You cant make this stuff up: The stupid things people say to you

The Autism Ladder community was asked about the stoopid things that people say to them about Autism or their child. The response was overwhelming with humorous, appalling and all to familiar familiar stories.

The following quotes are taken from that discussion and been group together into the broad themes that emerged.

Cures & Causes

  • "Vitamins will cure it.
  • "He doesn't talk because he sleeps in a room with air conditioning and the cold has damaged his throat muscles' "
  • "Question: Have you read Jenny McCarthy?
  • "Answer: Of course I take all my advice on serious issues about my granddaughter from women who are famous for taking their clothes off?"
  • "Have you heard of / tried the gluten and dairy free diet?"
  • "Remove preservatives from his diet (already did that 3 years ago now lol. Guess what? Still autistic lol)"

Autism Its cause you let them eat macdonalds nuggets"

  • "It's because you hang around people with autistic kids and he is learning their behaviour... (Ummmm.... No. I hang around people with autistic kids because they don't try to offend me with their stupid comments lol)"
  • "Its all the chemicals they grow meat in...( said to be as the person was eating a hamburger lol )"
  • "she is autistic because you didn't breastfed her"
  • "The GAPS diet cures Autism and she's too pretty to have that."


Me: He doesn't recognize himself as the one of the other kids in the room.
Mum: so what is he? A dog?
Me: umm no? He would be barking on the floor if he thought he was a dog. He just doesn't see himself as part of that social group?
Mum: so he thinks he's a chair?
Me: wtf?

  • We were invited to a birthday party once and the mother asked - oh! He is autistic - can he eat birthday cake??? MMMMMMM.

  • When my son started kinder I told one of the mothers that he had Asperger Syndrome and she said it's not contagious is it??

  • But He doesn't look disabled? She is too pretty to be autistic....

  • He doesn't look autistic, he looks normally.

  • Autism did they catch it from your older child?

  • I heard red cordial does it

  • He's too affectionate to have autism.

  • Did you vaccinate him? Cause they give children autism

  • Oh they will grow out of that right ?

  • (When he was nearly three) - you just have to think if him as a baby - you've got a baby for a bit longer

  • But they are girls , isnt Autism only for boys

  • He talks so well, so mustn't be autistic enough!! Grrr

  • My other favourite is my next door neighbours cousins milkman son has aspergers and he flaps. Your son doesn't flap, so he mustn't be autistic...

  • I tried to explain that my son was upset because his old carer left and the centre director said "I don't even think he understands she's gone. He doesn't understand things"

  • And what is his special gift? The person then elaborated " well Rainman could count cards" WTF

  • He doesn't have aspergers because he makes i contact and is animated enough in expressions, he also displays empathy.. yes we heard this from an ASD expert psychologist

  • All kids do that.

  • But she will talk to anyone , kids with autism cant talk

  • Cant they just take a tablet to make them normal ?

Parental Failings

  • Oh all children do that- he just needs more discipline
  • All they need is a good smack. That will teach them to behave.
  • It's not autism - its behavioural

Autism is a name they give to children as an excuse for poor parenting

  • Did you do anything different when you were pregnant?
  • If they were my kids I would smack them and then they wouldnt be autistic
  • He behaves for us.... And what I want to scream is yes if course he f@&king does. He is at home in his routine in his favourite clothes with his favourite food without sensory overload!! Because I worked my arse off to set him up for success
  • It's just an excuse for the kids bad behaviour , give them to me for a week and they wont be autistic no more
  • The worst one I had re my non-verbal, intellectually impaired child was 'He doesn't talk ... because you do all the talking for him."

Offensive & Just Plain Mean

  • Oh what all three have autism didnt they test you for that when you were pregnant
  • I got told he was too old for family daycare when he was 2.5 years old..... The lady just couldn't handle him and thought it best to lie to me
  • Her child seem's fine to me, I reckon she just wants a label on her child because she likes the attention & wants extra money" heard that when out at a kids party once!!
  • oh look, here, in the dictionary, it says autism is when you go into your own little world... oh look at me!! looks to the roof and around i just went to my own world - i must have it too!!".. my father upon my sons diagnosis...
  • He's retarded isn't he, so he couldn't have autism!
  • Since both your children have it, then you gave it to them since they have different fathers... now ex husband

We had a teacher aide removed in the first week - she told me "He played with the kids today ALMOST like a normal boy. You couldn't have come in an picked the asd kid" - he is not friggen Pinocchio (almost a real boy)

  • From a principal: 'he is interrupting the other children's education- so if we think he should sit in the office for 3 hours then he can stay there until we have a spare staff member to take him back... Perhaps you should look at special school'... I decided Perhaps they should look at less income and pulled him out
  • Another time,”but he looks normal”, in front of my son. My son responded "you look stupid and before you said that i though maybe you would surprise me"
  • Your child is the equivalent of a chimpanzee.
  • why don't you give up on that kid - everyone else has, you are just looking stupid now!! - first ex husband re oldest daughter at 17...
  • I was once told by a shopkeeper he belongs in a cage ( that was the day he was diagnosed and was in an op shop, all he was doing was touching a shirt and rubbing his face with it as it felt nice.

Oh yes and I got.. Why would you have another baby, he will probably kill it.. WTF?? And a nurse said to me don't leave him alone with your baby... Umm why would you leave any 4 year old with a baby? Apparently ok to leave my NT 2 year old in the same room as her? Crazy lady.

Support that isn’t

Me: sorry, my son has autism
Banker: I feel a little autistic today, I forgot someone's name
Me: um, that doesn't make you makes you stupid?

  • Best ever that I had never heard before was. Brother had told her to buy a parrot cause that will help him learn to talk together.
  • He'll grow out of it my 11 year old had it from 3 - 6 then he was cured.
  • God only gives out what people can handle - that's why you were chosen to this life
  • he's not that bad and they have drugs for that now AND if he's naughty you just aren't hitting him hard enough( from a family member who has had 2 kids in trouble with the police and on drugs ... Hmm don't mind me if I don't take your advice)
  • You know. .. They have child minding at broncos leagues Club' while I was on the floor with him, mid meltdown outside target at Brookside. I will never forget it.

First my pet hate. "we are all on the spectrum" one day my son said to someone, "NO we are all on the human spectrum, only the lucky ones are on the autism spectrum" Another time he said "don't flatter yourself, you are not that interesting"

  • Oh it must be mild
  • Oh When I had the remark of oh he must be gifted and you just need to find his talent. My reply oh yes I found his hidden talent in the arts. He is able to reach really high and low and anywhere else and cover the walls completely in crap. The smell is really something too would you like to come over and help me remove it. That was my response on a really good day I was having.
  • from other asd mum well at least he 'only' has aspergers. sigh. it isn't a competition.
  • "my son has cochlear implants so I know ALL about these behaviours...." yeah, because all disabilities should be lumped and treated together

Final Word

In addition to the stories that emerged in the discussion was an amazing sense of mutual support, respect and understanding. As one member so eloquently put it:

... there is no doubt there is a silent mutual understanding in this group, or anywhere that those who live with ASD in their lives that is beyond compare. It is a feeling that no other non immediate family member, no councillor nor any friend could hope to duplicate no matter how hard they try. Its not their fault, but its unspoken and something that you can see in another parents eyes. Its just knowing. There is no greater comfort to me than that.

Its easy enough to call yourself a community but what emerged during this single discussion was proof to me that this is exactly what we are all building here.

Todd Whitehead

As a passionate advocate for my children, I am determined to help them and the world become better friends so they can live a rewarding life of their choosing.

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