Sometimes disabled people get treated like they’re not adults.
This is particularly true when people with disabilities are involved in disability related advocacy. And it goes triple for people who have intellectual disabilities. (Or are perceived to.)
If you’re doing advocacy and someone treats it as cute, they’re being rude. If someone treats your presentation like a game you’re playing, they’re being rude. People should have more respect than that, even if they disagree with the point you are making.
If you think someone else’s advocacy is cute, it’s probably important to work on learning to respect them more.
I once saw a guy with an intellectual disability giving a speech, which was about how he was part of his community just as much as anyone else, that he had godchildren, that he took this seriously, etc. His entire point being that people with disabilities are part of the normal world as much as anyone else.
And practically everyone in the room were neurotypical parents, who sat there tittering at him the way you do when a small child does something cute. I sat there wanting to smack every single one of them upside the head.
Later on that day, I got mad enough at someone to actually say something, and the response among the parents were to whisper “Amazing” to each other – they’d been watching me all day and assuming I wasn’t thinking. (That was my biggest wake-up call as to how outsiders perceived me. I went home and videotaped myself and was floored at what I saw, I’d never understood how others saw me until then.) They didn’t, of course, listen to a word I said. The fact that I was saying anything at all was worthy of amazement.
“And it’s a big problem, because the way they talk…..they think the problem was that they treated their child like they were intellectually disabled, and they weren’t. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that they thought their child was intellectually disabled,and so they didn’t treat them like a person.”
This is a really important post that explains a big problem with cognitive ableism among some people who say “presume competence”.