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10 Things Not to Say to Someone With Asperger's

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As a woman with Asperger’s, and having recently shared my diagnosis with friends and family on my blog, I’ve experienced a lot of different feedback from those around me because of it. Some things people say make me feel good about myself and make me believe that sharing who I am was a good idea… and then there are those who don’t know what to say and make me feel guilty and/or ashamed about being open. If you fall into either of these categories, or if you have some form of autism yourself, you should definitely read what I’m about to share with you. It will help, I promise.

These are the top 10 things you probably shouldn’t say to someone with Asperger’s.

1. I didn’t even know you had it!

This. Is. Irritating. Beyond all understanding. You have no idea if you’ve never experienced it yourself. Yes, I may seem “normal” and neurotypical on the outside, but I do that on purpose. I make myself appear that way on purpose. Not just because I’ve been made fun of in the past, but also because I don’t want my autism to be a defining factor in my personality. I have it, and I wish I didn’t sometimes, and I really don’t need you to point out that you didn’t know because I know that!

2. Are/were you in special ed?

Yes. I was. I’m not proud of it, though. Which is why it makes me mad. I don’t know about my fellow Aspies, but I was in special ed through most of middle school and high school and I hated it. I didn’t really need it. I am smart and I am a very capable student, but it’s my social interactions that needed work. And after a year of getting help with that, I was fine. My grades were above average and I was at the top 5 percent of my class, and I’m pretty sure most Aspies are also very capable of handling their studies. So there’s no need to ask the question.

3. Do you wish you didn’t have Asperger’s?

Doesn’t everyone wake up some days and wish they didn’t have some aspect of their personality / face / body / whatever? There’s no point in asking this question, because it’s irrelevant. There’s no changing who we are, and sometimes these types of questions can appear to be hurtful to us. I’m proud of who I am and who God made me to be. Why wouldn’t you be?

4. I’m glad I don’t have autism.

I’ve never heard this personally, but I can imagine someone else has. How rude. If you knew someone who didn’t have an arm, would you walk up to them and tell them you’re glad you have both of your arms? No! Why? Because it’s common courtesy. Just because they’re different from you doesn’t mean they get along worse than you. Life may be a little bit harder for them, but they can live with it just fine. And so can you.

5. Have you considered not having kids Because of your Asperger’s?

This one has been brought up to me before, and it was by someone close to me who said it because he didn’t agree with my diagnosis in the first place (how that’s possible is baffling to me). And he didn’t want his kids to have “learning disabilities” like me. Fun fact: Asperger’s isn’t a learning disability. We don’t experience anything less than a “normal” human being. We just interact socially differently. That’s it. I want to have kids just as much as a neurotypical person does. Maybe even more so. And if my kids have Asperger’s, so be it. I’d actually be all for that. Because I’m happy with how I believe God made me and they should be too.

6. Do you take medication?

If anything, I’d take meds for my anxiety or for my panic attacks, but Asperger’s can’t be healed with a few meds. End of discussion.

7. Are you like Sheldon Cooper/Rain Man/insert famous person here?

I am like me and they are like them. Everyone is different. No two people with autism are the same. I’ve heard it said that when you’ve met one person with Asperger’s, you’ve done just that. Met one person with Asperger’s. And I couldn’t agree more.

8. Do you need to see a counselor/therapist?

I’ve never visited a therapist and I don’t know of any other Aspie who needs to either, but to each their own. I have family and friends who are enough. I don’t need another person prying into my life with questions. I’m good with who I’ve got.

9. Are you obsessed with something right now?

Some people with Asperger’s tend to find an obsession in a subject, like a book or a celebrity or whatnot. But I would rather not share that with someone out of the blue. What if I don’t even know? It just seems like a personal and rude question to ask.

10. Stop sharing about your Asperger’s.

As long as I have the ability to type and/or speak, I will not stop sharing about my uniqueness. About the strange brain I believe God gave me and the abilities that come along with it. Awareness is key for people who don’t have what you have to understand, and until the whole world understands I’m a human being just like them with a little extra in my brain, I won’t stop sharing posts or writing posts or talking about it. So, that’s that.

If you don’t have Asperger’s or autism or even if you do, I hope this list helped. It definitely helped to write it all down, and I hope you take to heart what I said and try to remember next time you talk to someone who has Asperger’s. If you have any other questions at all, please feel free to ask. I’m an open book if you ask!

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Photo by contributor.

Originally published: January 10, 2018
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