people are starting to use Autism as an excuse.....

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Callista
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28 Feb 2010, 9:54 am

I really, really, don't like the implied "... and you know how those autistic people are." at the end of the father's sentence.


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ursaminor
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28 Feb 2010, 10:53 am

Callista wrote:
I really, really, don't like the implied "... and you know how those autistic people are." at the end of the father's sentence.
What?
Where?
I did not see this.



Callista
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28 Feb 2010, 11:02 am

This--

TheDoctor82 wrote:
it's also worth noting the guy( I'm talking the Dad, here) didn't even sound like he was sympathetic about the situation towards us.

it was almost like he was going "well, yeah, he's Autistic, what'cha gonna do"; well, not in those words, but...get what I mean?

The kid also didn't feel too bad about it either. That--IMO--is another sure-fire sign of excuse territory.


I can only go on what the OP said, of course; but basically I get the impression that Dad was thinking along the lines of, "It's hopeless to expect him to do any better; he's autistic, and you know how autistic people are," (i.e., unteachable).


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mechanicalgirl39
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28 Feb 2010, 11:09 am

Maybe the father would have done better if he simply said 'Sorry about that, he's got very bad motor skills and can't help dropping things'.


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ursaminor
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28 Feb 2010, 11:10 am

Callista wrote:
(i.e., unteachable).
Oh, that is certainly quite comical because there is not a natural intuitiveness, so they actually have to learn it.
Ohohoho.



Callista
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28 Feb 2010, 11:14 am

mechanicalgirl39 wrote:
Maybe the father would have done better if he simply said 'Sorry about that, he's got very bad motor skills and can't help dropping things'.
Yeah, if you're going to make excuses, don't just say "autism"; be specific. When I have to apologize for not recognizing somebody, I generally say, "I'm sorry; I'm really bad at remembering faces." Autism is just the big picture, and for that matter, prosopagnosia is nowhere near universal among autistics. And it's not like I don't try to memorize people. My system just fails sometimes.


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28 Feb 2010, 1:19 pm

Callista wrote:
mechanicalgirl39 wrote:
Maybe the father would have done better if he simply said 'Sorry about that, he's got very bad motor skills and can't help dropping things'.
Yeah, if you're going to make excuses, don't just say "autism"; be specific. When I have to apologize for not recognizing somebody, I generally say, "I'm sorry; I'm really bad at remembering faces." Autism is just the big picture, and for that matter, prosopagnosia is nowhere near universal among autistics. And it's not like I don't try to memorize people. My system just fails sometimes.


When a kid does something that annoys another person in a public place, the world at large expects one of three responses:

1)the kid apologizes

2)the parent requires the kid to apologize and reprimands him if he doesn't

3)the parent explains to the annoyed person why this happened and hopes that this explanation gets him out of being obligated to browbeat his child into an apology


Clearly in this case, (3) was what happened. I've been in that father's place lots of times. Sometimes she aplogized for whatever "incident X" was. Sometimes I was able to extract a public apology from her. Sometimes I had to go with option (3). Sometimes I was specific and that worked fine when she was younger. As she got older, too much specificity started eating away at her. When she was not in a mental condition to apologize she could still hear and internalize my explanations. Later she perserverated about the specific things I'd said: "anxious"/"overstimulated"/"stress" etc. "Autism" is a catch-all category that means no further specificity will be either forthcoming or needed.

I would love for her to be able to 1)always control what she does in public or 2)always apologize when she can't. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem about to change anytime soon. Luckily she has sometimes gone months at a stretch with no public incident so I don't feel obliged to keep her out of public as some parents of autistic children are bullied into doing by the public's reaction.

Perhaps something she did that caused me to say "X is because she's autistic" sent somebody running to a message board to complain about how I used it as an excuse. So be it. The alternatives are worse. And that includes the alternative of her hearing a litany of "sins" (as this is how it seems to her) used as specific explanations so as to avoid using the word "autism" in public. The assumption that it is being used as an excuse is a fairly common one so I do try to not use the word too often. But there are times when it's the best thing to say. If somebody then went running to a message board to complain about me, I'm ok with that.


You might think that always being specific is the best course of action but it isn't. Neither is never saying anything. Sometimes people actyually get in your face and demand an explanation,or- more horrifyingly- ask if I'd like them to get security or the police. When people start saying "get security" or "get police" out loud (to me or to each other), that's when I say "autism". It is sufficiently mysterious to people that they back off when they hear it.



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28 Feb 2010, 1:47 pm

I can kind of see this issue from both sides. On one hand, I can see how easily this boy could drop his cup, and how the father might be frustrated and afraid of judgement if this is a situation that frequently arises. My motor skills are truly abyssmal across the board, and some times I swear items just jump out of my hands. I do realize that inanimate objects are not actually developing a life of their own and jumpiing out of my hand, but it really does feel that way at times. People do ridicule me for these matters, and that can be hurtful. I remember being nine years old, and at a Chinese restaurant with family. Being me, I managed to drop a good portion of my food on the table, my lap, and on the floor, creating quite a mess. My now- deceased grandmother was highly critical of my apparent carelessness, lecturing me on how there was no excuse for a smart girl my age to make such a huge mess, and she was extremely diappointed in me. My mother eventually found the presence of mind to come to my defense, reminding my grandmother that I had a severe motor skill impairment, and it was very difficult for me to transfer the food from the serving dish to my plate, and I really couldn't help dropping food. My grandmother still did not seemed convinced that there was any reasonable excuse for a "smart girl" to make such a mess.
One trouble I have is that my skills are highly uneven. I encounter quite a number of people who have very low tolerance for my struggles to successfully accomplish tasks that are simple to them. It doesn't fit their understanding of the world that someone with my level of education and apparently high level of fluency in verbal and written language should struggle with basic things such as carrying items without dropping them, remembering to put things back where they belong after I'm done with them, sweeping floors, anticipating what needs to be done in a given situation without needing to be explicitly told beforehand, etc, etc, etc. Thus, people tend to just assume that I'm not bothering to try, or that I'm being difficult on purpose. I encounter plenty of people who treat me with a great deal of hostility and disparage me at every turn for things I genuinely can't help. That can be really hurtful.
In that sense, I can understand where the Dad is coming from. If he's constantly taking crap from people who don't understand regarding his son's struggles, I can see why he might be automatically get on the defensive when these situations arise.
All the same, this father needs to learn a better coping mechanism, because the implications behind his words seem to suggest that he views autism as a major defect on his son's part. Additionally, his words are sending his son the message that he's "less" than other people, and can never hope to rise above that. If I were in that boy's place, I know that's the message I'd receive from that exchange. I can see how that would be disturbing. There really is a happy medium between teaching a child that his struggles are all his fault, and he just needs to "buck up" and "get his act together" because there's "no excuse," and teaching the child that his struggles are the result of him being "defective," and said "defect" will preclude his everbeing able to rise above and take any semblance of control over his own life.
Okay, this is really not coherent. My apologies, I've been under a lot of strain lately, and it's muddling up my thinking.


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28 Feb 2010, 2:12 pm

I don't think that autism should be an excuse for anything. If I ever heard anybody say that about their autistic offspring, I'd bring to their attention that I'm autistic, myself.


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28 Feb 2010, 2:48 pm

I do not make excuses.
I also do not choose to change because I do not like change.
I am not very considerate of the feelings of other people in that respect because I do not know how they affect me and asking how they affect me makes the people feel insulted.



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28 Feb 2010, 2:56 pm

Sometimes I'd like to say I do this way because I'm Autistic - for example doing sth at home, not in school, but bringing it on the deadline, ofc.

But I suppose the answer So if you are retarded, go away - so I stay quiet.

No excuse! No mercy! :(


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mechanicalgirl39
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28 Feb 2010, 3:20 pm

Callista wrote:
mechanicalgirl39 wrote:
Maybe the father would have done better if he simply said 'Sorry about that, he's got very bad motor skills and can't help dropping things'.
Yeah, if you're going to make excuses, don't just say "autism"; be specific. When I have to apologize for not recognizing somebody, I generally say, "I'm sorry; I'm really bad at remembering faces." Autism is just the big picture, and for that matter, prosopagnosia is nowhere near universal among autistics. And it's not like I don't try to memorize people. My system just fails sometimes.


I wouldn't call that an excuse, to be fair. If you genuinely can't help struggling with something, and sometimes failing, it shouldn't be called an excuse.

An excuse, to me, would be for example if he took something that wasn't his and knew it was wrong and explained it away by saying 'I can't help it, I have autism'. Or if he was bullying another kid and he made out it wasn't his fault because he had autism.


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28 Feb 2010, 4:49 pm

OuterBoroughGirl wrote:
I All the same, this father needs to learn a better coping mechanism, because the implications behind his words seem to suggest that he views autism as a major defect on his son's part. Additionally, his words are sending his son the message that he's "less" than other people, and can never hope to rise above that. If I were in that boy's place, I know that's the message I'd receive from that exchange. I can see how that would be disturbing. There really is a happy medium between teaching a child that his struggles are all his fault, and he just needs to "buck up" and "get his act together" because there's "no excuse," and teaching the child that his struggles are the result of him being "defective," and said "defect" will preclude his everbeing able to rise above and take any semblance of control over his own life.
Okay, this is really not coherent. My apologies, I've been under a lot of strain lately, and it's muddling up my thinking.


He does need to learn a better coping mechanism and so do I. I've been in his position before trying to explain away my daughter's alarming meltdowns. The problem is, in all my encounters both in real life and online, nobody has actually managed to come up with a better coping mechanism that parents can use when this situation arises. There is only "me too" commiseration or negative judgements about how the parent is doing it all wrong. For once, I'd like some freaking help! about what is the right thing to do instead of just judgement that whatever I- or any other random parent being judged- did was wrong

. I know Callista was trying to give some advice upthread saying that being specific was a better course. I've gone that route too and it also has its pitfalls. Fact is, no matter what you do there are pitfalls. All a parent can do is try to pick the course with the least number of pitfalls. Trust me, we parents are trying to do the right thing but it's hard to know what the right thing is when literally every single thing you do is tut-tutted about by somebody as being just a terrible thing to do.



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28 Feb 2010, 6:46 pm

The kid dropped an ice cream. It happens. It probably happens a million times a day. I don't see what it has to do wth autism. The fathers an idiot.



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28 Feb 2010, 7:48 pm

Callista wrote:
I really, really, don't like the implied "... and you know how those autistic people are." at the end of the father's sentence.


that is what I was thinking too. That the father is perpetuating the strangeness of the 'other' even when it is his own child.


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