Sunday, 3 November 2013
We are not your excuse:
It never fails, someone mentions a child screaming down the place in a store and the immediate answer is a lecture about how we shouldn't complain because "What if they're autistic".
This annoys me because:
1. Not every autistic is prone to loud screaming meltdowns. Many become quiet, cry quietly or simply shut down. By continually feeding the assumption that the howling kid is inevitably autistic, you're presenting a version of autism that is incomplete and downright wrong as a result. We are not a stereotype.
2. If every kid throwing a tantrum in a store was autistic, the vast majority of kids would be autistic. Only one in 150 are. Kids throw tantrums, it's a fact of life and most of them are NT. Ergo the default is likely to be an NT throwing a tantrum, not an autistic melting down.
3. It ignores that frequently when people do complain about a kid howling the place down, it's because the parents are basically not parenting. Apparently when there are four adults and one howling kid, it is seemingly impossible for one of them to take said howling kid out of the store. If I had a dime for every case I've seen of multiple adults and a screaming clearly NT kid who is being allowed to aurally assault everyone in earshot? I'd be able to afford a lavish holiday. A tantrum throwing kid can be loud and high pitched to the point of causing ear damage, they are physically painful to listen to. This isn't just a minor inconvenience, it can cause physical harm.
4. It's downright insulting to the many polite and quiet autistic children/adults, who will never receive any defense about their access needs. People are all too willing to excuse a NT brat because "he might be autistic", but when it comes to not being dicks to autistics who are not throwing ourselves on the floor and howling? That's considerably less likely. People will defend a parents right not to parent their entitled NT kid using my neurology as an excuse for them, they won't defend my right not to be assaulted. Perhaps you should consider that those being basically assaulted by said kid might be autistic, any given tantrum is far more likely to mean an autistic is being aurally assaulted by an NT than it is to be an autistic having a meltdown.
I understand that some parents of autistic children get judged hardcore, and I understand that parents of NT kids don't like being criticised when their kid throws a tantrum. But I don't think it's too much to ask that people not use my neurology as an excuse for the spoilt NT aurally assaulting me and that folks stop flat out ignoring that I and many more autistics who don't throw tantrums do exist. I also don't think it's too much to ask that parents take their tantruming kids somewhere that they're not aurally assaulting others, I know it's inconvenient, but you chose to have them, nobody else should have to be hurt by your choice.
Signed, the poor autistic who has lost yet more hearing in their ear because NT parents felt looking at paint was more important than dealing with their NT kid's tantrum which was hitting notes and levels that usually require ear protection when encountered in a job.