The Problem With Autism

The problem with autism isn’t autism. It’s a pervasive attitude handed down to the masses over generations. People tend to distrust what they do not understand and people are not always kind to those who stick out.

The bullying started early for me, with a teacher who’d decided that I was “too smart to act the way I did”. Society has ways of correcting people that it deems unfit. She picked on me openly in class, eventually, when the students joined in, there was nobody to stop them.

I’ve been called names – I had a list of ugly things people have called me here but decided to remove them and spare you.

We’ll just say that public school was a hostile environment, set up like a factory, made to churn out workers and catered to only one type of learning style. The inhospitable and overloading surroundings began to wear on me. I was physically ill, and my self-esteem was low. I felt worthless.

When the everyone around you is beating you down it is hard to know what you are capable of. It has taken time to get over those wounds but I still feel for that little girl and other kids like her.

As we mature, we can learn to push back against people, but the minds of growing children may be vulnerable when the abuse comes from adults. What if kids didn’t have to waste years recovering from the traumas of childhood?

What if autistic people all over the world were helped to focus on their strengths instead of being ostracized for their differences and weaknesses? What if we built these kids up instead of knocking them down over and over?

If the narrative around autism changed to one of true acceptance and kindness, would things be different? If we show people how to believe in themselves, will it make it easier for them to succeed?

The problem with autism isn’t autism. It’s society’s attitude that autism is wrong.

38 thoughts on “The Problem With Autism

  1. Ma’am, I don’t know if you will get this or not but I will tell you this, you are strong and nobody can take that from you.

    You have built your fortress, as have I. But these fortresses were built from the pain and suffering of many situations endured in public school.

    Yet now I will stand face to face with any motherfucker that in any way tries to challenge me or any others for the sake of humiliating myself or them.

    I worked in Afghanistan for 5 years. Liver overseas for 10 years. Moved out of the states when I was 24. I am 37 now.

    I am harder in many ways, yet softer as well. I am married to an amazing Filipina woman and have 6 and an 8 year old children.

    I realized after getting off of Adderall nearly one year ago that my ADHD is a gift and that I can focus my energy to overcome EVERYTHING.

    Peace and love,


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  2. Yes, you are right. But that is how the human race is. I have seen a huge change towards autism and ADHD in my lifetime. They wouldn’t even consider my child might be autistic when she was young because “it mostly happens to boys and she can talk and be touched.” She has Aspergers. Now they know better. It’s a long haul, but all we can do at this point is keep educating and refuse to be silenced.

  3. Very much THIS. I don’t have a problem with my autism at all. My ‘suffering’ has mostly been caused by the way people have treated me. Like you, I’ve been bullied by teachers and my peers and the bullying didn’t stop when I left school either. That said, for every time I’ve been abused or humiliated, I’ve got back up again. It takes strength to do this time and time again. NTs see autistic people as weak but we are far from weak. It takes a great deal of strength to endure prejudice and ignorance on a daily basis. I am proud to be autistic and I’ll keep getting back up because it’s my world too.

  4. It is also society’s general intolerance for any form of diversity that makes the bullying so pervasive. We are not, apparently, a kindly natured nation. No child should be knocked down, humiliated, shot at, just for bring how they are, and no teacher should ever be allowed into a classroom again after behaving as yours did.

  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the greatest obstacle Autistic people face is lazy, abusive Neurotypicals. ESPECIALLY parents.

  6. Love this! The problem isn’t autism, ADHD, OCD, SPD or any other condition; the problem is society not wanting anyone to be different. They think different is wrong when different is just different.

  7. It’s society’s misperceptions of something they do not understand. It’s the unwillingness to change something in themselves to help someone else. These struggles are just as substantial as an addiction-and when you choose not to educate yourself you in turn become as ignorant as the rest of them.

  8. Society – especially western society – has for decades and longer been programmed to accept outgoing, extrovert, fitting-in personalities. People who are different are deemed to be weird, strange, and fair game. Thankfully, I think that places and blogs such as this one are giving a voice to the voiceless and showing that there are all kinds of people out there, most of whom do not fit in with the pecreived ‘norm’.

  9. Yes. All of this.

    I’m sorry that you had to go through abuse at the hands of adults. I was pretty mercilessly bullied by classmates all through elementary school, but I was not mistreated by any adults, except for possibly one isolated incident that I’d rather not talk about. It was frustrating sometimes when it felt like I was being picked on all the time, and eventually when I would react, I would get in trouble and none of them would. However, being a teacher myself now and seeing life from that perspective, I think those teachers really were doing the best they could. You can’t control everything that every student says or does.

    And I’ve noticed that, having that background, combined with having finally found friends who reached to me as an outcast in my late teens, has led today to some of the students I’ve bonded with the most being those on the outside of peer groups.

  10. This is all true the we should be the one who bring these people up and build up their confidence and not judge them…because they are not any different from us we are all humans …this is actually a great post if we all do this we could make the world a better place

  11. Thank you for sharing. I am new to this site and my son was recently diagnosed. We are still learning but I can honestly say that we have meet some mean people along the way, with stares, pointing fingers, you name it. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes about the bullying, I’m so afraid of him going through that. I hope to be as strong as some moms are one day with Autism……..

  12. Very true. My heart goes out to many people on the autistic spectrum having to battle the society while struggling to find the awesome capabilities hidden under all the pressure and crude from siciety

  13. i have 2 autistic sons. and reading this is so true! i have even had it said to me directly its “just a phase” or “they need more discipline”. i hope for the sake of my children and all of the others growing up the awareness for autism keeps growing. x

  14. Even in a special school I’ve had teachers who didn’t understand. Who shouted at me when I was scared/anxious, it was mainly the older now retired teachers who were trained in a different way. Many teachers in Britain weren’t even required to be trained in autism to become a special needs teacher in the past. It’s probably why now they compare these systematic ‘attacks’ to PTSD in young children and school phobia.

    I’m inspired to read your post it’s so challenging and proactive, you’re right. Society needs to understand more about autism and we all need to change. But we all seem to be ignorant about something we probably shouldn’t be. Whether it’s sexuality, sex, gender, race, disability, mental illness, class, political beliefs, religion, nationality, marital status or something else. We are all equal, we as suffers have the biggest responsibilities to fight for all kinds of equality.

    Thank you for my daily inspiration.
    ~ x

  15. I absolutely love this post. I can imagine my seven year old saying these exact words in maybe ten years time! I really feel for him. He’s going through this same situation right now. He’s awaiting a paediatric appointment to hopefully get the diagnosis and support that he needs. The problem is when K gets a teacher that “gets him” he absolutely flourishes, give him a teacher that doesn’t understand his needs and he’s shoved to the back of the class and hes forgotten about for the year. Your post really makes me feel better that he isn’t the only one going through this xxx

  16. This is an outstanding post. I am autistic myself and I know what it’s like to be looked down on and judged for my condition. I’ve written an article about my experiences with autism and I want to raise awareness for it

  17. First of all I love that you wrote this. You are amazing and being autistic doesn’t make you or anyone else someone who should be looked down on. I have the same struggles with watching my daughter grow and it’s hard to see others act so cruel. We should always try to show others to believe in themselves I agree with you there all the way. Being kind and having a good understanding that others are different and not less is very important. Love your post and I hope the best for you always!!!!!

  18. This is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. My 6 year old brother has autism and my family and I have been stopped several times by complete strangers asking if there is something wrong with him, when in reality, there’s nothing wrong with him and society is the issue. Thank you so much for writing this!

  19. I had a teacher in first grade who did that to me. Bullied me. My mom put a stop to it. I am autistic and high-functioning and I had a girl in grad school tell me that she and a few other people figured out I had Asperger’s and “get annoyed” when I speak. This is a social work program mind you! Hypocrisy never stops astounding me.

  20. Being on the spectrum myself, I can attest to all the adversities an Aspie has to face on a daily basis. The alienation and bullying can lead to a host of other mental disorders. However, I have found ways to overcome the barriers that I have had to face because of my Autism. If you want to learn how to be successful in life with Autism, I suggest reading this article:

  21. Hello! My names Mia and I have Autism and ADHD. I’m 13-years-old and just started my own blog about Autism. If you have any time, I was wondering if you could check out my blog and give me a bit of feedback. Thank you. Also I found your blog so true. People should’nt be mean to those who are different.

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