Should I be offended?

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Should I be offended?

Postby Kirbster12 » Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:46 am

A while back, I was talking to this boy on the school bus. I told him that I wouldn't drive because of my dyspraia, and he said that dyspraia was wh you couldn't concentrate (That's ADHD!). Then he said "Autistic people can drive, and they have spasms." I was really offended by this. My second cousin Ben is autistic, and he doesn't have 'spasms'!
I know he didn't realize he had offended me, but it still really got to me.

(P.S: One of the keys on my laptop is broken, guess which one it is! :wink: )
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City Council would like to remind everyone that dogs are not allowed in the dog park. People are not allowed in the dog park...
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Re: Should I be offended?

Postby abi » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:49 pm

there is not much point in being offended by ignorance, although i can see why it would be upsetting.

i dont know what the person is like, but if they are likley to accept new information, it may be worth giving him some of the correct information.

the information is probably based on past experiance of neurdiverse people. it is true that dyspraxia can change concentration, so he may have spoken to someone whose dyspraxia really affects concentration. the spasms in autistics, he may be refering to the relativley high co-morbidity of epilepsy and autism.
the way i see it, dyspraxia is an extra hurdle in every race i run, but that extra hurdle, is just extra exercise, so in the end, i will come through stronger.
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Re: Should I be offended?

Postby Goldenhamster » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:20 pm

Abi is right that epilepsy is sometimes comorbid with autism but your friend is incorrect to reason autistic people 'have spasms'. It's like saying because some apples are red all apples are red and if it's not red it's not an apple.

There seem to be two separate misunderstandings here; firstly your friend seems to find it difficult to understand why dyspraxia presents difficulties in learning to drive. You could explain to him that dyspraxia specifically effects your ability to judge depth, distance and speed and can also make it more difficult for you to split your attention between different tasks or complete tasks simultaneously (ie. changing gear while checking the mirror).

For the 'spasms' misunderstading you could explain that although some people with autism also have epilepsy this does not mean that 'spasms' are a symptom or characteristic of autism. Of course, it is possible that your friend is mistaking hand, wrist or arm movements often exhibited by people with autism as 'spasms', when in fact these movements are known as 'stimming', and unlike spasms are not involuntary contractions of the muscles. There is much debate as to what 'stimming' is and why some autistic people do it, but some autistic individuals claim that it helps them to concentrate or to calm down, and it is also sometimes exhibited in response either to excitement or stress. 'Stimming', unlike epilepsy, shouldn't be an impediment to driving as it is not completely involuntary.
You don't have to be dyspraxic to be exeptional

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Re: Should I be offended?

Postby k9ruby » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:33 am

Hi Kirbster12,

I wouldn't be too offended, at least he is trying to understand people with conditions like us- we have to give him credit for that, even if he gets things a bit mixed up. Could he be mixing 'spasms' up with involuntary movements? I know some autistic people get these sometimes- a boy at my old Sixthform used to hand flap and jump on the spot when he got anxious sometimes. Dyspraxia can affect peoples concentration as well, sometimes I get extremely concentrated on something that I am so zoned in someone could be talking to me and asking the same question 5x over and I won't hear it. On the other end, if someones trying to talk to me whilst the TV is on loudly and there is more than 1 person in the room my brain can't process the information very well sometimes. He's not far off, just needs a little more education! At least he isn't denying such conditions exist. :)
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Re: Should I be offended?

Postby Steph » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:55 pm

I agree with Ruby-you have to give him credit for being interested. One of my students with autism does these moves which are entirely voluntary to show us that she is angry with us and wants us to go away-these include violent shoulder shrugs and head jerks or can be more complex (one of them is what I can only describe as a Mexican wave), which, for people who haven't worked with her before, can look like spasms and seizures but she is in control of them and, as soon as she is happy again, they stop. Maybe your friend could be thinking of something like this.
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