Responding to Disclosure

How do I respond to someone if they tell me they are on the spectrum? This is a great question, and it’s one that only a person on the spectrum can really answer. Of course, the desired response varies person to person. Let’s start with things to avoid saying during an autistic person’s disclosure: “You don’t look autistic.” “Wow! I want you to know that no one can tell.” “So you must be really high-functioning.” “My cousin/next-door neighbor’s child/second aunt twice removed has that.” “Oh, okay, I have ___.” “Everyone is a little bit on the spectrum.” “Are you professionally diagnosed?” Instead, try these words that will cause your conversation to flourish: “How has that impacted you?” “I know a little bit about autism. What do you think I should know?” “Do you know many other people on the spectrum?” “Thanks for letting me know. What could I do to be more understanding?”

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