Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers

Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers

Whenever I explain that have Aspergers to someone, they look at me with surprise. “Really? But you seem so normal,” most people remark. All I can do is smile awkwardly and mumble something that thanks them for the compliment. However, that “compliment” really feels like a slap in the face. Anyone who did not watch me grow up missed the anguishing years of never fitting in, being bullied by friends, and not knowing how to do simple tasks. Just because I appear normal now does not mean that Aspergers did not affect my life and continues to daily.

Autism awareness has increased in recent years. Because of this, people are much more understanding and ask less unhelpful questions. However, misinformation and stereotypes still continue. Some of the comments that people say to me about my Aspergers or about the disorder in general are extremely rude, hurtful, and bewildering. This stems from lack of education, usually, and not ill intent.

Thus, I decided to make up a list of ten of the main things you should not say to someone with Aspergers. These are comments that I have heard and had to answer. Please know that you are not a bad person if you ever said any of these things. Like mentioned above, most of these comments come from misinformation or lack of knowledge. Some of these comments even come from good intentions but end up hurting your friend or family member with Aspergers.

Also important to remember is that these comments are unhelpful even when someone with Aspergers is not present. Support people, caregivers, medical professionals, family members, and anyone who is close to someone with Autism may be negatively impacted by these words. Even those who are not connected to this disorder by association will be misinformed by the comments below. Thus, please try not to use them in regards to Aspergers or Autism.

Anyway, here is the list of ten things not to say to someone with Aspergers:

  1. Wow, you must be really good with numbers/smart/talented/etcJust like other people, those with Aspergers are unique. Many are good with numbers, but others, like me, might be better with arranging words and letters in a manner that is almost mathematical. Do not assume that one person with Aspergers is like another.
  2. Everything is not black and white. Why don’t you break the rules a little/change your way of doing this/etc? You are way too rigid and unflexible. I know that changing my behaviors and ways of thinking is difficult and stressful. Please do not pressure me. Sometimes you can me to change, but do not force me into something that I am not ready for yet.
  3. Stop taking everything so literally. I cannot understand your sarcasm. I am very sorry. However that is the way my brain works.
  4. Why can’t you just follow directions/understand this like everyone else? Do you think that I want to be confused? Really, I am trying so hard to understand, but my brain process information differently than your’s.
  5. Just join the group and stop being so shy. It isn’t that hard to talk to others. Maybe that helps some people, but it just fills me with more anxiety. When you cannot read or understand those around you, how are you supposed to just grin and make friends?
  6. You seem so normal. How can you have Aspergers? It took me years to learn to relate in this “normal” way. Still, each social interaction fills me with dread and bewilderment. Just because I look normal does not mean function with Aspergers is simple.
  7. He/she got help as a child. Now they can grow out of their Aspergers and be normal. It is not possible to “grow out” of Autism because it is a neurological disorder. Receiving help early in life helps, but that cannot fully cure it. Aspies learn to function as normally as possible with their disorder.
  8. All children have to learn social skills. Aspergers is not a disorder; parents just do not know how to teach those skills to their children. Yes, parents do need to instruct their children how to relate to others. However, Aspergers does not occur when parents neglect to do this. It is a real disorder.
  9. You just need to try harder. It is all in your head, and you can change it if you really want to. Well, technically, you are right; it is all in my head because Autism is a neurological disorder. Anyways, it is not something that I can snap out of or change. Just like someone cannot choose to end cancer, I cannot choose to end Aspergers.
  10. Oh, yes, my neighbor’s sister’s son has Aspergers. He is a nightmare to deal with, and his parents do nothing to deal with it. Talk about bad parenting. Please, do not start complaining about someone else with Autism in front of me. We can be hard to manage, but life is a struggle for us each moment. Instead of judging, try to understand how we see the world.

What are some comments that you have heard that you would add to this list? Please let me know.



135 thoughts on “Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers

  1. […] under my skin, and fellow Word Press blogger annarosemeeds pretty much sums things up in her blog Ten Things Not to Say to Someone with Aspergers. I can relate to the first six points that she […]

  2. Brislady says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts regarding ASD. My father and 4 year old son are on the spectrum so it is interesting to read about your perspective.

    • Thank you for reading! I appreciate my parents so much for how they cared for me even through rough times and am sure your son will be so thankful one day too especially if you are open and interested in learning more. 🙂

      • Tommeyers787 says:

        Hello, My name is Thomas Dean Meyers. I appreciate everything on this list. I live with aspergers myself and I have delt with all of these before and I have also dealt with those close to me not even want to believe that I have aspergers. I’m currently doing research into the link between clinical depression and aspergers syndrome. the numbers are absolutely heartbreaking when you see how many of us have to work through things like that. I’m still In college and the state’s board of ed. thinks its necessary for me to write what I call a “warning letter” to my professors about me and my Asperger’s. I hear a lot of these almost on a day to day basis. It takes a toll on me emotionally since everyone seems to think that its something I can just move past and get over. its either that or I get the jerkoff’s that believe this makes me mentally retarded (I hate the word just as much as you probably do) and begin to make fun of or toy with me just because I’m different. you sau how some people expect us to be good with math. I’m the opposite I suck at math but I Love music. its where I draw happiness out of life. I hate the feeling of having to “fit in” or “act normal” as normality is a social construct that I cant and don’t have any intention of trying to understand. I’m an ambivert… I’m either putting myself out there or hiding behind myself. I just wished more people understood us a little more. because living like this is almost like having to convince yourself to fake your way through another goddamn day just because if you act like you wish you could. well you would be alone anyway since the perception is there is something wrong with me.

        • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. That sounds like a fascinating study and one that could help numerous people. Aspergers is certainly not something you just “get over” or “move past” although you can learn to live with it and have a wonderful life. There are many struggles each day still. The fact that music brings you happiness is wonderful. I hope that you can find more people to understand and support you. Never give up. It’s difficult but not impossible.

  3. Unknown says:

    Actually people who are put on the autism spectrum, prefer honesty, there aren’t certain things you shouldn’t say to them. You should just expect them to correct you, if they do not agree with what you are saying. People with Aspergers are better off getting other people’s views on the world, they will be quicker to understand them. Just like you people on this website are better off looking up some info on people with Aspergers based on someone with Aspergers perspective. I say this because many people who clicked on this website to learn about people with Aspergers and most likely how to handle them, need to widen their view on the world using real information. Also if you are a smart ass who needs to comment, “but person I have never met before, people with autism/Aspergers have no empathy what is the point of speaking your mind to them,” this is simply not true.

    • Hm. That might be true for some people with autism certainly. It depends. As someone on the spectrum, there are certain things I am told constantly that I hate and have learned to bite my tongue about because that’s how I need to cope in this world. However, I also see your point. Thanks!

      • Rachel says:

        Did “unknown” not know you were on the spectrum, Anna Rose? It seemed like s/he was digging into you about being a “smart donkey” and not giving “real information” from “someone with Aspergers’ perspective”. Yeah, people with ASD prefer honestly, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get sick of hearing the same ignorant comments over and over…

        Was the post even for the purpose of giving information to people who want to “learn about how to handle people with Aspergers'”, or was a list of things that annoy us for other ASDers to commiserate about? For some reason, I thought it was primarily the latter. Maybe I was wrong.

        • I’m not really sure. I certainly prefer honesty, but I still get hurt by unkind or misinformed comments. I would prefer people would be honest but kind and respectful. The purpose of the list was both. It helps me to vent a bit and hopefully other people to know they aren’t alone. I hope it will help others too to understand what it is like to have autism/Aspergers.

      • MommaS says:

        As a Mom who has had the blessing for 30 plus years of a son on the aspergers spectrum, I know and have heard many of these comments. I have also heard horrible comments that suggested my child be kept from other children rather than rude bullies being made to own up for how they had treated him. It is hard to process as a parent the differences in children as well as I had three who were not autistic, that are highly productive men.. I heard accusations of bad parent to things I won’t repeat… My point is, aspergers is hard. Rude or uneducated comments make it harder for not only the one living with it, but also their loved ones who are desperately trying to figure out how to help make things make sense… Both for the one afflicted and the rest of the family. I appreciate your candor and accurate accessment you have listed, but I also found that honest explanation of what was going on, from when someone was being sarcastic, to telling a joke, and just being plain mean, helped my son sort things into compartments he could understand or at least respond to in a way that protected him.. but that honest comments I am talking about came from a trusted person, not a know it all unknown who hasn’t lived with the disorder… My love and thoughts to you…

        • Wow, you are so wise. Thank you. It is certainly hard for a parent or loved one to hear different comments too. I know my mother heard many things about me growing up too. It’s not easy. Talking through the comments can be very helpful. Thank you for being a great mother. 🙂

  4. Ricky Herndon says:

    “Concrete” has become a swear word to my mom because of my Aspergers. She has a hard time relating to a black and white person in a gray world.

  5. Rebecca Mueller says:

    The comments that enrage me more than any of them are…”Oh, you don’t have Aspergers. You’re just ADHD.” Really?? Are you a freaking doctor?! OR “You’re too social to have Aspergers”. thank you so much for your unhelpful opinion that makes me have even more self doubt!!! Jerk!
    What they don’t understand is that putting on “normal face” all day long to appear normal is so exhausting that I can hardly form a sentence when I get home. They don’t understand that I have to detach 4 or 5 times during one simple dinner in public by going to the restroom and just standing in the quiet. Why? Because I can hear your lips sticking together when you speak, the knives and forks scraping plates, jaws chewing ice, the whistle sound some people make when they pronounce the letter ‘s’, I feel every little breeze…all the while I have to somehow focus and interject in a conversation I don’t care about. Even worse…I can’t understand why we’re still talking about that topic. What they don’t understand is that the eye contact that I’m forcing myself to make because it’s what I’m “supposed” to do turns my stomach, makes me feel so vulnerable and awkward. I feel like the entire world is looking at me.
    Another favorite is when I’m talking to someone and they keep trying to place themselves in to my line of sight or leaning their head over to get my eyes because I’m not giving them their desired eye contact! Grr!! STOP focusing on my lack of eye contact!! Just take what I’m saying seriously for once and just understand that the mere fact that I’m even trying to hold a conversation with you is close to a miracle!

  6. aziz zoubir says:

    i have asperger and i know a kid in my family also has it whin he was too yong his head was so big so hi just sleep all the time but now hi is normal and hi has a super memory

  7. Meghan says:

    Something to add to the list.
    I never shout.
    My parents can be quite loud for me, and it upsets me when they say they never shout. Everyone’s different. Remember, people with Asperger’s are more prone to sensory issues.

  8. I have Aspergers and I don’t give a fuck about anyone saying any of these. I don’t have a weak mind unlike you, I can defend myself in situations.

    • I’m glad to hear that you have a strong mind and can defend yourself. Strength comes in different forms. Some people are more sensitive and caring while others don’t mind what others say. Both have benefits and disadvantages.

    • thomas says:

      okay that’s great dude, not everyone is like you and its not about a weak or strong mind and its not about defending yourself. most of us with aspergers if you knew anything about it are extremely deficient in social situations, its aso know there is a common link between aspergers and clinical depression, so not only is it something that can be somewhat offensive it is something that can make us self conscious. I don’t know what it is that makes you think every single person with this disability are the same. no one deals with this in the same way and its kind of ignorant of yourself to go around saying were all just weak minded human beings who obviously deal with the same issues you do.

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