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Featured Is this phrase acceptable to describe autistic people?

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Aspergers_Aspie, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. Aspergers_Aspie

    Aspergers_Aspie Active Member

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    Hi all,

    Please may I ask, if the phrase 'Things not quite right' is acceptable to describe a person on the autistic spectrum? I ask, as a member of staff at the aspie drop-in centre where I attend, was conversing with two people from a group who offer support to parents, partners, siblings and carers of adults (over 16) on the autism spectrum, who use the drop-in centre too. One of the persons from the group used the phrase 'things not quite right'. A member of staff from the drop-in centre then said the person who made this comment was referring to his Daughter who is on the autistic spectrum, I then asked another member of staff from the drop-in centre if he thought some Aspies may be offended by this comment, he answered 'Yes'.
     
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  2. Starfire

    Starfire Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Were you eavesdropping? Did you hear the full conversation and the context it was used in?
     
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  3. Butterfly88

    Butterfly88 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I agree that the context matters. Maybe something someone was doing was not quite right that may or may not be related to autism.
     
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  4. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    How loudly were they speaking ?was it so loud that anybody would’ve heard it?, if not it’s rude to be listening ,Many do not like people listening to their conversations, if it was loud enough that anybody !could’ve heard it and you heard the whole !conversation it’s in the realm of slanderous ,probably couldn’t prosecute somebody for it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2019
  5. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

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    How does it matter if it was loud enough for anybody to hear it?

    I often hear conversations other people would not be able to hear and I can’t help it, I cant just magically stop hearing it - if it is clearly private (like when i can hear through the walls in a doctors office - so terrible!) I will put in earplugs or play music through my headphones to try to drown it out so the people have privacy, or even put my fingers in my ears and hum if i have no earplugs or music.

    But if I am in a public place and people are talking quietly or whispering and I can hear it clearly while others would not, it is not eavesdropping just because I can hear it! It is a public place and I am not trying to hear it, it just happens because I am there.

    Eavesdropping is deliberate, otherwise it is “overhearing”.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  6. Shamar

    Shamar Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It depends on certain specifics. "Things not quite right" implies something broken. If the daughter were, for example, seriously impaired intellectually, it might be acceptable. For a high functioning autistic, such as most of the people here, it is not acceptable. I think "a bit different" would be acceptable. Many NTs behave like we are not there or cannot understand what they are saying.
     
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  7. AHClemist

    AHClemist noble gas

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    I agree with this. I have actually used a phase very similar to "not quite right" when trying to explain my experiences to friends and family. For example, when in a particular situation I try my best to include myself in the conversation. I feel that what I said and the way I said it was fitting to the group of people and the general atmosphere in the room, but for some reason it didn't feel quite right. I somehow disrupted the flow of the group and now things feel awkward.

    I think "not quite right" describing a person has the conotation of "strange" or "different in a way I just can't describe". I suppose this can still be meant in a genuine and friendly way or as a negative more along the lines of "not quite right in the head." "A bit different" runs into the same issue though.

    So to bring this back to the original question: Yes, I think some aspies could be offended by the phrase in question. Unfortunately, whether or not they are depends on how they see themselves (as broken or not) and it depends on how the person using the phrase feels about Autism spectrum disorders. It would probably be ok for a worried mother to describe her daughter as "things are not quite right" to someone she is seeking help from, especially if she's not well versed in the subject of Autism. I do not think it would be ok to use it in front of the daughter because it would feel devaluing to her.
     
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  8. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Agreed with this. And also, sometimes people will have a conversation that really should be private (or they intend it to be private) in "public" (or even just in front of others...like in the common area of a house).

    As for OP's original question, it's impossible to know without context (and the comment is 'off' in such a way that I feel there is likely some missing context). However, if the person were referring to someone as a "thing" that's definitely offensive. (I'm definitely "not quite right" LOL!) There's nothing OK about referring to people as "things". But it honestly sounds like they were referring to someone's actions or mannerisms and only part of the conversation was overheard.
     
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  9. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    you obviously don’t understand neuro typicals !!!
     
  10. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Well that's a given. *cheeky grin*
     
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  11. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

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    Why is a mild impairment “just different” while a more severe one is “broken”? (Autism is by definition something with impairments.)

    Both mild and severe impairments are “differences”, too.

    Analogy, we are all being compared to mugs:

    Are the less impaired ASDers perhaps merely chipped or cracked? You argue they are just made from a different mold? Maybe the people with severe impairments are also made from a different mold, one that is not designed to be able to keep liquids warm or even hold onto them but that doesn’t mean they aren’t “supposed to be” or “shouldn’t” be that way....that they aren’t part of the natural variation in humanity.

    People seem to delude themselves into thinking humans are always supposed to be perfectly functional and healthy in all ways and all have the same set of abilities and that anything else isnt supposed to exist. Since when does nature work like that with any organism?

    The main problem with calling someone broken is it tends to lead to devaluing and implies things like the person isn’t supposed to be the way they are and by extension shouldnt be at all ( or that they are somehow lesser people because of their impaired abilities or that the abilities they do have are worthless if they do not somehow “make up for” the impairments or are not at least at the same level as someone without impairments) - nobody deserves that. We all have a place in society and we all have value and things to be proud of.


    You are right, I truly do not understand them a lot of the time. However....

    I think a lot of neurotypicals would agree with me about what is and is not eavesdropping.

    Probably some just wouldn’t believe I could hear something others couldn’t unless I was trying to do so deliberately.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  12. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    When I was a kid, in school, I had a crush on this boy and the class was outside playing baseball (which I hated because I'm awkward at sports), but I whispered something to my friend next to me about this boy. He was standing in the outfield and I was in the batters cage, but he laughed and yelled that he heard that. I'll never forget that. lol
     
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  13. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    One "not quite right in the head" being the more common idiom that I know of. Probably used more in a derogatory manner than not. A non-medical way of implying that one lacks certain mental abilities.

    Not cool, and not acceptable IMO.
     
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  14. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Guess there are worse ways to say this, so 'just a bit off' or 'not quite right' may be the nicest way she could think of to put it? But I've heard this type of thing said about NT's too. I remember my aunt trying to figure out why my cousin was smoking pot and getting into trouble and remembering that she dropped him on his head once when he was little. lol (Oh, she was being very serious).
     
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  15. SimplyWandering

    SimplyWandering Well-Known Member

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    One of my NT acquaintances/friends who knows I am Autistic often says to me “that’s weird,” “your weird” and when I say I am not weird she always says well everyone is weird. She has said this to me a dozen times, sometimes when she gets real drunk and rude.

    The last time she told me that I said “I don’t appreciate being called that. I am not weird, I am just me.”

    She apologized and felt bad about what she says.

    Words do hurt, but we don’t have to let them control how we feel.
     
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  16. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    Great communication! Communication and context are important too.
     
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  17. NothingToSeeHere

    NothingToSeeHere Asexuowl V.I.P Member

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    Depends entirely on the context. They could have been discussing their early suspicions that she was not NT, or perhaps they are worried about something specific, such as her having some social problems or symptoms of depression, but they can't put their finger on anything beyond a feeling that things aren't quite right with her, which is all fine. But it would be offensive if they were just saying she wasn't quite right because she has autism, but I can think of far more circumstances of their using the term in a reasonable and sympathetic way than an offensive way. That's the problem with eavesdropping (aside for it being generally rude and unethical), you can't know the whole story.
     
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  18. Ken S.

    Ken S. Dog Cookie King V.I.P Member

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    People need to get over their sensitivity of words they don't like. I don't take offense to being labeled Mentally Ill as a neurological disorder is technically just that. You will be much happier in life if you learn to laugh things off rather than being upset by everything.
     
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  19. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I use that one all the time but only when jokingly referring to myself, never other people. Other people close to me have said it jokingly/affectionately as well ("you ain't right kid").

    But if a complete stranger were to say it I think I'd be offended.
     
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  20. the_tortoise

    the_tortoise Lost Soul V.I.P Member

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    I don’t take offense to words either if they are accurate and not used offensively, but I do take offense if they are used offensively and at the derogatory connotations people attach to mental illness/mental disability and being treated badly or looked down upon because of it.

    People aren’t really taking offense to words they are taking offense to demeaning attitudes and poor treatment that is sometimes reflected in word choice. They are taking offense to social dynamics like “othering” that are often reflected in word choice.

    If mental illness/disability was not stigmatized I bet very few would take offense at being called mentally ill/disabled.

    Also some of us are very specific and concrete and have difficulty with words that have vague/shifting/inconsistent/multiple meanings and may want/need to find ways to acknowledge with word choice the difference between a stable condition you were born with that is not degenerative or life threatening and conditions that are degenerative or life threatening or that are acquired through infection or injury....whether or not the differences actually matter for anything other than a personal feeling that as much understanding as possible has been achieved between people depends on context and the individuals involved.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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