Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The ever-expanding list of neurotypical privilege

This is the complete list collected so far from comments to this post. I will continue to add to this as further privileges are submitted. This list will have a permanent link in the sidebar to make it easy to find. If I have left out your contribution, this was not intentional, and will be corrected if you let me know.

I am currently working on an edited version, which I believe will be more reader-friendly, and thus have the potential to reach more people. A draft will be available here soon, and everyone who wishes to participate will have the opportunity to influence which items appear on the final list.

Thanks again to all who have worked on this so far!

  1. My teachers are not labeled bad teachers if they allow me to be myself.

  2. My teachers ARE labeled bad teachers if they punish me for being myself.

  3. People will not constantly tell me that I need to work on the things which I am very bad at, at the expense of things which I am good at and enjoy doing.

  4. Schools, colleges and universities teach in ways that suit my neurology.

  5. No school, college or university will refuse to admit me purely because of neurology.

  6. People who have power over my education will probably not decide that I need to spend my formal education time learning non-academic skills in lieu of receiving the academic education which most of my peers receive.

  7. Teaching a child of my neurotype the skills they will need in their life in this society is called education or parenting, not therapy or treatment.

  8. When a child of my neurotype refuses to obey a direct command from a teacher, holding them down with four adults so forcefully that bad bruises are left, or worse, is not considered to be a completely appropriate and understandable response (even when the child fights back in response to the physical abuse). Neither is having the child arrested.
  9. If I am assigned only management help positions with my school's sports team despite being an actual team member with a number, am allowed to play only in the last few minutes of the last game I am allowed to be a team member according to school policy, and I break school records, the news coverage will be of how worthless the coach was for keeping me benched for nearly four entire seasons rather than on how awesome he was for letting me play those few minutes.

  10. I can reveal to my boss and coworkers that I am NT, without fear of losing my job.

  11. People do not suddenly fire me, break up with me or refuse to be my friend when I disclose my neurology.

  12. If I have sufficient skills, qualifications and experience to do a job and I am given said job, giving me said job is not seen as an act of charity.

  13. If I'm under-qualified, but I'm still "the best of a bad bunch" amongst the candidates applying, people do not assume that I got the job because the employer felt sorry for me because of my neurology.

  14. I don't have to worry that if I tell my boss I am NT they will find something wrong with my work and fire me.

  15. If an NT asks for clarification from a boss, or to not work on the same schedule as a difficult co-worker, it's not seen as an accommodation that requires documentation, and the NT being too needy and difficult.

  16. If my job doesn't work out, it is not automatically my fault.

  17. If I am an adult, I can be a sexual being without the assumption that any partner attracted to me must be a predator or pedophile.

  18. My partner can express attraction to or admiration for aspects of my behavior or personality which happen to be characteristic of my neurology without his being seen as attempting to take advantage of a weaker person.

  19. If I have biological children, no one worries, or assumes that I or my partner worry, that they might inherit my neurology.

  20. No one speculates about whether children raised by someone of my neurology is likely to become feral.

  21. If I have relationship problems or get divorced, people do not automatically assume that my neurology was the sole o main cause for these problems.

  22. I will not have been socialized out of my natural ways of being to the extent that when I see other NTs I will have no clue how to interact with them for fear that I won't be accepted or that I will alienate them by being too autistic.

  23. I probably won't have to deal with feeling lonely due to being in some weird 'no-man's land' where I am either 'too NT' for the 'normals' or 'too normal' for the NTs.

  24. I won't have to feel too afraid to even try to go to a social group for NTs as there is not much chance I will be rejected for not being NT enough or alienating the other members.

  25. If I am in a relationship with another person of my neurological type, the reaction of society is not that no one else would date either of us.

  26. In addition, being told I am 'encouraging' said other person of my neurological type is not an insult but a compliment.

  27. If I am involved in a romantic relationship, it is not automatically assumed to be an act of pity on the part of the other person involved.

  28. If I am asexual, I will not be used as evidence that all people with my neurotype are asexual.

  29. I am never told that I should not have children, lest I pass on the genes that cause my neurology.

  30. I am never told I cannot be a good parent simply because of my neurology.

  31. The types of housing that is built for people of my neurological type come in all shapes and sizes, not just in forms that are big enough for just one person to live in per unit without a life partner, because they assume I will never have one anyway.

  32. If I have an autistic child, many people will consider me to be above all criticism.

  33. If I have an autistic child, I can call myself an autistic parent, even though I am not myself autistic. And people will know what I mean.

  34. If I have an autistic child, or any child at all, I can be sure that most people assume I am neurotypical.

  35. My parents are not labeled bad parents if they allow me to be myself.

  36. My parents ARE labeled bad parents if they punish me for being myself.

  37. No one makes up a poorly-defined pop-psychology "disorder" (such as CADD) designed to explain the negative effect we NTs have on our autistic-spectrum partners.

  38. If an autistic person criticizes any parent of an autistic child, then I can usually get away with painting that person as hating parents or believing all parents of autistic children are bad parents.

  39. People do not assume that my family, friends and partner will need a support group to deal with living with me.

  40. If my parents or spouse abuse me, I will not be told that my neurology drove them to do it.

  41. People of my neurology are not generally considered burdensome to our families.

  42. People of my neurology are not generally considered burdensome to tax-payers.

  43. Nobody will murder me because of my neurology.

  44. If I am murdered, my murderer will not be let off because killing someone of my neurology is an act of mercy.

  45. People do not assume that my neurology is a valid reason to force me to live in an institution.

  46. Spending time around me is not seen as an act of heroism.

  47. If I am bullied, people will not assume that my neurology means I am at least partially to blame, or that the bullying would stop if I tried harder to behave like someone non-NT.

  48. If I have a medical problem, I do not worry that my doctor will dismiss it as part of my neurotypicality.

  49. When seeking medical care, I am not expected to reveal that I am NT.

  50. When attempting to purchase health insurance, I do not fear I will be rejected because I am NT.

  51. If I am ever severely ill enough to wind up in the hospital, I will not have to deal with medical professionals telling each other within my earshot that I have the cognitive functioning of an infant.

  52. If I am in the hospital, and nothing in my health problem affects the functioning of my voice, I will not encounter situations where people make dangerous decisions that I am powerless to refute, and then interpret my physical resistance as failure to understand the decision.

  53. When medical professionals or any one else learn of some of my traits and needs related to my neurotype, they are not confused by them, nor amazed that they've never seen or heard someone with that collection of traits before.

  54. The majority of people who make the laws of my nation share my neurology.

  55. I can assume that police officers will not become alarmed at my natural body language, and find it necessary to subdue me in advance of any wrongdoing.

  56. I do not have to carry a special card or bracelet with me that explains how my neurology presents itself, because it is otherwise unsafe for me to be out of my house alone because of how law enforcement or other institutions might treat me for showing my natural body movements or the sounds I naturally make.

  57. The services that I need to survive not only already exist, but even if I use those services on a 24-hour basis, I will always be considered independent.

  58. Services for people like me are not considered a "special" add-on to ordinary life that can be taken away at any time.

  59. The skills and talents at which people of my neurology tend to have an advantage, around which the system of the society in which I live is founded, are presumed to be objectively more important than those more commonly found in people of other neurological types.

  60. People might actually have the patience to help me with things I need help with instead of assuming that I will be incapable no matter how much I am taught. This help will also most often be provided in a manner that I can understand, and teaching me in a way I can understand is not seen as some type of 'accommodation' or done out of pity.

  61. My deficits are not considered deficits at all. Instead, they are considered universal faults in human cognition (even if they are not universal). And a good deal of effort is undertaken by my entire society to compensate for those deficits.

  62. If it happens that I am better at something, more empathic, more sensitive, more honest or authentic, it is not considered a defect.

  63. If I fail to understand autistic people, this is attributed to a deficit inherent in autistic people, rather than in me.

  64. If I have a particular talent or ability, I can be sure that my talent will not be called a "splinter skill" or some other demeaning word.

  65. When, in order to get access to the things I need or want in life, I am required to read and understand instructions, fill out applications or other paperwork, visit offices, or navigate bureaucracies, websites, or customer service departments, all of these things will have been designed BY and FOR people whose neurological processing is similar to mine.

  66. I am not asked to continually produce documentation or forced to fight an uphill battle in order to constantly prove that I actually need some help with certain things.

  67. The definitions of rude and irritating conduct were developed by and for people with my neurology.

  68. If I find someone or something irritating or otherwise making me uncomfortable, I can assume that others around me will support me.

  69. I am not praised for acting less neurotypical, or punished for acting more neurotypical.

  70. My success is not measured by the extent to which I act non-neurotypical.

  71. I am not seen as selfish, lazy, or stupid for wanting to act in accordance with my neurology.

  72. I will not be subjected to endless impromptu annoying 'social skills' lessons 'for my own good' just because I am assumed not to understand certain things because I am NT.
    No one ever plopped me in a chair, held me down, grabbed my chin, and refused to let me go until I "Show them orange crayon". After all, my childhood, and the freedom and playtime that go with it, were considered important.

  73. I am not expected to alter or suppress my natural ways of moving, interacting or expressing emotion in most circumstances.

  74. If I fail to alter or suppress my natural ways of moving, interacting or expressing emotion, I do not fear public ridicule or exclusion because of this.

  75. If I am suppressing my ordinary body language, and then revert to my ordinary body language under stress, I am not accused of either not trying hard enough, or pretending to be neurotypical.

  76. Social orders built around my neurological type are presumed to be natural, fundamental to the human condition, and unable to be changed in any way.

  77. When prospective parents and others speak of wanting a "healthy child," I know that they mean a child like me.

  78. No one expects me to gratefully embrace them as an ally when they tell me that they support an organization that's dedicated to preventing more people like me from being born.

  79. I will not be asked to leave a space, or to change where I live, because people are uncomfortable with my neurotypical behaviors.

  80. No one sees my neurology as being in need of prevention, treatment, or cure.

  81. It is very rare for people to say that people with my neurology are innately inferior to others, or that humans are hindering evolutionary progress by allowing people like me to be born.

  82. I am not treated like it is terrible news to find out I am neurologically typical.

  83. People do not say that they would rather die than have my neurology, or that I am heroic for not killing myself because of my neurology.

  84. People do not describe the births of people with my neurology as innately tragic, or seek to prevent us being born.

  85. My neurology is not classified as a mental disorder.

  86. I do not have to go through a whole month of being forced to see stereotyped, pity-party images of people with my neurotype and various intolerant, bigoted attempts to make sure that future generations of people with my neurotype do not exist and that my neurotype is "something for the history books."

  87. People don't accuse me of grandiosity or derisively dismiss it if I suggest that some admirable historical figure might have been neurotypical.

  88. People don't accuse me of grandiosity or derisively dismiss it if I suggest that some fictional character whose creator hasn't explicitly declared him or her to be neurotypical strikes me as being neurotypical.

  89. I will not be patronized because of my neurology.

  90. It is considered good for people who are not like me, to try to act more like me.

  91. I can talk about my life without being asked what I think may have caused me to be neurotypical.

  92. I can be fairly sure that the mannerisms, vocal tone, and other such attributes typical of my neurology are not used as iconic symbols of stupidity in my culture.

  93. I am no one's badge of honor, just because they live with me. I am not a trial sent by God, a punishment, a blessing in disguise, a saint, or a devil. I'm just here, like anybody else. My family takes this as a given.

  94. Aspects of my personality and ways of functioning in the world are not labeled as "symptoms" of any kind of "disorder."

  95. If I have troubles in my life, or problems doing certain things, people will not automatically blame my neurology, nor will they claim that the answer to these problems is to change my neurology instead of changing my circumstances or my society.

  96. When I behave in ways that come naturally to me, I don't have to worry that anyone will think I'm "crazy," or otherwise deficient.
    I do not have to live with my parents waving that bleeping thing in my face about my younger sibling possibly becoming my legal guardian because my neurotype is considered defective and his isn't.

  97. I am never told that I'm a weirdo, geek, retard, or "not a functioning human being" simply for my quirky behaviors.

  98. I can relieve my stress in ways which other people will not automatically characterize as disturbing.

  99. If I am happy with the way my mind works, no one questions this or argues that most people with similar brains would prefer to be different.

  100. Even if I completely lack a conscience, I am automatically considered less dangerous than autistic people.

  101. I don't get praised for acting inauthentic. In fact, I may even be shamed for it, especially if I am someone important like a politician.

  102. I might not get picked last for teams in every single gym class due to having coordination issues.

  103. If I am picked on in school, the teachers are less likely to simply ignore it just because I'm 'the weird kid' and therefore the bullying can't possibly be the fault of the perpetrators.

  104. No one has suggested that people of my neurology be subjected to beatings in order to change their behavior.

  105. I have never had a bunch of people jump up and down on top of me attempting to elicit pain responses typical of their neurology.

  106. I will never have people tell me that I am a mindless waste of space and then deliberately fail to make any attempt to save my life in an emergency.

  107. My natural movements and traits are not used by non-neurotypicals to ridicule others of their neurological type, either jokingly or maliciously.

  108. I do not have to tremble in fear every time a group of bigots decides to go on a witch hunt and say to random "weirdoes," "Do you have autism?" and then be subjected to teasing, bullying, and ridicule if I make the mistake of saying yes.

  109. I do not face insults, various objects thrown at me, and orders to leave the general area if I disclose my neurology.

  110. My behaviors, abilities, and skill levels at age 2 or 3 are considered indicative of an immature phase of life that will pass naturally, not as representative of my prognosis for the rest of life.

  111. If my abilities, sills, knowledge, and maturity at age 30 exceed those of a neurotypical 2 year old, I am not assumed to be faking my neurology. Children and adults are assumed to be different.

  112. If I am past the age of 18, treating me in a manner consistent with common treatment of a young child is considered degrading, not necessary.

  113. My parents probably won't hide my clothes when they think they are 'age-inappropriate' for me (in my case, the comfy sweatshirts that were made IN ADULT SIZES and thus FOR ADULTS TO WEAR 'make [me]look too childish and [I] should grow up').

  114. People do not use my neurology to claim I can never become an adult.

  115. When I accomplish something important to me, people do not go "awwww" and titter in the same voice that they use on small children who do something considered cute but ultimately meaningless.

  116. If I tell people that I am neurotypical, they will not automatically start to treat me as though I am a young child.

  117. I have never been asked to prove that I am neurotypical.

  118. NTs can lie and will be believed. ASDs can tell the truth and people will assume they're lying due to body language and lack of eye contact

  119. If I commit any crime from harassment or abuse to murder of an autistic person, there is a good chance I will be considered a hero or martyr by a sizeable number of powerful people.

  120. If I harm an autistic person in any of the above manners or more, my word will almost certainly be given more weight than theirs, if they are alive to give their word.

  121. I am never told that the fact I have a certain cognitive skill means that I am lying when I say I lack another cognitive skill. Nor am I dismissed as incapable of things I truly can do, because I lack certain cognitive skills.

  122. If I am able to learn something that is difficult for neurotypicals to learn, and learn it only with great effort, and then lose the ability the moment I have something else to concentrate on (or lose it gradually over time), I am not accused of "presenting as more neurotypical" or "seeking attention" or "trying to look neurotypical".

  123. If I exhibit a skill or behavior that a good part (say, half) of the people of my neurology do not exhibit, I am not accused of being a liar and being non-neurotypical.

  124. I can tell the truth without fearing that the other party will assume I'm lying due to my natural body language and degree of eye contact. (this is similar to what someone else said - some of the other ones probably are, too).

  125. I can share my opinions publicly without fear of being accused of not really being neurotypical.

  126. When I argue, I can be right sometimes, with anyone.

  127. I am allowed to use the word “we” without being accused of trying to speak for all neurotypical people.

  128. If my interests are considered typical and acceptable for someone of my age and gender, I can discuss them as much as I like without being seen as strange or obsessive.

  129. People will not tell me that I can't be neurotypical unless an autistic person tells me I'm neurotypical.

  130. People do not assume that all NTs have the same views on politics, religion and philosophy.

  131. If I tell someone my neurotype, they will not automatically assume that I must be just like another person of my neurotype that they know.

  132. If I am visibly upset, people generally assume something must have upset me, and will generally try to help me.

  133. I am never or rarely asked to explain what it means or what it is like to be neurotypical.

  134. People don't things to me like, "You don't really seem neurotypical," or "If you hadn't told me, I would never have guessed you were neurotypical," and expect me to take it as reassuring or complimentary.

  135. If someone of my neurology commits a crime, people do not automatically assume I am more likely to commit a similar crime.

  136. When people realize I am neurotypical, they do not ask me if I am like a particular character they have seen in a movie.

  137. People don’t usually confuse me with another neurotypical person, or expect me to take responsibility for what the other person has said.

  138. People do not assume that NTs all have the same taste in food, books, music, films, television shows and similar.

  139. If an non-NT *does* say that non-NTs (or certain types of non-NTs) are better than NTs, I do not have to explain millions of times that I do not agree with this person. Nor do I have to repeatedly tell everyone that accepting my life as valuable does NOT mean assuming others are inferior.

  140. If someone of my neurology can do something well, I will not be punished for being unable to do the same thing well or at all.

  141. If I exhibit a skill or behavior that a good part (say, half) of the people of my neurology do not exhibit, I am not accused of being a liar and being non-neurotypical.

  142. If a certain amount of other people of my neurology exhibit a certain trait, no one feels compelled to claim that we must all exhibit this trait, or not really be neurotypical.

  143. If I am not religious, people do not assume this is because I am angry with God for giving me my type of brain.

  144. People are not pre-inclined to view anything I say in certain ways because I am neurotypical.

  145. If I am unhappy, people do not automatically assume my unhappiness is directly caused by my neurology.

  146. If I write an autobiography, it will be labeled a book about me as an individual and/or a book about specific things I have done (acting, mountain-climbing, sport, science, music, whatever)rather than a book about neurotypicality.

  147. My uniqueness is often treasured by my family and friends.

  148. If I do something that might be construed as selfish and self-centered, my actions will not be used as proof that all people of my neurology are selfish and self-centered. The same can be said for any other negative trait which I may on occasion display, or be misinterpreted as having.

  149. It is not seen as my job to explain to anyone that asks, what it is like being neurotypical, simply by virtue of my neurotypicalness.

  150. If I do something nice, it will not be used as evidence that all people with my neurology are incapable of lying, bullying, or meanness.

  151. I am never told that my neurology means that I will never amount to anything in life.

  152. In films or TV shows, NT characters are portrayed by actual NT actors.

  153. If I have a religion, non-religious people are unlikely to assume that I was manipulated into my beliefs because my neurology makes me unable to think to myself. Nor will they assume that my faith is a crutch to help me survive the burden of my own neurology.

  154. Nobody ever accuses me of not really writing the things I write, just because of my neurology.

  155. When I make a drawing, a story or a sculpture, or anything remotely like that, people will either like it or dislike it, but no one will say that I am not really creative, nor would they praise my work out of pity or because they think of me as a small child or some sort of animal.

  156. I am never told that my skills are impossible because a textbook says that people of my neurology are not good at that.

  157. My family, friends, and significant others are not told that I am incapable of relating to other human beings.

  158. People do not suggest that groups that are made for the benefit of people of my neurological type be led and ruled by people of a different neurological type, because mine is inherently incapable.

  159. If my sexual orientation, gender identity, lifestyle preferences or beliefs are deemed nonstandard, others will not suggest that I am pretending, incorrect, jumping the gun or unable to really know such things about myself because I am neurotypical. They will not use my neurotypical status as a basis for defending intolerant remarks or beliefs about any of these identities.

  160. Success is modeled after the viewpoints and lives of people of my neurology.

  161. When I am with a friend or my partner that is not neurotypical, people will not address them instead of me when they want to know something about me, or speak to them after I ask them a question, etc.

  162. I expect people to presume intellect and competence with me.

  163. People do not suggest that groups that are made for the benefit of people of my neurological type be lead and ruled by people of a different neurological type, because mine is inherently incapable.

  164. When I am with a friend or my partner that is not neurotypical, people will not address them instead of me when they want to know something about me, or speak to them after I ask them a question, etc.

  165. If I fail, most will encourage me by telling me that I will ultimately succeed.

  166. Nobody ever claims that I am too low-functioning to understand my own point of view, and that I am merely the puppet of people of another neurology who wish to use me for their own benefit.

  167. If I achieve some sort of success (academically, professionally, socially, or otherwise), I will not be patronizingly turned into an "inspiration" for other people.

  168. I am not assumed to be less capable of living on my own simply because I am neurotypical.

  169. My neurology will never be used to claim that I am more like an object than a human being.

  170. I have grown up learning about techniques and devices that can help me with my most common difficulties. If I don't know I can ask someone and get a respectful or maybe even useful response.
  171. Nobody says that my neurology makes me analogous to a robot, a vegetable or a non-human animal.

  172. I have never been told, because of my neurology, that I am incapable of feeling pain.

  173. I will never have people point to me, in my presence, and explain to each other that I am incapable of the skills that make a person human.

  174. I am not portrayed as otherworldly, mysterious, psychic, demonic, monstrous, or angelic simply because of my neurology.

  175. I do not have to fear that important decisions about my life will be made by autistic or other non-neurotypical people, just because I am neurotypical.

  176. No one tells me that an autistic person with a neurotypical child, or an autistic person with a degree in psychology, knows better than I do what I need, want, or feel, or what it's like to be me.

  177. I can pursue a particular interest or hobby to my heart's content without being told that I am engaging in an unhealthy "fixation."

  178. I have never had to use physical violence as my only means possible to communicate basic information.

  179. When I learn my native language, I automatically learn the meaning of the words before I learn how to say them, and never have to explain to anyone about what it's like to have learned them in the reverse order, or to have learned them much later than usual.

  180. When I communicate, people do not gather in crowds around me and gawk.

  181. When I communicate, people do not ask me to prove that I am the person communicating, nor do they subject me to an impromptu Turing Test to make sure that I am not communicating through some sort of computerized trickery.

  182. I have never had to take a single test that determines, for my entire lifetime, whether I get to communicate.

  183. I have never had delayed processing interfere with people's perception of me as a person who can comprehend, communicate, and interact with people.

  184. Most people in my culture can understand my communication. (I know there are exceptions to this, Deaf people for example, but I couldn't figure out how to concisely cover all exceptions. Suggestions?)

  185. My natural movements and traits are not used by non-neurotypicals to ridicule others of their neurological type, either jokingly or maliciously.

  186. My neurotypicality is never used as a joke.

  187. People will never think that respect towards me entails knocking on my door 3 times before they barge in anyway, whether or not I told them it was ok to come in.

  188. If I am gifted at something, nobody, not even professionals, ever calls me an 'idiot-savant'.

  189. Nobody ever calls me grandiose if I suggest that my neurology gives me specific skills that are important to me.

  190. If I pass a first-order false-belief test, then people assume automatically that I have a theory of mind, and do not subject me to further testing of stuff totally unrelated to theory of mind in order to trip me up and accuse me of not having theory of mind.

  191. When I argue, I can be right sometimes, with anyone.

  192. If I identify as female, I will not be told that I am less female because of my neurotype.

  193. When asked to participate in the board or an advisory panel of a company or foundation or something like that, I am not the only person there that is neurotypical, nor do they ignore me and only want me there to look good to the public.

  194. I am never accused of being low-functioning or high-functioning by people who have power over my life, nor am I asked to divide people like me into the low-functioning ones and the high-functioning ones.

  195. If I am having a bad day or even a bad and stressful period where I am under a lot of strain, people will not say I am 'regressing' and panic, fret or automatically tell me I need medication or intensive treatment.

  196. I can assume that most restaurants, theaters, stores and other places I would like to go will not be so loud or brightly lit or crowded that I will become unable to function at a basic level.

  197. I can easily find other NT people in movies or on television shows that are not explicitly about being neurotypical.

  198. If I make even a half-assed attempt to look like I advocate for autistic people, I will be considered a hero, and I will not be considered to be acting out of self-interest. Autistic people will be afraid to call me out on my obvious abuses of nonautistic privilege because "beggars can't be choosers" when it comes to allies.

  199. As a NT, I do not have obnoxious assholes deciding that they know best the amount of pain appropriate for someone in my situation.
  200. I am not told that maybe if I didn't act so NT, then maybe I wouldn't have to feel ashamed of revealing that I'm NT.

  201. The types of housing that is built for people of my neurological type come in all shapes and sizes, not just in forms that are big enough for just one person to live in per unit without a life partner, because they assume I will not have one anyway.

  202. My opinions on social mores and societal issues will never be dismissed based on my neurology or on the assumption that I am simply "not understanding how these things work". Even when others of differing neurology agree with me

  203. Nobody tries to one-up me by implying that their family member is more NT than I am and I must thus be incapable of understanding any of said family member's situation.

  204. When I (erroneously) assume that the person I am speaking to shares some aspect of my mental experience, or way of perceiving the environment, this is not called "lack of theory of mind."

  205. The private body language I naturally exhibit when I am angry, afraid, or frustrated is not likely to be viewed by other people as disturbing, or as evidence of a mental illness.

  206. If I have difficulty understanding the behavior and perception of a person with a different neurology, I can feel safe in assuring myself that this is a fault inherent to either them, or their neurology, rather than my own lack of understanding. If a person with a different neurology has difficulty understanding my behavior or perception, I can take this as evidence of their (intrinsic) lack of understanding or insight.
  207. If am an ally to autistic people, I can quit anytime. After all, I've done my part, and have other things to do with my life.
  208. When I talk about parenting and family issues, people do not automatically assume I am not a parent. Nor do they tell me what a huge burden I must have been to my parents and how ungrateful I am for not appreciating that.
  209. If I show people a document indicating hatred and fear towards people like me, I will not be greeted with disbelief that such things could happen.But since I am neurotypical, no such document would need to exist.
  210. It's not illegal, anywhere, for me to have sexual relations based on my neurology.
  211. I have never been told that my mannerisms must be constant and identical across a wide variety of situations in order to be taken seriously as someone of my neurology.
  212. I have never had doctors randomly ask me to help them educate other doctors about people of my neurology.
  213. If I am interviewed by reporters about my ethical or political views, I can be pretty sure that topic of the story will not be changed behind my back into how amazing or inspiring it is that someone of my neurology can do anything productive at all.
  214. If I choose to, I can blend in relatively easily with a crowd of people of my general background.
  215. I am usually able to describe and recognize the basic emotions, because while I was growing up, and people told me I was 'happy', 'sad', or 'angry', they actually got it right because my emotions were recognizable to others.
  216. I am usually able to describe physical pain, because I did not spend my childhood being told something 'hurt' when I did not feel pain, and that it 'did not hurt' when I did feel pain.
  217. People do not assume that knowing me or having me as a partner or child gives them total right to speak in my stead and to be accepted and embraced in all communities for NTs everywhere.
  218. When I communicate my thoughts and opinions through writing, I will not have to worry about people trying to debunk me as a fraud and claiming that someone close to me is doing all the writing for me, that I do not really type on my own, and/or that anyone can clearly tell just by looking at me that I could never have such complex thoughts and understandings of the world.
  219. If I lose skills as I grow older, such as finding it more difficult to learn new languages after childhood, this is considered a normal thing and is not labeled "regression."-People will not look on me with suspicion and question my credibility as a real NT if they find out that I was able to pick up bits of languages (or similar things) more easily in childhood, if I cannot readily do so as an adult.
  220. If someone close to me dies and I don't immediately respond by grieving in a way that other people can recognize as grief, people will assume that I am just in shock or needing time to process my grief, rather than declaring that this is proof I have no empathy and don't regard humans any differently from inanimate objects.-People will not insist that I engage in actions and gestures that trigger distressing fight-or-flight reactions in me as part of "routine social politeness."
  221. Once I am no longer an infant, I can safely assume that my parents will not talk to other people about my poop in great detail on the Internet.
  222. If someone posts a video of me online in which I do anything other than scream and bang my head nonstop, people will not comment to it saying that this is proof that I am not a real neurotypical, and that they won't believe I am a real neurotypical until they see a video of me doing nothing but that.
  223. Even if people beat me, lock me up or kill me, at least they acknowledge that they are doing all these things to me and not "to the neurotypicality," as if it were something alien possessing my body.
  224. If I need mental health care (eg for depression etc) i will not be turned down for treatments that would be given to others with the same needs on the basis of my neurology.
  225. Counsellors who make most of their money telling people others how damaging people of my neurology are to their partners would not be recommended to me.
  226. Occupational health departments would not be reluctant to give me a job i have been offered based on misinformation that my neurology is a personality disorder!
  227. I will not have to listen to peoples disbelief that someone of my gender can have my neurology
  228. I will find it easy to meet others of my gender and sexuality who share my neurology.
  229. If I am upset about something, no one writes it off as being a tantrum caused by my neurology rather than being wronged.If i move in politically progressive or anti-oppression activist circles, i am unlikely to meet people generally regarded as good anti-oppression activists who then turn out to work in jobs which directly oppress people like me because they think those jobs are "socially responsible" or "doing good for the community".
  230. I have a reasonable expectation of both getting an interview and of passing an interview for jobs that i have the skills and qualifications necessary to do, and my natural body language during that interview will not be taken to indicate incompetence, dishonesty or deliberate disrespect to the interviewer.
  231. If i do manage to get a job, i can be confident that i will not be required to wear clothes that are intolerable for someone with my sensory neurology to wear.
  232. If I make a mistake and blame it on my "autism" colleagues show acceptance and understanding and nobody tries to cure me.
  233. I can be present in public places frequented by many people (for example parks, city squares, shopping centres) without worrying that my facial expression or gaze will invoke hostility or violence from passers-by.
  234. I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when i honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me.- I can easily get the attention of workers in shops, bars, restaurants, etc to get served with what i want, and am never or very rarely ignored or refused service because of my direction of gaze or facial expression.
  235. If a sensory stimulus (eg. noise, lighting, temperature) is bothering me, i can reasonably assume that most or all the other people in the room are at least as bothered by it as i am, and that it will not be considered excessive to do something about it, or unreasonable for me to say i cannot tolerate it.
  236. I can assume that not only will other people agree with me when I say a certain thing is intolerable, but that they will not try to put me through "exposure therapy" by refusing to allow me to cover my ears at certain noises, force me to listen to them over and over or at certain volumes, forbid me to leave a room when something in it is intolerable, etc, and believe that this will cure me of my "unreasonable sensitivity."
  237. I will never be forced to re-interpret all of my life experiences through a medicalized lens of neurotypicality.
  238. If, for some reason, I fail to maintain eye contact while chatting with someone, I won't be criticised for being deficient in social skills knowledge.
  239. Because of my neurology, I do not need to drink alcohol or take any kind of drug or herbal remedy to lessen the effects of sensory overload, since I don't have this problem in the first place.
  240. I am never called a savant by a teacher simply for having pronounced skills in math.
  241. I am never told that I have no right to complain about the injustice done to many of my neurotype because "there are some NT people who have it worse than you do.
  242. If I talk about caring for my own autistic siblings, I am fortunate enough that most people are such dumbasses about autism that they assume that I am a saintly NT caretaker sibling who can do no wrong, regardless of my actual neurotype.
  243. I am not treated as a young child after disclosing my neurology, nor am I considered to be incapable of speaking for myself.
  244. The idea that people of my neurotype are not damaged for being who they are and are deserving of basic justice and respect is not considered "enlightening." Just about everyone knows it.
  245. I am not told to disclose my neurology to my classmates and talk about how spending money on puzzle-piece junk will "really help you.
  246. My deficits in school are not blamed on my neurology.
  247. If I have never been kissed, it is never assumed that no one wants to...
  248. If I make the choice to stay abstinent until marriage, I am not given a patronizing smile and told that that's good because I couldn't handle it anyway.
  249. If I tell people that I am NT, people don't blame it on my parents' lifestyle choices (such as smoking) or age.
  250. When I talk about parenting and family issues, people do not automatically assume I am not a parent. Nor do they tell me what a huge burden I must have been to my parents and how ungrateful I am for not appreciating that.
  251. When people tell me that anyone can be president, they actually mean me.
  252. Alert alarms are designed so that they do not make me collapse in pain.
  253. When I explain that a fire alarm loud enough to make me collapse in pain and render me unable to move is unsafe, I am not patronizingly told that this is only because I am "one of those people."
  254. Nobody assumes that my cognitive abilities (or disabilities) are the way they are because of some emotional disturbance or trauma.
  255. People never tell me that some of my cognitive traits just don't exist and have been invented by psychiatrists in order to sell more drugs.
  256. Nobody has the right to deny my right to education because I refuse to take a neuro-enhancing drug.
  257. If I identify as glbt in some way, I will not be the only person of my neurotype in support groups or forums.
  258. I will never be told my sexuality is impossible, because people of my neurotype do not have sexualities.
  259. If I were neurotypical, I would not get a lecture about the dangers of "recessive genes" from a nutty relative, as the result of revealing that my spouse has the same neurotype as my own neurotype.
  260. If I were neurotypical, I would not have to wait till half of my life is over before finding out that there really are other people like us in the world, and that there is a name for our type, and that there are lots and lots of us all around the world, and then feel so shocked that it takes a year or two to get my head around the whole idea, and then feel completely p@##$% off that the name for our type is a clinical diagnosis.
  261. The communication systems in use by the society I live in are designed to be easily learnable and understandable by a person of my neurotype.
  262. I can expect that none of my parents, doctors, teachers, etc would ever believe that there is a "real me" locked somewhere inside of me waiting to be separated from my neurotypicality.
  263. If I behave in a way that is more like how they want me to behave, they will not decide that this is "finally the real me" who they've never seen before, and that the entire rest of my life, I've somehow not really been myself.
  264. My parents will not tell people that the real me was stolen and replaced with an empty shell, a monster, or a changeling.
  265. My parents will not tell people that they love the real me but hate my neurology.-I will not have to watch celebrities, including ones I may have previously admired, turn out en masse to support events or charities whose goal is to prevent people like me from being born. (Well, this applies to disability in general and not just autism in specific.)
  266. The people like me who are mentioned in newspaper and magazine articles, scientific journals, etc, are not all children.
  267. When I read articles about people like myself, I do not have to deal with a majority of the references to people like me being to "neurotypical children" or "children with neurotypicality," as if adults like me didn't exist.
  268. I can stare at things which interest me for hours on end, such as television programs or pictures in an art gallery, and people will not decide that this is proof that I am an empty shell.
  269. I am assumed to be able to make my own choices about religion and spirituality, and not assumed to be either a special being who is innately more in touch with a higher power or to be incapable of really understanding religion and spirituality.
  270. If my primary gender identity is female, liking and doing things that are regarded as feminine in this society will not be seen as incompatible with my neurology. People will not try to prove that my interest in these things is actually underlain by cognitive patterns they regard as inherently masculine, and that therefore I am not really as feminine, or as female, as other women.
  271. I can bring up my neurology in any discussion, anywhere, without being told that I am not really NT, just doing this to be trendy, or looking for an excuse to be rude or a cop-out excuse for my failures.
  272. I will never be told I cannot really be neurotypical because I do not resemble a certain fictional character in a certain movie.
  273. When I am growing up, I meet enough adults with my neurology that I do not end up assuming that my neurology will either kill me or vanish by adulthood.
  274. I don't have "staff" living in my "home" who try to make me act more like them in my free time.

69 comments:

  1. Wow, this is turning into quite an opus!

    Here's one more for the list:

    "When I talk about parenting and family issues, people do not automatically assume I am not a parent. Nor do they tell me what a huge burden I must have been to my parents and how ungrateful I am for not appreciating that."

    (word verification: amazin)

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  2. Wow!

    It does seem to have a number of redundant entries, however -- a few that are phrase differently but in ways that don't really alter the actual meaning.

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  3. I agree with the other commenters. Wow! What a great idea and excellent list. Thanks once again Bev.

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  4. Bev, I think this is one of the most important posts I've ever seen. Ever. When autistic rights are as much a given as women's rights or racial rights (to the extent they are), this will be in the book of influential writings. *puts away crystal ball*

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  5. Still amazed at how awesome this is :)

    One more from me:
    When people tell me that anyone can be president, they actually mean me.

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  6. There's so many of them!

    By the way, I'm almost 100% certain that I saw several of mine in there twice.

    I could hunt them down for you, but not tonight.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. SadderbutwisergirlJuly 29, 2009 at 2:56 PM

    Thanks again for making this awesome list, Bev! I've got some more for you:
    I am never called a savant by a teacher simply for having pronounced skills in math.
    I am never told that I have no right to complain about the injustice done to many of my neurotype because "there are some NT people who have it worse than you do."
    If I talk about caring for my own autistic siblings, I am fortunate enough that most people are such dumbasses about autism that they assume that I am a saintly NT caretaker sibling who can do no wrong, regardless of my actual neurotype.
    I am not treated as a young child after disclosing my neurology, nor am I considered to be incapable of speaking for myself.
    The idea that people of my neurotype are not damaged for being who they are and are deserving of basic justice and respect is not considered "enlightening." Just about everyone knows it.
    I am not told to disclose my neurology to my classmates and talk about how spending money on puzzle-piece junk will "really help you."
    My deficits in school are not blamed on my autism.
    If I have never been kissed, it is never assumed that no one wants to...
    If I make the choice to stay abstinent until marriage, I am not given a patronizing smile and told that that's good because I couldn't handle it anyway.
    If I tell people that I am NT, people don't blame it on my parents' lifestyle choices (such as smoking) or age.
    I also saw a whole bunch of my things there...

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  9. Here's another one

    Because of my neurology, I do not need to drink alcohol or take any kind of drug or herbal remedy to lessen the effects of sensory overload, since I don't have this problem in the first place.

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  10. and another one.

    If, for some reason, I fail to maintain eye contact while chatting with someone, I won't be criticised for being deficient in social skills knowledge.

    sorry for the repeat if that's already in there

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  11. I will never be forced to re-interpret all of my life experiences through a medicalized lens of neurotypicality.

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  12. I particularly liked 67, 110 and 111.

    For 170/184 (same item repeated): "Most people in my culture can understand my communication", you might try "Most people assume that I can communicate, even if they are not familiar with my preferred language or mode of communication, and they find an interpreter if they need one."

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  13. One I cannot believe isn't in there:

    If I am upset about something, no one writes it off as being a tantrum caused by my neurology rather than being wronged.

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  14. SadderbutwisergirlJuly 29, 2009 at 5:09 PM

    As a NT person, my parents/older siblings/guardian(s?) (whatever applies to you) are not considered martyr(s) simply for allowing me to be around.
    I also can reasonably expect to be helped if I am bullied or harassed rather than be told that it's partially my fault for my "abnormal behaviors."
    Whoever I decide to do sexual things with will not be considered a rapist
    To whoever said that it's illegal for auties to have sex in a lot of states, could you please post some links on the subject?

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  15. Wow, this is incredible (and i'm also amazed that, apparently, no one has done this before). If there's anything i can do to help with this (for example, removing any accidental duplicate entries, or systematizing it into categories, as some of the other privilege checklists seem to be), let me know.

    A couple of things that i don't think have been covered:

    - I have a reasonable expectation of both getting an interview and of passing an interview for jobs that i have the skills and qualifications necessary to do, and my natural body language during that interview will not be taken to indicate incompetence, dishonesty or deliberate disrespect to the interviewer.

    - If i do manage to get a job, i can be confident that i will not be required to wear clothes that are intolerable for someone with my sensory neurology to wear.

    - I can be present in public places frequented by many people (for example parks, city squares, shopping centres) without worrying that my facial expression or gaze will invoke hostility or violence from passers-by.

    - I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when i honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me.

    - I can easily get the attention of workers in shops, bars, restaurants, etc to get served with what i want, and am never or very rarely ignored or refused service because of my direction of gaze or facial expression.

    - If a sensory stimulus (eg. noise, lighting, temperature) is bothering me, i can reasonably assume that most or all the other people in the room are at least as bothered by it as i am, and that it will not be considered excessive to do something about it, or unreasonable for me to say i cannot tolerate it.

    (Some of the above may be relevant to conditions other than autism. Apologies if they have already been said - feel free not to include if someone else has covered the same ground more succinctly...)

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  16. Oh, another one, although it applies to disabled people generally:

    - If i move in politically progressive or anti-oppression activist circles, i am unlikely to meet people generally regarded as good anti-oppression activists who then turn out to work in jobs which directly oppress people like me because they think those jobs are "socially responsible" or "doing good for the community".

    (Word verification for this was "unables". Seriously... !!!)

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  17. I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when i honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me.

    Ow. Too close to home, that one. I'm surprised we didn't think of including it.

    also, maybe as an addendum to that,

    -I can assume that not only will other people agree with me when I say a certain thing is intolerable, but that they will not try to put me through "exposure therapy" by refusing to allow me to cover my ears at certain noises, force me to listen to them over and over or at certain volumes, forbid me to leave a room when something in it is intolerable, etc, and believe that this will cure me of my "unreasonable sensitivity."

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  18. A whole lot of this resonates with me. Towards the end, that reminded me of our college rape presentation, and it was mentioned that both people who are intoxicated and who are developmentally disabled are unable to give consent. I remember wondering if that law would be applied to me, and while I considered it unlikely due to my reputation forbeing skilled in science, whatever my other difficulties, that due to my being vocal about autism/disability advocacy and my stims, maybe some people would be scared away from entering into a relationship with me if they thought it might be considered rape under the law. I never got to find out, though, as due to illness I never got to explore the social scenes beyond the level of just friends and activists. Anyway, some characters in my musical are more directly affected.

    Most of these I've experienced. Very good guide to a slice of the "autistic in NT-land" experience.

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  19. - If I need mental health care (eg for depression etc) i will not be turned down for treatments that would be given to others with the same needs on the basis of my neurology

    - Counsellors who make most of their money telling people others how damaging people of my neurology are to their partners would not be recommended to me.

    - occupational health departments would not be reluctant to give me a job i have been offered based on misinformation that my neurology is a personality disorder!

    - I will not have to listen to peoples disbelief that someone of my gender can have my neurology

    - i will find it easy to meet others of my gender and sexuality who share my neurology

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  20. more-- some of these might be repeats but we're assuming everyone else is doing idea dumps right now too:

    -People do not assume that knowing me or having me as a partner or child gives them total right to speak in my stead and to be accepted and embraced in all communities for NTs everywhere.

    -When I communicate my thoughts and opinions through writing, I will not have to worry about people trying to debunk me as a fraud and claiming that someone close to me is doing all the writing for me, that I do not really type on my own, and/or that anyone can clearly tell just by looking at me that I could never have such complex thoughts and understandings of the world.

    -If I lose skills as I grow older, such as finding it more difficult to learn new languages after childhood, this is considered a normal thing and is not labeled "regression."

    -People will not look on me with suspicion and question my credibility as a real NT if they find out that I was able to pick up bits of languages (or similar things) more easily in childhood, if I cannot readily do so as an adult.

    -If someone close to me dies and I don't immediately respond by grieving in a way that other people can recognize as grief, people will assume that I am just in shock or needing time to process my grief, rather than declaring that this is proof I have no empathy and don't regard humans any differently from inanimate objects.

    -People will not insist that I engage in actions and gestures that trigger distressing fight-or-flight reactions in me as part of "routine social politeness."

    -Once I am no longer an infant, I can safely assume that my parents will not talk to other people about my poop in great detail on the Internet.

    -If someone posts a video of me online in which I do anything other than scream and bang my head nonstop, people will not comment to it saying that this is proof that I am not a real neurotypical, and that they won't believe I am a real neurotypical until they see a video of me doing nothing but that.

    -Even if people beat me, lock me up or kill me, at least they acknowledge that they are doing all these things to me and not "to the neurotypicality," as if it were something alien possessing my body. (Not much of a privilege, but at least your abuser/killer can't get sympathy that way.)

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  21. If I am assigned only management help positions with my school's sports team despite being an actual team member with a number, am allowed to play only in the last few minutes of the last game I am allowed to be a team member according to school policy, and I break school records, the news coverage will be of how worthless the coach was for keeping me benched for nearly four entire seasons rather than on how awesome he was for letting me play those few minutes.

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  22. SadderbutwisergirlJuly 29, 2009 at 9:49 PM

    "I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when i honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me.
    "

    This hit very close to home for me. I went to this camp for three summers and it sucked. One summer, I had a series of foot injuries and when I complained about my feet hurting, I was told that my feet couldn't be hurting that badly. The way those bastards (the "counselors") treated me in that situation was nonconducive to neither my mental health or my physical health. Hey! I just thought up some more!
    As a NT, I do not have obnoxious assholes deciding that they know best the amount of pain appropriate for someone in my situation.
    I am not told that maybe if I didn't act so NT, then maybe I wouldn't have to feel ashamed of revealing that I'm NT.

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  23. SadderbutwisergirlJuly 29, 2009 at 9:49 PM

    "I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when i honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me.
    "

    This hit very close to home for me. I went to this camp for three summers and it sucked. One summer, I had a series of foot injuries and when I complained about my feet hurting, I was told that my feet couldn't be hurting that badly. The way those bastards (the "counselors") treated me in that situation was nonconducive to neither my mental health or my physical health. Hey! I just thought up some more!
    As a NT, I do not have obnoxious assholes deciding that they know best the amount of pain appropriate for someone in my situation.
    I am not told that maybe if I didn't act so NT, then maybe I wouldn't have to feel ashamed of revealing that I'm NT.

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  24. "I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when i honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me."
    Yes. Thank you.
    And thanks to Bev for compiling this.

    -When I explain why I am having difficulties I am never told I am lying or making excuses.
    (Basically the same)

    - I have grown up learning about techniques and devices that can help me with my most common difficulties. If I don't know I can ask someone and get a respectful or maybe even useful response.

    Heck they could both perhaps use rewording or combining with other entries.

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  25. I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when i honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me.

    That one reminded me of a couple:

    I am usually able to describe and recognize the basic emotions, because while I was growing up, and people told me I was 'happy', 'sad', or 'angry', they actually got it right because my emotions were recognizable to others.

    I am usually able to describe physical pain, because I did not spend my childhood being told something 'hurt' when I did not feel pain, and that it 'did not hurt' when I did feel pain.

    (Those may not be the best-worded versions, but they're what I could come up with for now.)

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  26. I have never been told that my mannerisms must be constant and identical across a wide variety of situations in order to be taken seriously as someone of my neurology.

    I have never had doctors randomly ask me to help them educate other doctors about people of my neurology.

    If I am interviewed by reporters about my ethical or political views, I can be pretty sure that topic of the story will not be changed behind my back into how amazing or inspiring it is that someone of my neurology can do anything productive at all.

    If I choose to, I can blend in relatively easily with a crowd of people of my general background.

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  27. If I am unable to readily distinguish my emotions or tell what I am feeling at any given time, people will assume that I have this difficulty because of the circumstances of my life, and that I started out feeling all the same emotions as anyone, something just interfered with it. They will not push me through patronizing exercises designed to "teach me about emotions" as though I needed to be taught how to feel them in the first place.

    If I can more readily interpret the emotions and body language of people of my own neurology, people do not say that the fact that I can do this at all undercuts my claim to be truly NT.

    It is likely that I have a realistic understanding of my own limits, because the people around me have agreed with me about what my limits were and their assessments of when I was exhausted, overwhelmed, taking on more than I could handle, etc, were usually similar to mine. As a result, I learned that it was not good or productive to push myself through overwhelming pain, exhaustion, or confusion to try to accomplish an inconsequential task.

    I do not not routinely find that I've gone past my own limits because of having spent my entire life being taught that pain and overload are good things which mean I am finally "really trying." I do not have to struggle with internalized messages telling me that I am not working or trying unless I am in pain and overloaded, and that if something hurts or overloads me, I should do it more. (Not exclusive to autistics-- people who are physically disabled and/or fat also often struggle with not being able to tell when they've pushed way past their limits because of being told that the only reason they can't walk/lose weight/etc is because they're not really trying-- but a lot of the other privileges here overlap several groups.)

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  28. I'm a woman with Asperger's and I think I am very, very much in the minority when it comes to my feelings about this post. I don't know where to start. My overwhelming response (and a very emotional one), is "No, no, no, no, no! This is a bad idea. This will not help the cause of neurodiversity. This is not at all an effective instrument of social change."

    Confession time though: I was completely unfamiliar with the concept of "[dominant majority] privilege" until a few weeks ago. I graduated from college over 20 years ago, I was not in a program that emphasized the humanities, and I don't read social theory on my own. Also, the first time I encountered the word "privilege" with this sense, it was thrown at me very critically in response to a post I wrote on another community--the gist was that I was racist and xenophobic and did not even realize how I was contributing to an oppressive system because of my "privilege". I didn't understand what that meant! It also struck me as an unpleasant twist on a word I thought I knew. In blog posts about the Donna Williams interview with Tony Attwood, I saw critical references to his "privilege" in his defense of his jokes about autistic people--I still didn't know what it meant (and, by the way, I definitely don't support Attwood's use of "humor"). I thought, "Why are people using the word 'privilege' in this way as if everyone knew what it meant? Would someone please explain it?"

    I visit Sarah's "autisticcats" blog regularly, and I think she's a brilliant writer and analyst. I read her recent post about Jonathan King--very disturbing, very important. But there, at the end of it, was that use of "privilege" again, this time in the phrase "neurotypical privilege". Thankfully, there was a link there that, as you can guess, brought me to this post. And thankfully again, you linked to the essay on "white privilege" so now I have some understanding of what people mean when they use this term.

    I don't like it, and I don't understand the point of this exercise. It strikes me as very, very ineffective to think that a list like this will encourage a group--in this case, the neurotypical majority--to rethink their attitudes and practices. It also strikes me, quite honestly, as unfair (and I got this from the McIntosh essay) to address the member of a majority and say, in effect, "You may have done nothing specific in your actions or words to in any way harm or oppress me, but because you are a member of a majority, you should feel guilty. Here are the ways in which you benefit from the system in place, ways of which you're probably unaware, but you should feel guilty for benefiting from them just the same." I honestly don't see the efficacy of this. How--HOW--can this be more effective than simply pointing out the injustices and abuses--specific instances of injustice and abuse--educating people on why they're unacceptable, and stating the changes that need to be made? Example: The NYU Ransom Notes Campaign. The protest against this, led by ASAN, simply and directly pointed out why this campaign was harmful, and the protest led to the removal of the ads. I don't recall seeing one use of the phrase "neurotypical privilege" in the official protest, or its discussion, and I'm so glad I didn't. Again, I'm simply baffled. The syntax of the statements in this list alone...argh, quite honestly, it just grates at my brain. It seems so a**-backwards. I'm troubled that this list is making its way through all my major neurodiversity information sites. I fear that the next time that an action needs to be taken, and a protest made, the person or organization will be criticized for their "neurotypical privilege", and I don't think that's going to help matters at all.

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  29. If an NT knockes their head they are taken to hospital to make sure they are ok.

    Great list!

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  30. Rina,
    Thank you for your thoughtfully considered and well stated criticism. I am aware that many people respond very defensively to the concept of privilege, and that this may not be an effective tool for reaching everyone who might benefit from the larger message.

    I remember well the first time I read the McIntosh article. I was blown away at the immediate recognition of what is meant by the term "privilege." I did not feel at all admonished for being white, but rather fortunate to have gained some insight, a way of looking at whiteness that I hadn't known before. For me, and for many others, it was a useful tool.

    Over the years, I have directed many people toward that essay. I am sure that this was not immediately appreciated in some cases. But for many of us, it is impossible to hear these things without becoming aware of those invisible benefits that go along with being in the majority.

    Before distributing this further, I will be writing a brief introduction. I will try to address the issue of "guilt" and how this is not what it's about. The list will also be edited down to the most essential points. I believe this will help it be more palatable and will address some of your concerns about the use of a term many people do not understand in this context.

    Again, I appreciate your perspective. It was very helpful to me to read what you had to say.

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  31. SadderbutwisergirlJuly 30, 2009 at 11:46 AM

    I also read the "white privilege" thing after having it recommended to me by a black friend and it blew me away. It really made me think. It also opened up my eyes a bit more to the racism in our society.

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  32. SadderbutwisergirlJuly 30, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    I also read the "white privilege" thing after having it recommended to me by a black friend and it blew me away. It really made me think. It also opened up my eyes a bit more to the racism in our society.

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  33. I can't do a full explanation right now either, but the point of talking about privilege is not to make anyone feel guilty. Some people always do feel guilty when they realize that their privilege is not shared by everyone, or even just when they realize that the world is still a racist place. (I can remember simply attempting to discuss racism at one point and hearing some other white people respond by "You're trying to make me feel guilty." Which I wasn't. But the issue still needed to be discussed regardless of how they felt about it.) But it's not the most productive response, and it is far from the response anyone is trying to cause when they talk about privilege.

    On Flavors of Privilege is a really good article by a white autistic woman who used to think that discussing white privilege was all about making her feel bad, and eventually realized it wasn't.

    The easiest way to describe the actual point, though, is that it is about trying to explain how the experience of living in the world frequently differs between different people based on what category (whether artificial or natural, doesn't matter) they happen to fall into.

    When you understand how things differ, one of the many things that become easier, is not accidentally bludgeoning people with your own privilege. Because privilege can act like a bludgeon, and the fact that people do not mean it to, does not mean that it harms people any less when someone is on the receiving end of it. And the point of finding out about that isn't to feel guilty, it's to begin to realize how not to do it, and how best to use one's privilege to assist people who don't have that privilege.

    For instance, it is very easy for a non-autistic person to silence an autistic person on the subject of autism, by telling them "You don't understand real autism because you can communicate." And lots and lots of people will listen to them.

    Autistic people have very little effective recourse to that, because we are not in the position of power that it takes to so effectively silence a person.

    But what if that non-autistic person were to realize that while they have power to silence autistic people with essentially the wave of a hand, autistic people have no equivalent way of easily forcing people to hear their voices?

    And what if, instead of waving that hand, they begin to say things that support autistic people's right to have a say in matters that affect us?

    Often that sort of thing is helped along by realizing the discrepancy of privilege going on.

    Oh, and just a note: I wasn't taught about privilege in school either. The first I heard of it was just people using the word around me, usually in terms of telling me I had white privilege or the privilege that comes with being raised middle-class. At first I flat-out didn't understand the term, and then I read the "Invisible Knapsack" article and thought, "Oh, I guess that makes sense." (All of this happened years ago.) And it really made it clear to me why people were always talking about it.

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  34. Oh, and here's a good introduction to a lot of ideas on privilege:

    Check my what? On privilege and what we can do about it. It doesn't discuss guilt explicitly, but it does explain why it's not about thinking people with privilege are automatically bad somehow.

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  35. Cool idea with the list, but it gets boring after about 30. I mean, it's not like people don't get the idea by the time they've reached point 10. More like a curiosity for the fans only.

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  36. -When I am given a deadline to execute a task, this deadline is usually consistent with my actual executive abilities.

    -Nobody assumes that my cognitive abilities (or disabilities) are the way they are because of some emotional disturbance or trauma.

    -People never tell me that some of my cognitive traits just don't exist and have been invented by psychiatrists in order to sell more drugs.

    -Nobody has the right to deny my right to education because I refuse to take a neuro-enhancing drug.


    I must admit I find the title of that list somewhat problematic, as no scientific study has proven the existence of a "typical" brain. I think the "Checklist Of Neuroconvergent Privilege" would be a more accurate name, as it rather connotes a social reality (brains that fit well with the way our society is, without being necessarily alike) than a scientific one.

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  37. @Shiva:

    "[As an NT] I have a reasonable expectation of both getting an interview and passing an interview for jobs that I have the skills and qualifications necessary to do ..."

    Ha! Why didn't I think of that one; it's practically been the story of my life since graduating college...

    "I did not spend my entire childhood being accused of lying or exaggerating when I honestly described my sensory perceptions of things and how they were affecting me."

    Hmm. I didn't spend my childhood that way, either, but for me it's because I couldn't describe my sensory (or emotional) experiences until I was about halfway through college. I still have lots of trouble describing physical sensations or mental states.

    (I imagine some of that might be from what Amanda addresses in her response to your comment --- i.e., not learning to express what I felt because only I ever felt it, and nobody ever told me what it was. I didn't often have my experiences denied or edited outright, though, like she describes).

    I still relate to your comment a lot, though. I think being unable to describe how something is affecting you is just as disempowering as having your attempts to do so disregarded; you have a clearer sense of what is unfair, while I would just have a vague sense of violation or wrongness. But they're both light-years away from what it'd be like to grow up sure that your parents, teachers or whatever both knew and respected your boundaries.

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  38. Ooh, Oktarin, I like that word "neuroconvergent"!

    (Though I've used "neurotypical," I've never been totally comfortable with it for the same reason you're not --- that there might not be any such thing as a neurotypical brain!)

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  39. - Alert alarms are designed so that they do not make me collapse in pain.

    - When I explain that a fire alarm loud enough to make me collapse in pain and render me unable to move is unsafe, I am not patronizingly told that this is only because I am "one of those people."

    P.S.: 81 and 92 on your list, as posted, are identical.

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  40. List is long but I'd like the uncut version. Different people see things differently.

    One thing: #158 seems to have a homophone. "led" may be more appropriate.

    Thaks again, Bev.

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  41. I know the official version's already up, just tacking on a few more that we thought of for the long version...

    -I can expect that none of my parents, doctors, teachers, etc would ever believe that there is a "real me" locked somewhere inside of me waiting to be separated from my neurotypicality.

    -If I behave in a way that is more like how they want me to behave, they will not decide that this is "finally the real me" who they've never seen before, and that the entire rest of my life, I've somehow not really been myself.

    -My parents will not tell people that the real me was stolen and replaced with an empty shell, a monster, or a changeling.

    -My parents will not tell people that they love the real me but hate my neurology.

    -I will not have to watch celebrities, including ones I may have previously admired, turn out en masse to support events or charities whose goal is to prevent people like me from being born. (Well, this applies to disability in general and not just autism in specific.)

    -The people like me who are mentioned in newspaper and magazine articles, scientific journals, etc, are not all children.

    -When I read articles about people like myself, I do not have to deal with a majority of the references to people like me being to "neurotypical children" or "children with neurotypicality," as if adults like me didn't exist.

    -I can stare at things which interest me for hours on end, such as television programs or pictures in an art gallery, and people will not decide that this is proof that I am an empty shell.

    -I am assumed to be able to make my own choices about religion and spirituality, and not assumed to be either a special being who is innately more in touch with a higher power or to be incapable of really understanding religion and spirituality.

    -If my primary gender identity is female, liking and doing things that are regarded as feminine in this society will not be seen as incompatible with my neurology. People will not try to prove that my interest in these things is actually underlain by cognitive patterns they regard as inherently masculine, and that therefore I am not really as feminine, or as female, as other women.

    -I can bring up my neurology in any discussion, anywhere, without being told that I am not really NT, just doing this to be trendy, or looking for an excuse to be rude or a cop-out excuse for my failures.

    -I will never be told I cannot really be neurotypical because I do not resemble a certain fictional character in a certain movie.

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  42. Another one for the longer list -

    When I am growing up, I meet enough adults with my neurology that I do not end up assuming that my neurology will either kill me or vanish by adulthood.

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  43. Hi Bev! I see your list is growing bigger and bigger. Don't say I didn't warn you - list compiling can become a most compelling obsession. It is a form of collecting. I love it.

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  44. One idea I had regarding the number of items on the list: separate the list into various topics.

    For example, there could be some under the heading "Education", some under "Employment", some under "Relationships/Sexuality", etc. Keeping each section separate from the others might allow there to be more than 50 items on the list as a whole because it wouldn't be as overwhelming to look at/read.

    Not sure what anyone else feels about this, or if it would be just too much work (a distinct possibility depending on the number of items on the list!). It was just an idea that I wanted to put out there.

    Littlewolf

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  45. Littlewolf said:

    "One idea I had regarding the number of items on the list: separate the list into various topics."

    Shiva also mentioned the possibility of categorizing the list. In putting this together, I did use categories, in fact some identical to the ones Littlewolf mentioned. At that point, there were around 200 items on the list. I removed the category labels before posting the list, because I didn't want it to become a priority (at that time) to discuss which points should be moved to other categories, etc. I could see that really bogging down the process. As more points were submitted, I began placing them with their categories, but quickly moved to just adding them at the end. At some point, I will want to re-order those later submissions, and I agree with Littlewolf and Shiva that for this longer list, organized categories with headings would be helpful.

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  46. I don't have "staff" living in my "home" who try to make me act more like them in my free time.

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  47. "My neurotypicality is never used as a joke."

    He he. My lovely aspie friend takes the piss out of my NT all the time "ooooooh, that's sooooooo bloody neurotypical" etc. etc.

    So not entirely true. But the point is taken. :)

    A great list, a great resource and one I'll keep returning to, and pointing others to. Thank you.

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  48. I took notes on what from the list should be included by number.

    The ones that have astriks by them are just random comments, or thoughts about what was said, and aren't meant to be taken seriously.

    When I put a slash mark between comments, this meant that the comment I made in regards to the first number, also was reflected in other statements further down the list:
    3. - This plagued me all throughout my school life. Forcing someone to overcome a Neurodiverse related "disability" such as my having handwriting problems by forcing them to perform that which they have trouble doing. Is like telling someone who is physically handicapped and needing to use crutches, that they should be able to walk without their crutches, and they are a hopeless failure for not succeeding to do so.
    61
    65
    71
    72 - I think the Army and CIA use these methods as questioning techniques for criminals. It's beyond me to understand, why someone thinks a child will learn anything from being held against their will somewhere and being forced to do something they may not be able to do, or do under such stress.

    I guess it's just more of NTs wanting to other people who are Neurodiverse, by telling themselves "Those children are not normal children, so they won't be horribly traumatized by the same things NT children would" I can't tell you, how many times this type of justification has been used to dehumanize the enemy in war.

    Perhaps on this note, it'd be a good idea to add, "People don't abuse me, then come up with excuses for what they did, while being believed by everyone that they were right to harm me and support the notion that the only way I can learn is through being abused."
    73
    80
    84
    88 - "People don't see characters that reflect who I am in cartoons, and ignore them or claim they're representative of "weird kids", due to fears of controversy or backlash from parents who believe that all Neurodiverse children are suffering, and that it's a sick joke to represent them as having full lives. My behaviors aren't seen as something abhorrent, or shameful, so I am not denied my desires to identify with fictional characters. I also, am not told when identifying with the characters, that I'm insulting them by suggesting they are like me."
    102 - Or bullied and humilated by the gym teacher
    110
    113* - If this is true, why are there so many Disney character sweaters for adults?
    132/199/236/ - "Also, people will not see my reaction as overreacting or being dramatic. They will show empathy and concern, instead of suggesting I am behaving like a spoilt child. What causes me pain will not be dismissed, as something I should "get over". I won't be treated like I need discipline, when I clearly state my sensitivites, only to be sent into a meltdown after the person denys me what I told them I needed, therfore feeling now they can dismiss me as behaving like a naughty child, rather than acknowledging their own lack of empathy."
    143* - What if they just happen to be a Marilyn Manson fan?
    237 - This situation, always reminded me of the dining scene from the original Texas Chaninsaw Massacre. Where they have the girl tied to a chair, and show close-ups of her eyes moving around, while her captors laugh at her and taunt her. Might be a good clip to use as an example of how it feels, but also may be seen as exaggerated to some people.

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  49. Shiny shiny list... several thoughts occur:

    158 = 163
    161 = 164
    201 is blank
    31 = 202
    221 - looks like it's two entries.
    209 = 251
    266, again, two entries?

    178 - wait, that happens to other people too?

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  50. Based on my own experience, I can think of three more things to add to the list:

    "When a person of my neurotype is referred to as 'baby', it is always intended as a term of affection, not of insult."

    "When a father inflicts an age-inappropriate punishment (i.e. being sent to bed without supper at 16) on a child of my neurotype, it is always considered severe mental abuse, never a necessary 'behavior management' tool."

    "When a person of my neurotype makes a noise due to frustration, it is accepted as an understandable response to his agitation, not punished as a 'precursor' to an outburst caused by his neurotypicalism."

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  51. Does this work?
    "I have interests that are widely shared and therefore are by default considered acceptable topics of conversation in a group setting, even if there may be some people present who do not share them."

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  52. From personal experience:

    - Infantilising terms such as 'trusting', 'innocent' and 'naive' are not used to describe people with my neurotype en masse.

    - Nobody will say that I am inherently a loser or failure because of my neurotype.

    - If I say I love/am in love with someone, people will believe me. Nobody will say that what I think is love is actually just 'attachment', because it's 'common knowledge' that people of my neurotype lack the ability to care about others.

    - I can be assured that most of the people who speak for those of my neurotype are actually of my neurotype, rather than parents or experts with a different neurotype.

    - Fictional characters with my neurotype are usually treated as complex individuals. They are rarely, if ever, 2-dimensional walking blocks of Neurotypicality designed only to move a storyline along.

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  53. With regard to #40: I am considered neurotypical with regard to the autism spectrum, yet I did in fact get told that an aspect of my neurology -- my severe post-traumatic stress disorder, complete with seizures as a side effect -- caused my spouse's abusive behaviors (and alcoholism). Just sayin'.

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  54. Thank you thank you thank you.

    So much I can identify with here that I've never seen anyone one else express before.

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  55. "I am considered neurotypical with regard to the autism spectrum"

    Neurotypical doesn't mean *non-autistic*. A person with Down Syndrome is not neurotypical. A person with epilepsy is not neurotypical. Neurotypical means your brain and cognitive style fit within the parameters our society considers normal.

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  56. If I suffer from depression, anxiety or something similar, people will understand that this is a problem, assume that there is an external cause, and consider helping me to be important. It will not be shrugged off as a 'co-morbid' of my neurotype, as though being depressed is either caused by my neurotype, or a perfectly natural state for people of my neurotype to be in.

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  57. I have a couple for you.

    -My career path and interests are not automatically presumed because of my neurotype.

    -If I love to do something, to the extent that I want to do it whenever I can, it will be called a passion, not an obsession. Likewise, if I'm really, really good at something, it will be called a talent, not an "autism superpower".

    -I have never been told that my neurotype is a construct and that if I wasn't provided services, I would learn to act normally.

    -I don't have to choose between hiding a vital part of my identity and risking ridicule.

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  58. We've probably had something like this already, but:

    When I tell someone that I have been having trouble due to the environment not being suited to my neurology, I am not told that I do not have the neurology I say I have because I am generally able to live independantly.

    If I am in a relationship, people do not consider the fact I have the same neurology as my partner(s) to be a problem. My neurology will not be blamed if the relationship ends.

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  59. Far too many of these are from personal experience...


    If I choose to enter higher education (to do a degree or postgraduate study) this is not used as proof that I am not my neurotype.

    If I do a humanities or arts subject, this is not used as proof that I am not my neurotype.

    If I am trans, I am neither told that I only think I'm trans because of my neurotype nor that my neurotype is incompatible with my gender / that my neurotype means I can't transition.

    Books about relationships are written by and for people with my neurotype and books for people of other neurotypes on how to be in relationships with people of my neurotype do not exist / are unpublishable.

    If I assert that attempts to prevent people with my neurotype from ever being born are morally equivalent to genocide, I am not told I am over-exaggerating.

    I can go clubbing.

    People do not regularly assume I am drunk when I am sober.

    People who find people of my neurotype attractive are not pathologised as fetishists.

    If my interests are not normally considered age or gender appropriate for me, this will not be attributed to my neurotype.

    If I am infertile, people do not assume that my infertility is a good thing or "god's solution" to my neurotype.

    No one suggests that I actively seek out a marriage partner of another neurotype to "support" me.

    People are prepared to learn my language as they recognise it as a language.

    If I self-defined my neurotypicality without assistance from a medical professional, people do not assume I am making it up.

    I am not just expected but actively encouraged to take a full and active role in decision-making that affects me and no one makes life-changing decisions for me without my permission once I am an adult except in emergencies.

    Force-feeding me is considered abusive. As is forcibly restraining me, intentionally placing me in highly stressful situations, restricting my access to things that calm me or isolating me. No abuse is considered mandatory to educate me.

    No matter what I do, it is usually understood that I have personal space and this is not invaded in order to "correct" my behaviour.

    I am never categorised as "locked in [my] own world" because of other people's failure to learn to communicate with me/

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  60. I will not be accused of "jumping on the NT bandwagon" or "playing the NT card."

    When I am in a loving relationship, my partner will be called a "great guy/girl" and not a "saint."

    People will not assume that they know everything about me just because they have seen the movie Rain Man.

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  61. Theo: So true about the arts stuff! I'm in a theatre studies program and I dance (a combination of ballet and modern I sort of made up myself) and write in my spare time. If I had a dollar for every time someone assumed an autistic person could not or would not want to do the things that bring me joy, I'd be rich.

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  62. One more, probably echoes something that's been said but I can't find it and I want it out there.

    I will not be called (directly or indirectly) a child or accused of whining too much or being intentionally difficult because of sensitivities associated with my neurotype. I am also unlikely to be chewed out for behavior that is natural to me and that no one asked me to stop before chewing me out. [May be more like two different entries but because they involved the same person I'm lumping them together.]

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  63. This list is wonderful. But by gods I became wildly angry as I read down the list: in Agreement.

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  64. When I write fiction, nobody will accuse me of lying about my neurology, and if I write stories about other Neurotypicals, no one will praise me on research I didn't have to do.

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  65. My parents do not argue over which side of the family "gave me" my neurology, as if my neurology were a curse on myself and the family.

    If I see a psychologist, psychiatrist, etc for a mental illness like depression, I can be confidential that he/she shares the same neurology as me and that they will focus more on my treating the depression, than treating my neurology.

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  66. If I am avidly pro-choice, I won't have to worry that this movement will be used to target and eliminate future generations of my neurotype.

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  67. Some of the things on the privilege list, I actually have the luxury of having. My parents don't underestimate me, I am seen as intelligent, and a lot more things as well. Most people also don't treat me like a little kid. Then again, I have high functioning Autism (not Aspbergers), can talk, have interests that are obsessive and change after almost a year (but never EVER go away, I still am interested in them, I just talk about them less and less), and almost everyone I know loves me and sees me as a human being instead of either less than them or an "inspiration." I also have another privilege for "normals", if somebody abuses you by electroshocking you or any of the other ways that the Judge Rotenberg Center abuses children, then it'll be seen as an outrage instead of therapy or a cure. Luckily, if anyone tried to abuse me, I'd be able to talk about it and my relatives and friends would probably make sure that they were in jail. Others aren't so lucky.

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  68. 252 is for me too. My parents constantly tell me that I can. Especially my mom. This is because I know about politics, in fact, it is something I'm passionate about. In fact, I'm a proud Bernie Sanders supporter and would take Jill Stein as a second option.

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