People are still not Autism Aware


A. is a parent in our Facebook group. She shared this story and kindly agreed that I could post it here. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. We have a lot of work to do!

“My husband was telling me about going out last night.  He went to a pub to listen to some trad music and this young guy came in (about 18-20) and was dancing quite oddly to the music. The band got annoyed at him and was saying that he was on drugs. My husband could clearly see that the boy had autism and was just enjoying the music in the same manner as our son would, almost like he was stimming. Husband told them that it was okay that he wasn’t on drugs but to leave him be as he was harming no one. He also mentioned that it may do more harm to the boy than if they leave him be. NO. They had him thrown out. My husband argued that it was wrong, left and will not return. 

People know autism is out there but wouldn’t recognize it if it bit them! My heart went out to that poor boy. It just made us think of what discrimination or ignorance our son will run into in his life.”

Irish Autism Action on FacebookIrish Autism Action on Twitter
Irish Autism Action
Irish Autism Action is an umbrella organisation with 33 member groups and 3,500 individual members. Our members range from the 13 Special Schools for Children with Autism to local support groups and are located in practically every county in Ireland.
Irish Autism Action

Irish Autism Action

Irish Autism Action is an umbrella organisation with 33 member groups and 3,500 individual members. Our members range from the 13 Special Schools for Children with Autism to local support groups and are located in practically every county in Ireland.

8 thoughts on “People are still not Autism Aware

  • January 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm
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    @drunkdevotchkababy@xanga –  I 100% agree with you!!

    To me this situation is not a direct attack on people with autism but a misunderstanding. The bar owners throwing the guy out may have been wrong but that was their call–the guy who was dancing oddly like he was on drugs (as you said) was creating discomfort in others and that’s how they treated the situation like any bar owner would. If a sleezy guy was trying to dance up on a bunch of girls who didn’t want it, the bar owner would likewise throw the guy out. It’s about business and maintaining a desired enviornment.

    However, I understand that you (the writer) are afraid of having your child misunderstood by others and perhaps treated poorly or differently because he has autism and so would write this post out of anger or sadness, but you have to see the other side of things. People are obviously raising awareness of autism for a reason so you can’t be mad at someone for not knowing/understanding and you shouldn’t take their actions as a direct attack against it.

    Reply
  • January 9, 2012 at 12:14 am
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    I’m inclined to agree with a few of the commentors here.  While Autism is something that’s a sad affair, and I have sympathy for those who have it, or are raising a child with it, it’s almost arrogant to deride someone who’s not been exposed to it for their lack of knowledge on the subject. YOU know about your child’s autism. I don’t. I can’t be expected to. Otherwise, I’d need to be able to look for the signs of a deaf toddler, so I don’t make the grievous mistake of trying to talk to them in line at the grocery store, and I’d need to know how to tell who has a pacemaker and who doesn’t so I don’t use a microwave in the gas station at the wrong time. All I’m saying is there needs to be a balance here. We’re all activists for those causes that have personal relevance to us, but we need to remember that what our daily lives consist of is not what someone  else’s daily life consists of.

     I can’t remember the last time I saw someone thrown out of a bar for dancing oddly. In that bars are typically filled with drunk people, dancing oddly is actually dancing normally. Regardless, once the husband spoke up, they should have and could have given the person the benefit of the doubt. While it’s sad that they didn’t, it’s also not a crime and shouldn’t be treated as such. My suggestion? Don’t patronize that bar anymore.

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  • January 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm
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    Although what happened to this guy is unfortunate, I think it’s a bit ridiculous to expect everybody to always recognize the signs of autism all the time. We can’t all be psychologists/physicians and therefore many “lay people” will miss the signs. Additionally, he WAS in a bar and I’m sure that the band members deal with far more people on drugs than people with autism, so you can’t really blame them for making the assumption. It is sad, however, that they ignored your husband when he spoke up.

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  • January 8, 2012 at 8:16 pm
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    Bars are for the sale of alcohol not drugs, there is no reason to assume someone in a bar is on drugs, most won’t be!

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  • January 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm
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    It’s not that they are not autism aware, in my own opinion, and I’m a professional who works closely with people who have developmental disabilities.
    If you are in a bar, and you see someone who comes in and is ‘acting strangely’ the first thing isn’t to guess that they have a disability… it’s to guess that they are extremely intoxicated or on drugs. THEY ARE IN A BAR.
    Not everyone is going to have the common characteristics of autism down pat, and that’s okay. There are other people, like the husband in the situation, or me, to point these things out. But it’s no reason to get annoyed at others, or think that it’s terrible they do not know what they should be looking out for with individuals who have autism.
    If it were true we should know what exactly is happening with everyone in situations then we would have to know the criteria for schizophrenia, bi polar, autism, fragile x, etc. It doesn’t make sense.

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  • January 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm
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    What the hell. Even if he WERE on drugs and dancing weirdly because of it, that is fucking ridiculous to throw someone out just because they seem strange. It’s not like he’s hurting anyone, and I’m guessing he was a customer. I’d start a riot. People are SO uptight, it’s insane.

    Reply

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