(A note on Emma’s post. Because this is a fictitious dialogue that Emma wrote, for clarity’s sake, I asked her if it was okay to put the Autistic person’s words and thoughts in italics and the non autistic’s words in quotation marks. She agreed. My part of the conversation is in parentheses.)
For today’s blog post, let’s pretend you are the Autistic one and I should be the non autistic.
“Oh dear! Why are you hurting yourself?”
(I asked Emma whether the Autistic person could use spoken language to speak.)
You can’t speak and I will talk for both of us, it will be more authentic that way. Maybe you talk, but not with the words that best describe what’s in your mind.
“I don’t understand, do you want to go outside? Why are you biting yourself? Does that mean you do?”
You are thinking about expectations and how hitting yourself takes away the pain of not being understood and unable to say the words that will help.
“Here! We will go outside. It’s a beautiful day.”
I don’t want to go outside. I want to read a story.
Pointless bottling emotions of endless frustration cause words to wither in the recesses of the mind. Biting becomes the only way to stay rooted, but causes everyone watching to respond in loud voices of angry fear. Until there is understanding, you are alone in the terrible confusion of other people’s voices that are louder than yours.
Caution is needed whenever we decide we know what is in the mind of another human being.