Top 10 snappy answers to annoying comments about autism

Lisa Jo Rudy


If you're a parent with a child on the spectrum, you've probably responded to the same annoying remarks and questions a thousand times. Here's a handy list of responses that...you'll probably never use out loud (but are fun to imagine using)!

1. He can’t be autistic -- he can talk! (or make eye contact, smile, engage)
And yet, amazingly, he’s still autistic! Y’see, autism is a spectrum disorder, and that means …

2. Oh, she must be SO good at math! (or science or music)
Actually, her great talent is in memorizing and reciting lines from Sponge Bob videos! (Or those annoying Thomas the Tank Engine songs!)

3. All he needs is more discipline, and he’ll get the message.
Yup, it’s true -- if you give a child enough time outs, he’ll just stop being autistic. And if I speak French to you loudly enough, you’ll become fluent!

4. You poor thing, it must be so upsetting to have a child with a disability.
Yes, it can be hard. And pity really helps me to get through the day and feel better about myself and my child. So…thanks so much!

5. Will he be able to go to college (or get married or hold down a job)?
Hm. Good question. By the way, has your daughter’s divorce been finalized yet? And I’m so sorry to hear that your son was recently laid off from his job…

6. I have a friend whose child was autistic, and she cured him!
Wow! So I guess she’s enjoying the millions she made after figuring out how to cure autism? I bet her second home is a yacht!

7. If she can’t behave properly, you shouldn’t BRING her to the grocery store!
Wow -- that would be great. Should I fax you my grocery list, or send it by email? I’ll really enjoy the delivery service!

8. We can’t include him in typical classes, it wouldn’t be fair to the other kids.
Hm, that’s an interesting perspective. So I guess you have a pretty big endowment to pay for all the law suits? That must be great!

9. We can’t accept her at our school because she doesn’t have a learning disability
Ohhhh… what a shame! Oh, wait, look, she’s suddenly developed dyslexia! Can she come to your school now?

10. You should make more time for yourself!
You’re so right! So will you be babysitting tonight or tomorrow night?

Courtesy Lisa Jo Rudy's About.com blog. About.com is a part of the New York Times Company.


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