Comments That Drive Me Crazy #3

CrazyPeople can say some incredibly stupid things when confronted with autism. This is the third installment of insensitive comments that people have said regarding my daughter’s autism.

You can find the first list here and the second one here.



  1. She’s not really autistic. If she were autistic she couldn’t make eye contact.
    Yeah, and when did you get your medical degree? Because most doctors don’t even know how to diagnosis autism. And FYI, lots of people with ASD can make eye contact.
  2. You shouldn’t bring her here until she knows how to behave.
    Really? So why are you here? And I HAVE to bring her here otherwise she will never learn how to behave in this inhospitable environment.
  3. She’s too cute to have autism.
    What does her appearance have to do with a medical condition?
  4. She’s too smart to have autism. Aren’t they all retarded?
    Umm, no. But she’s obviously smarter than you.
  5. Wow, she’s actually potty trained? How’d you do that?
    Dogs and cats can be “potty trained.” Are you implying my child has less cognitive ability than a Chihuahua?
  6. You’re so strong.
    No, I’m not. My daughter’s autism didn’t give me any super powers. I can’t bench press any more than I could before. I’m just doing what’s necessary to help my child. You’d do the same.
  7. Brags about how well her kids are doing. Then asks, with concern, how Katie is performing in school.
    Wow. I’m suddenly glad my child has autism. Special needs moms don’t treat parenting like a competitive sport.
  8. Can they FIX that?
    No. Can they fix you?
  9. I think about you guys all the time.
    Really? Is that why you never invite us over anymore?
  10. What do you mean she can understand what I’m saying? She can’t even talk!
    I’m speechless, just speechless.

Until next time,
Cynthia Patton

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
This entry was posted in Autism, My Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Comments That Drive Me Crazy #3

  1. Trish Brown says:

    I love the lists. I was struck by one thing, however, and I hope my comment doesn’t make your next list of comments that drive you crazy…..but I do think you are a remarkable, strong woman. Yes, it is true that you didn’t grow super powers over night and a lot of people would step up and do whatever needed to be done for their child. Lots of people don’t, though. As a genetic counselor I have experienced the other side. I’ve seen a woman terminate a normal pregnancy because she didn’t want to deal with twins. Another couple terminated a pregnancy because there was a risk the child might have some minor learning disabilities. A man left his wife in my office (!!!) because we determined that the premature fusion of their baby’s skull bones, something “easily” fixed, was inherited from her side. A couple relinquished their baby with Down syndrome at birth because they didn’t want to deal with the issues. I’ve had adoption agencies call me looking for “THE genetic test,” as requested by prospective adopting parents, to prove that a child being considered for adoption is “normal.” I’ve also seen parents who let the medical and school system dictate everything- they never question, or push, or advocate and in the end their child missed some opportunities as a result. I think women in general have a tendency to down play their strengths some times. I know I do. But when I read your stories about your life I see someone who is loving, tenacious, an amazing advocate, able to embrace humor in the face of obstacles, and an uncommon willingness to share her journey with the world. For that I thank you, and I hope if I admire your strength it won’t drive you crazy but rather give you a well deserved moment of self-pride.

    • cjpatton says:

      If your comments make any list it will be this one: Top Ten Nicest Things Anyone Has Ever Said To Me. Thank you. This made me cry, for so many reasons. Part of me is shocked at the things you’ve encountered in your office and part of me isn’t all that surprised. I did, after all, have a husband who refused to adopt Katie following her autism diagnosis. I know these things happen, more than any of us realize. Yet how sad for the couple who gave up the baby with Downs syndrome. There were several Downs kids in Katie’s last class and I found them quite delightful. I’m certain those parents would have learned so much from that child. I know I’ve learned things I never would have expected from Katie. And yes, I know there are far too many parents who do not question doctors or school district personnel. I’m lucky in that I’m uniquely equipped to deal with the many medical and legal issues that my child encounters.

      Like you, I tend to downplay my strengths. I suspect it’s because I want people to like me. Thank you for reminding me that my authentic self is perfectly fine just the way it is.

      • cjpatton says:

        I forgot to mention that I don’t mind when people tell me that I’m strong in a genuine way. What drives me crazy is when they do it in a fake, condescending way. It’s similar to the “I couldn’t do what you’re doing” comment. I suspect what these statements really mean is: I’m grateful I don’t have your kid and your life.

        Little do they know: I’m pretty happy with my child and my life. :)

      • Trish Brown says:

        That should be a placard on all our desks, “my authentic self is perfectly fine just the way it is.” I love it.

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