about it. A woman saw me laugh in a video and she is now convinced that I cannot be autistic because of my laughter and the fact that I made eye contact. Wow. Really? And this woman has an autistic child. This makes me sad. I wonder if the fact that I can actually feel sad would be further "proof" to her that I could not possibly be autistic. 

Dear Woman Who Has An Autistic Child And Kicked Me Out Of Her Autism Club Because I Laughed,

Autism is a neurological condition. You can not tell for sure by looking at a person (especially on a 90 second film clip) if they are autistic. If you looked at the person's functional MRI, you'd have a better chance of knowing what you are talking about, but even then you may not be sure.

Autistic people laugh. Sometimes it sounds like a laugh. Sometimes it feels like a laugh to the autistic person, but only looks like a smile to everyone else. And sometimes it sounds like a snort! Here are some laugh acoustics of autistic people. I found those acoustics on this blog postThe Autism Crisis: The autistic way of laughing.

Autistic people can be taught how to look at people in a way that seems like (or even really is!) eye contact. Most of the time I don't make eye contact. Sometimes I remember that neurotypical people like eye contact, so I look at the place between their eyes so they feel better and I don't get as distracted or uncomfortable as I would with direct eye contact. If I feel very comfortable with the person, sometimes I actually do make direct eye contact with them for a few seconds at a time. 

Laughing and making eye contact does not "cure" my autism or kick me out of the "autism club" (aka Club 299, and no, I didn't purposefully join any club).

I am sorry that you don't understand. I am sorry that you think you do understand and say things that are untrue. I hope someday you really do understand or, at the very least, that you understand that you don't understand. 

Miss Sensory

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