“I won’t just outgrow this!”

Something that seems to be an unfortunately-common expression towards an Aspie or anyone else on the Spectrum regarding their traits or quirks is, “You’ll/he’ll/she’ll outgrow this”, “Why are you so weird? Normal people don’t do that”, etc. It is a shame that most people assume that someone on the Spectrum like me will eventually stop “acting Autistic”, or normalize, perhaps. Newsflash: it doesn’t work that way!! Forgive my passion but this is something that irks me as an Aspie who has been in environments or around people that expected conformity to their idea of normalcy, i.e., no display of quirks or defining characteristics of the person’s condition. Let me elaborate on this.

First of all, being an Aspie or someone else on the Spectrum is the result of an unusual wiring of the brain during development that is irreversible. Therefore, it is completely unreasonable to expect that the person will simply change when asked to. Sure, therapy and medication can help with controlling certain negative behaviors, but that is not the same as completely flipping them around. Second, these traits are what makes the person unique, different, their own. Being asked to fit in or change to appear “normal”, is perhaps the hardest thing that can be asked for someone on the Spectrum, nigh impossible. For myself, I understand that socially, is easier to adapt with certain traits or behaviors, but I cannot change the fundamentals of what makes me “me”.

I also want to reiterate that this is not to shame anyone, as I imagine that some who read this might take this as a dig on non-Autistic people for not understanding. The purpose here is to help make those who are friends or loved ones of someone on the Spectrum more aware of how difficult it is for us to try to fit in and adapt our behavior to be more socially acceptable. If your Autistic spouse or friend or friend or other family member benefits from some behavioral therapy or medication to make life easier, don’t stop it. That being said, please don’t expect them to be fully “normal” or “outgrow” what makes them special. We are all different, neurotypical or otherwise, and those differences make us special, all of us.

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