Please don’t do that

When communicating with someone who you know to be autistic, don’t start that communication with the excessive use of idioms. For the most part, we can actually figure out what you mean, but it over-complicates the decoding of the meaning of your message. It requires extra work on our end. You’re already placing us at a disadvantage when you do that so please don’t do that.

When we understand you, but we still disagree with you, please don’t tell us that we have obviously missed your point. Telling people who disagree with you that they are not understanding you is a silencing tactic. It implies that we don’t understand you because we lack your sophisticated thinking. Sometimes, we understand just fine, yet we still disagree. Instead of silencing our dissent by claiming that we have misunderstood you, lean in and figure out why we’re disagreeing. Perhaps you misunderstood? Furthermore, if you truly believe that we didn’t understand you, the onus is on you to clarify what you meant. Claiming that we misunderstood you without providing any sort of clarification regarding your meaning does nothing to further the conversation so please don’t do that.

When you are called out for silencing, don’t claim that you aren’t being oppressive. You don’t get to decide that what you do is not oppressive if you are not a member of the oppressed group in question. If I was communicating with a member of an oppressed group to which I do not belong to, and they pointed out that something that I had done or said was offensive or silencing, I would stop, check my privilege, apologise and do my best not to do the same thing again. I definitely would not deny that I was being an absolute douchecanoe while simultaneously restating my belief that I was being misunderstood.

When you finally realise that the point that you originally made was based on a massive assumption which turned out to be wrong because you didn’t actually read what had already been written, please don’t try and turn it into a situation of mutual misunderstanding. Own your error, apologise in full, and stop. Please don’t think that I contributed to the misunderstanding because I made the very reasonable assumption that you had read the thing that you were objecting to.

Lastly, don’t say that the communication breakdown occurred only because I am passionate, but not because I am autistic. I am both passionate and autistic, and when you do all of the above you will get a response from me that may be very different from the type of response that you would get from a non-autistic person. You will get a different response from me because being autistic means that I have had to put up with that type of purposely obfuscated communication for years, and I am thoroughly sick and tired of it.

Please don’t do that.

If you want us to understand you, try and ensure that you have fully understood us first. If you want us to understand you, try and ensure that you communicate your point clearly. Don’t unnecessarily obscure your meaning by hiding it under layers of idioms. If you want us to understand you, start by listening.