So, last year (2018) a few of us in the autistic community encountered the following image claiming that carrying a blue pumpkin for trick-or-treating signified that the person was autistic:
However, in a world and especially an area where MANY individuals are ostracized for having a disability by the general community because of trying to play the disability card makes me so darn mad because individuals such as myself don’t like to put my condition out there unless I have a good “vibe” to do so.
Yes, going trick-or-treating is a family past-time, however just going with a blue pumpkin in my opinion would marginalize their condition out there to an already generally populace that already marginalizes individuals for their limitations or behaviors that they already critize.
It’s just like putting a visual target on track making that condition that you work so hard to not bring to light to those that critize out there for all the world to see. There are ways to signify “Trick or Treat” for individals that are unable to verbalize that, just be creative.
Lastly, someting I want to touch on is that if the person has “the body of a 21-year-old” and “appears to be an adult”. No, they ARE a 21-year-old and they ARE an adult. This is incredibly infantilising language and implies their body and brain are completely separate entities. We have to remember that while accomodating what the person enjoys, that safety must be considered and that we must understand that maturity comes into play and that both must be regulated with finesse.
If someone is 13, or 21, or 35 or whatever, just say that. If you absolutely have to disclose their age at all! DO NOT say they “have the body of a [fill in age]-year-old”, and CERTAINLY DO NOT say that they have “the mind of a child” or any variant. It’s patronising, condescending, infantilising and completely inappropriate.
The simple fact is that Trick-Or Treating is for EVERYONE, and although I didn’t get my Autism Diagnosis until I was 13, granted it was years later that I became confident to say “trick or treat” to strangers, I didn’t carry a blue pumpkin, I was “just another one of the kids” and I trick or treated until I was 10 becaus I really don’t like halloween
In closing, this is yet another way of “putting the Autism community out there” in a very stereotyping and marginalized way.