When we say ‘trust women’ this is what we’re talking about

So the Globe and Mail has a column called “Group Therapy”. In this one article, a woman with Asperger’s asks for advice on how to find work that allows her not to socialize, and how to find such a job without the pains of networking. A reasonable request for advice, right?

The ‘tips’ came from a variety of people, and looked kinda like this:

“Challenge yourself to intellectually register and respond to the emotional stew that is our world.”

“If you avoid learning social skills, it will hold you back for the rest of your life.”

“Small talk is […]  worth making the effort.”

Are any of those statements untrue? No, and I acknowledge that a lot of folks with neuroatypicality can and do work to get better at the social skills that some of us pick up more easily. Sure, it’s a worthwhile challenge. And yes, social skills can help you achieve your life goals.

But THAT’S NOT WHAT THIS WOMAN ASKED FOR.

She didn’t request trite, didactic suggestions that she should try harder at social interaction. She asked how to avoid social interaction. She knew what she needed to make her situation better and she asked for help with that.

But a couple respondents decided that she didn’t ‘really’ know what her problem was. It was their job to set her straight and offer a different solution: become more ‘normal’.

Just get better at socializing, and you’ll be fine! I know what it’s like, because when I grew up, I was good at making tea but not much else! We all have some kind of disability!

I’d like to see the population reflected in national media show some kind of respect for the people who have invisible disabilities, some kind of trust that the women who have them know what they need, and some kind of desire to help them get it.

But maybe my expectations are too high. You tell me.

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