No Means No


Just about two weeks ago, an article started circulating around my facebook feed titled, "As an autistic child, I learnt that nobody listens when kids say no." The article addresses consent and the idea that no one seems to consider "that saying no as a kid was a valid answer that should be respected." A few hours after I read that article, one of our REV teachers sent me an email with a blog post written by Nathan, addressing the same issue. As educators teaching communication skills, one of the foundational items we address is teaching a refusal strategy. How can our students who have limited verbal abilities say "no" and be heard clearly and be respected? Like we do here at REV, I'm going to pass the mic over to someone who is #actuallyautistic, and let their voice be the loudest in this conversation.

In health class this week, we learned about boys not accepting “no” as an answer from girls. My teacher made choices to focus on boys listening. But I’m here to tell you that boys aren’t the only ones who need to listen to “no.”

My life has been full of situations when I have said “no” and the person has not listened, whether it was my mom, my sister, a teacher, or a friend. I am too often ignored because I cannot communicate traditionally. I instead have to rely on someone to stop and ask permission before I can say “no.”

Remember friends, just because I can’t say “no,” does not mean I want all the things. Please let me decide if I want a hug or that second helping at dinner. And remember that “ no means no,” not just for boys but for everyone.

​Nathan is impolitely going to rock your world about the brains of us autists.

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© 2017 by Lisa Mihalich Quinn | Reach Every Voice | Maryland

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