Someone is crying

Trainer: “What is the first thing you do when you see someone crying?”
Dads of autistic children: <silence>
Trainer: “Go and comfort them, obviously”

Me: That’s incorrect, at least as a parent with autism. Firstly my brain tells me something catastrophic might be happening and my anxiety spikes. Before I can mobilise any response, my fight-or-flight is activated, assessing threat and working out how to make the noise go away. A few seconds later, more cognitive thinking commences and empathy kicks in.

Trainer: <silence>

The trainer was pretty good on other accounts and this is not a personal criticism of him or his efforts, rather here we see a fundamental misunderstanding of how autistic parents can respond to sensory overload. And how the trainer, being neurotypical himself, seemed to be blindsided in his training. Particularly since it was reasonable to assume that at least *some* of the Dads with autistic children, would be autistic themselves – diagnosed or not.

This is why the #actuallyautistic movement exists, to help correct misunderstandings like this.

Frank Ray Consulting. Software requirements for agile development teams, particularly distributed, remote and offshore development teams working in financial services.

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