Autism: Quick to Say “No”

10 Feb

You have to give me time, I think. Time to process. Time to consider. Time to decide. If you want an answer now, it is going to be “no.” The answer is always, “no,” if I am not given time to think.

There was that one time, though. But then, she didn’t ask for an answer right away. She said, “I don’t want you to answer right away, but…” and she told me the situation. Her daughter was in my daycare, but the mother’s job had stopped suddenly. She knew I required notice, and most parents in that situation, would just leave without paying anyway – but she gave me a choice.

If she had waited for an answer in that moment, I would have held to my regulations. I need two weeks notice, in order to fill the space. That, or I would have asked for the money for the space. But she gave me time to decide, which allowed me the ability to be flexible.

“It is okay,” I told her, “I understand.” I didn’t ask her to stay. I didn’t ask her for money for any time past what she had used. Reasonable – but the only reason I could be reasonable was because she gave me time… or perhaps the only reason I am not reasonable at other times is because I wasn’t given the opportunity.

I can’t turn from my routine, from my rules, from the direction I am heading in a moment. I need time. Being flexible, for me, is more like turning a large ship, than walking around a corner. It takes time, and I need warning, or I will crash.

And crashing, for me – at least in the beginning – means that I will dismiss all of your ideas, all of your plans, all of your suggestions…. but give me time, and the answer is much more likely to be a “yes.”

Otherwise, it is always, “no.” No is my go to answer. I don’t even have to think of it – in fact, that is the point.

“Can I do this?” No.

“Can we give him this?” No.

“Can we go here?” No.

“Can we use this instead?” No. No! No!!!

Controlling. Inflexible. Unreasonable.

Give me time, and you might get a yes. I guess that is why emails are so much easier than phone calls. I guess that is why I would rather write than have face to face conversations. I can be flexible, but not if you need the answer right away.

But then again, there is food. There has to be an exception to every rule, and this one is mine. If I am hungry, I become much less flexible. The hungrier I am, the more I can’t turn around. The more I can’t consider any alternatives.

So, if you need a decision – give me the details (the more, the better) and then give me time to think. But if I am hungry… fire the ideas at me, and don’t stop – because if I get hungry, I am done.


Posted by on February 10, 2016 in Autism: Out in Public


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2 responses to “Autism: Quick to Say “No”

  1. Wayne Holmes

    February 10, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this. As a direct care worker, I’m very glad to have found your blog. It’s very insightful and thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. threekidsandi

    February 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I am a reflexive ¨no¨ person, too. Which is not easy on my children. I put rules up on the wall so that I remember what qualifies for a ¨yes¨, and I eat WHILE I make the children´s dinner, so that when they all congregate together and begin asking me for/about this or that, I can listen better and hopefully reply in the positive. If I eat with them and they ask me I will just tell them to eat their dinner, because I will be too hungry to be patient with them!

    Liked by 1 person


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