I made people very mad today at work because I called them out for being ableist.

We had a new girl start at work the other day. I have not worked a shift with her, so I don't know what she's like. But for those that did work a shift with her, they were talking about her constantly moving even when she was standing still. They were making fun of her and somebody asked what she was on (in reference to drugs).

I snapped and said that she is probably on the spectrum or has ADHD, not on drugs. I spent 20 minutes talking about the behaviors of neurodivergent people and about how my coworkers actions were part of systemic ableism. I specifically talked about stimming and attitudinal barriers, since those were the most relevant here. I also made sure that I told them not to ask if she has ADHD or autism because it's none of their business. I explained that for a lot of people it can be embarrassing or difficult to open up about, and that if she chooses to tell them if she is they should feel very grateful.

Since I didn't work with her, I can only go off what they said and how they described her behavior. Maybe I overstepped by speculating that she has ADHD or autism, but I was careful about talking about those behaviors likely being caused by ADHD or autism in society as a whole, not specifically her. And I used myself and my behaviors as an example.

Most of the people that were involved apologized to me, and said that they had never thought about it being caused by a disorder. I did end up forgiving them, because I can understand that they don't immediately think of disorders because they don't have disorders themselves.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Attention-Deficit Disorder

View all
  • smkeaton


    How brave of you!! Change starts with US as individuals. Having these discussions with those around us can be very difficult sometimes. But you were being an advocate not only for her, but you and the rest of the neurodivergent community. It is okay if someone is mad. You cannot “make” anyone mad. You stated your truth and you gave them a new perspective. Kudos to you.

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.