Autism and Consent

I can’t enumerate this enough! It isn’t rocket science! Why is it always the so called “fringe” groups who understand the concept of consent better than the ‘normies’ who are supposed to set the standard????

“Once, years ago, I was new to the city, hanging out at a party with my poly friends. I was talking to a stranger about something or other. He talked with his hands quite a bit, and at one point moved to touch my arm to emphasize a point, the way neurotypicals sometimes do. Mid-motion, he stopped himself and said “do you mind if I touch you?”

To my autistic, touch-sensitive self, it was amazing! Mind-blowing! Miraculous! The clouds parted and angels sang.

I think I said something like, “Thanks for asking, I actually don’t really like to be touched in conversation.” He said, “Ok cool thanks for letting me know,” and the conversation continued on as normal.

That brief moment completely changed my world. I was astonished at how much more comfortable I felt at this party, knowing that people were going to ask me before touching me. When it was time to leave, and the friend that brought me was hugging everyone goodbye, someone turned to me smiling and said “are you a hugger?” We high fived instead.”

The Artism Spectrum

ron_and_hermione_by_dollyfish-d5un0c9 This is Harry Potter fanart I drew 5 years ago. Not sorry.

As everyone has probably noticed, the media (both professional and social) has lately been a firestorm of controversy surrounding the politics of consent.

I have my own very strong opinions on the overall topic, but I’d like to set all of that aside for now and take a moment to focus on one small aspect of the conversation:

What’s the best way for an autistic person who struggles with social cues to navigate consent?

The majority consensus I’ve seen within the autism community is that difficulty picking up on cues doesn’t excuse disregarding those cues.

“If you can’t understand non verbal cues it’s your job to ask for verbal consent,”
               —Anonymous autistic Facebook user
“In my opinion it’s ableist to assume autistic people are incapable of recognizing non-consent,”

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2 thoughts on “Autism and Consent

  1. Invisible Autistic January 19, 2018 — 17:13

    Every time I read books that are clearly about NT parenting, I’m always surprised by how it needs reminding that children are to be treated with respect. It’s a no brainer for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Invisible Autistic January 19, 2018 — 17:15

      Sometimes I will show genuine curiosity and fascination about another person’s life and they respond like this is the first time that’s ever happened to them. It’s mindblowing

      Liked by 1 person

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