‘If they have a disability, they shouldn’t be trick or treating anyway!’ I want to admit something.’: Adult woman with autism urges what is ‘lacking’ on Halloween is ‘acceptance’

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“I SWEAR this is not about blue pumpkins. Keep reading. This is an important message.

I feel like this blue pumpkin thing has really opened up pandoras box in regard to people seeing how disabled individuals are treated.

And before you say, ‘I’ve never seen it happen,’ it does.

I’m seeing so many posts in groups saying, ‘My kid isn’t autistic, but we will carry the blue bucket too, so people won’t be rude to my child.’ These posts are from parents whose kids have sensory processing disorder, ADHD, selective mutism, anxiety, etc.

And I want to admit something.

My first initial (and WRONG) reaction was: ok, so now people are taking an autism thing and making it about their non autistic kid.

And then I instantly laughed at myself because:

  1. HELLO TIFFANY, this isn’t an autism ‘thing.’ It’s exactly what you’ve been screaming at the top of your lungs about. This is NOT accepted by most of the autism community.
  2. HELLO TIFFANY, all kids deserve kindness and the ability for accommodations to be made. We can’t (and shouldn’t) pick and choose what accommodations are allowed for each child.
  3. HELLO TIFFANY, what in the world is going on in this cruel world that so many children of all disabilities and all backgrounds are having these awful experiences?

This right here is the problem.

Just search for ‘blue pumpkin autism,’ and read the comments. You will find people trying to justify being rude to children.

‘I don’t demand things from kids that have disabilities.’ -so, you just demand things from ‘typical looking kids!’ How does that work? Do these adults ask for a diagnosis before kids come to their door so that they can quickly figure out how to speak to the children?

‘Kids these days are rude.’ No. They really aren’t. It’s a complaint made about every new generation since the dawn of human beings. That’s not an excuse. Kids are kids. This is Halloween. We’re not at cotillion.

‘If they have a disability, they shouldn’t be trick or treating anyway!’ No. I won’t even acknowledge that’s comment.

The list goes on as to the insensitive and hurtful comments made by adults on how kids should be treated. It proves that parents who feel the need to disclose their child’s diagnosis do have a legit and valid worry about their child being ostracized by adults whose literally only ‘job’ at Halloween is to smile and pass out candy. If adults can’t do that without being snarky, picky, rude, non-inclusive, then they should really just turn off their lights and not participate.

That would solve this whole problem.

Yet, here we are.

This is what society has come down to. This is Halloween, one night of the year. For many of us, maybe only a few minutes out of the year. As many families I know can only go to a few houses anyway.

The disability community has come a long way in fighting for our rights and how we are treated, and I acknowledge that. But this Halloween business just blatantly proves how much further we have to go.

The thing is, people are aware of autism. They are aware of ADHD, Spd, anxiety, etc.

*The thing that’s lacking is acceptance*

People aren’t willing to look past their own ableist biase of these disorders or diagnoses to see that these innocent children are trying their hardest. They see what the media, and harmful organizations put out and perpetuate of what autism ‘looks like.’ They see a boy, lining things up, that doesn’t like socks, who is most likely visibly stimming, and probably doesn’t speak. When people think of ADHD, they probably think of a wild boy being destructive and loud. For anxiety, people probably think of a really ‘shy’ child hiding behind their caregiver.

But as many of us who are living these lives know, this is so far from reality. It’s not even close to what these amazing children and adults really ‘look like.’ It’s why, speaking out and advocating for ourselves, family and friends is so important.

But it needs to be the right and safe kind of advocating. The kind that is respectful to those with the disability. The advocacy that gives the disabled their own autonomy and doesn’t leave them in a vulnerable situation. The kind of advocacy that brings to light how it’s really like yet making sure not to embarrass or shame the disabled individual. The kind that doesn’t ostracize and unintentionally exclude the disabled person all in the name of the diagnosis.

It’s something everyone should strive for. You see a disabled person being harassed? Say something. You hear a coworker speak about someone in a mean and ableist way? Say something. Even if you don’t know for sure if the person is disabled. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid or too proud of yourself to stop and listen to who are living with these disabilities. Don’t shy away from dropping the ableist stigma that society has attached to many disorders. They aren’t always true and will only slow down our progress to be inclusive and accommodating to the disabled.

This picture is of an autistic. Doesn’t look like the one that is the ‘poster child’ for autism, does it? This is what autism actually looks like.”

Courtesy Tiffany Tully

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tiffany Tully, 34, of Quirky.Stimmy.Cool. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Tiffany:

‘We can’t be friends anymore. You’ve become ‘That mom.’ That’s a tough pill to swallow.’: 34-year-old Mom diagnosed with autism ‘couldn’t be prouder’ of creating a world where ‘differences are celebrated’

‘I’m a 34-year-old woman and I only got formally diagnosed 2 DAYS ago. I’m autistic.’

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