This is something which bugs me a lot so I’ve decided to voice it - I’ve seen it in here and in the world around me and it seems to be happening more and more - people playing the autism card. For absolute clarity, I wholeheartedly believe employers etc should make reasonable adjustments for ASD where there is a genuine need, but too often I am seeing people try to use their autism as a means of getting more or justifying actions which aren’t right.
As someone on the spectrum, I don’t want to stand out, I don’t want others thinking I’m getting specialist treatment or get away with stuff because I’m autistic. Drawing attention to the autistic cause negatively isn’t going to help anyone, least of all ourselves.
For example people have posted on here saying they feel they should get to break social distancing/ lockdown rules because they are autistic (despite the fact that this puts them and others at risk), a year or two back I knew an autistic guy who set off an alarm because he didn’t get his way, the real reason was because he was annoyed at someone and generally throws his toys out of the pram when he doesn’t get his own way - his defence was ‘I am autistic’ - so I challenged him on this, and he eventually conceded that he used his ASD to cover up for his behaviours. The same I feel applies to violence or other bad/ anti-social behaviour - there is a huge difference between a trait being activated and a learned behaviour to deal with it. If someone says ‘I hit that person because I wasn’t coping with a particular trait being triggered’ - that’s a fair statement. To say It hit that person because I’m autistic’ is not - I accept there are links and I gave more sympathy for young children on this one who don’t understand law, social norms and values etc but as adults we have to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
So yes we should (if we want to) disclose ASD so as reasonable adjustments are made, but I wish people would stop misusing autism as an excuse where it shouldn’t be used. I worry people will tire of ‘but it’s because I’m autistic’ to the extent that genuine needs will get brushed aside - so everybody loses.
Playing the Autism card I believe is completely and whole heartedly acceptable. Its easy to say " I have autism" if you have multiple neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities such as dyspraxia, dyslexia, sensory processing dysfunction and deemed to be high functioning. Even if you try to explain to people how each diagnosis affect you, your usually dismissed and told to just get on with it without reasonable adaptions be made and people make statements comparing me to someone has one of the neurodevelopmental disorders or learning difficulties and their managing well. at the end of the day we do not know how people think, we don't know what the persons fresh hold from stress and anxiety and not all copy strategy work everyone, how do you know that he was answering you honestly or did you pressure him in giving the response you wanted him to. pulling the alarm might have been a failed attempt to get the attention for help because no one is taking him seriously.
Personally having a diagnosis of autism 1 and waiting to be assessed for dyspraxia, dyslexia, sensory dysfunction, Aphantasia I can tell you that haven all these condition and regulating emotions is difficult and getting support for them is even harder. because of these other condition being comorbid with the autism. when I have an autistic meltdown, I dissociate, I have no full memory or control over the event when it is happening. memories of the meltdown to eventually appear but it may take days to a week for me to gain any sort of memory from during the event happening. its embarrassing, I try to take responsibility for my actions and I have to live with the consequences of punching walls and self mutilation. my autistic meltdown have landed me into a police cell they are that bad. but to everyone I don't look autistic straight away unless you spend enough time with me to gauge the mask slip for being me to become so exhausted and stressed and I start stimming.
Disclosing the autism in my experience hasn't help, its lead to discrimination, they confuse mental illness with neurodevelopmental disorders making you an easy target for those who have a bad attitude.
autism is spectrum and everyone has to accept that with all neurodevelopmental and learning difficulties it not just autism that affect people in a range of ways. People are already brushing off autism when their is genuine need support and adjustment, it that they know some with autism and their coping and assume you should be the exact same or you have some who neuro- typical and jealous of the adaption and make a big fuss to halting it and possible stop the adjustments being made, its and uphill battle for understanding and support.
I get your angle and believe me I’m all for reasonable adjustments. My anger is directed at those who think they should use their condition to justify wrongdoing. So people saying “I should get to break this rule/ law because I’m autistic” or justifying violence with “but I’m autistic” - yes the condition throws up challenges but we all (well at least most of us) can comprehend right and wrong - learned behaviours do this. If people keep seeking to use autism to justify actions or behaviour, tolerance from others will grow thinner than it already is.
And what I’m trying to explain. Your perception of the person using the autism as excuse for what you call wrong doing isn’t just autism. It’s mental illness Co- morbid with the autism so it’s a autism issue in some sense of the words. People should not think of all autistic people are the same and judge people by their own merit instead of there disorders and difficulties. People judging someone with autism is as prejudice as someone being racist. Most people despite the awareness are still arrogant towards autism and other disorders and disability’s. It’s the majority of people attitude need to change in the way they behave and think and use a little more compassion.