‘Do you live with your mummy?’ and other paternalism problems 

YennPurkis

I was actually asked ’Do you live at home with your mummy’ when I was 39 years old. The question was asked by a person I would have hoped would know a little more about autistic adults and our varied experiences of the world. The person asking me that was an employee of a large autism support organisation during a conference I was attending as a speaker. It was certainly an odd sort of question but sadly not unique or even all that unusual. As an autistic person I am quite used to these kinds of questions. They come from a place of paternalism. Paternalism is experienced by people from all sorts of groups. It is insulting to have assumptions levelled at me that bear no relation to who I am or what I do.  My main concern with this stuff is that it often betrays a power dynamic where…

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