Why you should never say someone with Autism looks “normal”


Many times, you may find that if you tell an adult with Autism or a parent who has a child with Autism that their child looks normal, rather than appreciate your comment (because you mean well) you may get a cynical look. This is why:

  • Contrary to what you think, it is not a compliment. It depicts stereotyping, sounds derogatory and shows you are ready to judge people simply based on their looks.
  • Autism is an invisible disability therefore, you should not expect to see any physical deformity or worse still a human with a dinosaur head.
  • It trivialises the individual’s struggle- sort of like saying “Oh! It is just autism, it really doesn’t count”.
  • It shows ignorance. Now everyone is not expected to know everything but, as with any other subject, when you don’t know or understand, you ask for more clarity.
  • There are alternative things you can say such as:
    • What does it mean to have Autism?
    • Tell me a bit more about it

Don’t reduce people to how they look. Everyone is uniquely beautiful and deserve a fair chance at life regardless of any underlying medical condition or look.


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