Helping the Do-Gooders


Twice recently when I have been out grocery shopping with my dad, while waiting to pay the cashier, he, not me,  has been approached by a do-gooder who tells him that she has a program for people like me. He says thanks, but no thanks.

They tell him it is good to get me out in the community like this and they talk to him as if I’m not there and not understanding the conversation. He tries to escape quickly, for both our sakes.

They mean well. I get that, but they occupy the traditional, patronizing, benevolent model of disabled outreach and education. They must rescue me.

No thanks, ladies.

Do they walk up to a guy in a wheelchair, ignore him, and tell his companion they have a program for him and how great they are for bringing him into the community? That would be pretty funny if they wanted a lawsuit, but lucky for them, I’m not speaking and that gives them the freedom to assume I’m just like all their other charges– which may actually be true, just not in the way they think.


11 responses to “Helping the Do-Gooders

  1. Spot on Ido. I try to respond with a friendly …

    Thank you. Dan loves to get out and understands everything you are saying. He just doesn’t give off the same visual cues that you are used to seeing.

    … and I find that usually reboots the persons thinking enough such that Dan becomes part of the conversation. It’s actually kind of cool to see a person expand their mind and think in a new, and i think much better, way!

  2. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be, paraphrasing Carly Fleischmann, to have people talking behind your back right in front of you. The stereotypes are so powerful, the awkwardness of not knowing how to act so uncomfortable, that people with the best intentions can be among the most hurtful. Then there are those who think they know it all. Are they worse?
    We need to talk about stigma and autism at every level, as often as possible. Everyone’s voice counts!

  3. You should print up some business cards. All they need to say is your url.
    Just the act of handing it to people like this should cause them pause. Then they can chew on crow in private while reading your blog.

  4. Yes, this has happened to my son many times. Other times, my son will be holding his ipad, typing his question to someone, and that person will talk right over him to me. Very frustrating. I usually say, “oh, he’s typing something to you,” and point attention down to the ipad.
    Even in an “expert’s” meeting, people will talk to me while my son is answering their questions–as though he isn’t even in the room.
    It’s going to take a lot of work to get the message out there, so thank you for leading the charge, Ido Kedar. Your book, (as I have mentioned before) has changed my son’s life in most amazing way. Thanks

  5. Hi Ido, do you ever take questions or give advice to your readers? If so, I was wondering if I could reach out to you for some advice about a situation I’m going through. Thanks

    • Are you on Facebook? If you are you can write a private message on my wall. If not, let me know. My Facebook page is idoinautismland

  6. Hello Ido,
    You are very kind, just like the person I imagine when I read your book. Looking forward to the new one with great anticipation.
    I have a dilemma in my writing on autism and stigma and would appreciate it if you could contact me about it. I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks, Gordon

  7. Great post and really important information!
    #assumeintelligence !!!!

  8. They do talk about wheelchair users like that, too. They used to do similar things when I hung out with my friend with CP, assuming that I was her carer and speaking to me instead of her and so forth.

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