Provocative title, I know. But we hear so many sad stories about how tragic it is to live with autism or with autistic relatives. It’s time to share some funny stories. Autism’s not all hurt and pain, and I don’t care if Autism Speaks claims otherwise.

Besides, speaking as a man with Asperger’s who pathologically sees other people’s words as literal, I’ve got to be honest. It can be really funny at times.

Here are my top ten examples of autistic people taking others literally. I’ve been personally involved in half of them, and the ‘perpetrator’ of three of them.

Are we ready? Then let’s get this figurative show on the figurative road!

  1. The wrong way to order dessert

I was sat in a restaurant, having just decided what to have for pudding (it’s what we call dessert over here). The waiter came along, and I told him I wanted the apple pie. He then asked me, with no intonation in his voice (which was surprisingly important):

Would you like cream, ice cream or custard with that?

And in my daydreamy state, I replied:

Yes please.

…Well, duh. I did want cream, ice cream or custard. But my answer made me look just a little bit stoopid.

The sad thing is, it’s not even the only time it’s happened! I once ordered a meal and was asked whether I wanted French fries or salad with it.

Again, I simply said “yes please.”

Ok, at least I'm not THIS literal.

Ok, at least I’m not THIS literal.

  1. Road safety

This time I was with a teenage lad who needed help walking into town. So we walked together down the street, and the time came to cross the road. I said, clearly and slowly:

 “We need to be careful now. There might be cars. You need to look at the road.

So he dipped his head, and stared right down at the tarmac in front of his feet. He looked at the road, exactly like I’d told him to.

  1. The field trip

A teacher friend of mine took a class on a trip somewhere. I don’t know where it was, but they took a load of clipboards. And when the time came to hand them out, every child ended up with a clipboard except for the mildly autistic lad.

He went to the teacher and asked what he was supposed to do.

And the teacher replied, without thinking it through:

Oh, just write on someone’s back.

So he wrote on someone’s back.

  1. Corrected by a six-year-old

I’ve already done an article about idioms. With one of them, I didn’t even realise it was an idiom at all until a six-year-old boy pointed it out to me.

Me: “Could you quickly walk through that door and ask Mrs Jones for more pencils?

Him (looking confused): “…How do you walk through a door?

Me: “…Good point.

  1. Tortillas!

This one involves an eight-year-old lad who had cheese tortillas every evening. Of course, cheese gets hot pretty quickly, so his mother always had to check they were cool enough to eat. One evening:

Mother: “Come on! They’re cool enough to eat now!

As the son came into the room, mum touched a tortilla to her lips and discovered they were actually still too hot.

Mother: “Wait… scratch that.

Her son approached in confused silence, and scratched the tortillas.

  1. Seriously, be specific with us!

(Important note for American readers- British people don’t say ‘going to the bathroom’- we say ‘going to the toilet’. As a result, we sometimes call the ‘bathroom’ the ‘toilet’. Yes, we name the whole room after one object inside it.)

A friend of mine was dealing with several students at once, when a girl came up to her with really mucky hands. With half a dozen distractions, she said the fatal line…

Oh, just quickly wash your hands in the toilet.

Guess what the girl did?

  1. My first date

I never was much of a romantic. I’ve averaged one girlfriend every ten years.

For my first date with this girl at the age of 17, we went to the village for a pub lunch.

Now, my girlfriend had this rather traditional idea that I should pay for the both of them, because I was the man. And of course, if she’d have actually asked I probably would have paid. Except, she didn’t ask. She simply said:

Hmm… I’m not sure if I have enough money for food and the bus home.

Which I now understand to be girl talk for “please pay for my food”. But me, not knowing any better, gave a totally valid answer.

Oh, don’t worry. Cheesy chips are only £1.75.

She was not happy.

Not that I found out for a few years, but she wasn’t happy.

  1. Outsmarting Mom

Having spent the day teaching her son prepositions (in, on, around etc.), a mother had to take him somewhere that evening. As is often the case when you have to drag children somewhere, they were running late.

Mom (losing patience): “Son, put those shoes on your feet right now!

The son rested his shoes right on top of his feet, looked up at his mother and grinned.


  1. Anger management

A friend of mine once helped a child who struggled with his temper: a boy who had been known to get into scuffles simply out of frustration. She gave him some pretty sound advice.

Take a moment to relax when people annoy you. Before you get angry and hit anyone, count calmly to ten.

So next time a child annoyed him, he counted to ten before he hit them.

To be fair, he probably thought he was giving them a good head start!

  1. Me being brighter than the maths teacher.

When I was eleven, I was posed this maths question.

A frog is 10 metres away from a pond. On the first day, it jumps halfway (5 metres) towards the pond. On the second day, it jumps halfway again (2.5 metres) towards the pond. On the third day, it jumps halfway again (1.25 metres) towards the pond. Every day it jumps exactly halfway towards the pond.

Will the frog ever reach the pond? Give reasons for your answer.

In case you need it, I’ll give a long paragraph break before telling you the answer.






Mathematically, the frog will never reach the pond. In order to reach the finish line, there would have to be a day when the frog goes the whole way. And if the frog only ever goes halfway, that will never happen.

I got the answer half right. This is what I wrote:

Will the frog ever reach the pond?


Give reasons for your answer.

Frogs are amphibians, and if they go for three days without water their skin will dry up and they will die.

Which is entirely true! I got the answer even more correct than the so-called correct answer, and I still lost a mark!

Eighteen years later, it still bugs me to this day. The lesson learned was this: whenever you’re answering a test question, don’t give the correct answer. Give the expected answer. Only then do you get the mark.

I guess I was a bright child, in my own way. Even though today, that smile alone is enough for an Asperger's diagnosis.

I guess I was a bright child, in my own way.
Even though today, that smile alone is enough for an Asperger’s diagnosis.

Please share your own funny examples below! Autism is not always the painful journey it gets painted to be, so feel free to share your funniest moments. 🙂

EDIT (27/04/15): A few hours after posting this article I ended up talking to a friend, who said to me “my eldest son’s 16 and he’s been acting up quite a lot. …He’s so annoying, he may not live to see 17.”

I spent the next couple of seconds genuinely thinking her son had a terminal illness. I worked out the truth too late, so I was already wearing my honest sympathetic face. Oops.


Are you tired of characters with special needs being tokenised and based on stereotypes, or being the victims rather than the heroes? This novel series may interest you!

Underdogs, a near-future dystopia series where the heroes are teenagers with special needs, is a character-driven war story which pitches twelve people against an army of millions, balancing intense action with a deeply developed neurodiverse cast.

Book one can be found here:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
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Book Depository
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Chris Bonnello is a national and international autism speaker, available to lead talks and training sessions from the perspective of an autistic former teacher. For further information please click here (opens in new window).
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100 Responses

  1. Jane Williams

    I love being a high-IQ, high-achieving autistic. I get the literal meaning, I also work out what those poor normals actually mean, and the combination is hilarious. The world is full of hidden jokes that most people don’t even notice.

    • Simon

      It sounds like we’re very similar then. It’s frustrating but a blessing to be able to see through the thoughtless statements made by others.

      My most humorous experience was when we took my son to the speech and language therapist and she said immediately prior to the appointment, “I’ll be two seconds while I set up my office.”

      Needless to say it was fun watching her squirm when pointing out the poor choice of words.

      • Sarah

        I had to learn not to tell my son, “Just a minute” or “Just a second” He could start counting and tell me how long I actually took.

      • Darcy

        Have you ever tried saying, “Just a moment”? A moment isn’t specific. It would be hard to count how long that is.

      • Jon

        When I was taken to get diagnosed with dyspraxia, the specialist had no experience with kids on the spectrum, she talked to my mum for ages while I was getting more and more stressed in the chair next to her, then turned to me and asked “Are you happy to take the test?” I was stressed and nervous and didn’t know what the test required of me, so I answered honestly with a “no.”

        The adults talked for a few more minutes then I was taken home and subjected to several lectures about why taking the test would be a good thing and how I needed to get help. I was confused, I did not understand why I was getting the blame for the specialist not giving me the test, when I was there and willing until my dad realized what had happened and informed me that the specialist had meant to ask “are you willing to take the test.”

    • Mennolt van Alten

      I have this too, with the annoying side effect of laughing randomly in conversations or when reading…
      Turns out most people don’t like it when people laugh during a lecture or while talking about serious subjects.

      • Joselyn

        I do that. My friends pets died and I was trying to show that I felt bad and said something like “I’m sorry for your loss”. I don’t know if it was that sentence or if I was letting out all my emotions but I COULD NOT stop laughing. I felt so bad and kept trying to explain that I don’t think that their pets dying was funny because that’s what it seemed like…

  2. Rachel Deller

    My son (11 yr old asd) saw the packaging of some valentines popcorn I bought that stated “you is well fit”

    He pointed out quite deadpan

    “That’s not grammatically correct and you wouldn’t be fit if you ate all that chocolate popcorn!”

    Well what could I say??

      • Joselyn

        I didn’t know until I went into highschool (UK) and all these really annoying girls were talking about boys being fit. Eventually I figured out that it meant the boys were apparently hot or good looking.

  3. Dawn Jeyes

    I was in the playground with a member of staff and a student who is Autistic, the member of staff jumped onto the roundabout and I pushed the roundabout showing the student how much fun the staff was having, when the roundabout stopped I turned to the student and said “go push Layla on the roundabout she loves it”……………. big mistake……….the student stepped onto the roundabout and pushed Layla over……………… well now that was literal…
    luckily we both found it funny except the student of course he just couldn’t understand why pushing someone over was so funny………..

    • CaptainQuirk

      Brilliant! 😀 There are so many things we *think* we are saying literally but actually aren’t. 🙂

      I recently began to notice our bad habit of saying “er, no thank you!” to students who do something inappropriate. Sure, they understand they’re not supposed to be doing it, but they possibly think we’re thanking them for it…

  4. Jorge E. García

    Hehe, these are pretty funny indeed. I can relate to the bathroom/toilet one. I’m from Mexico, but I lived in Poland as an exchange student for one year. I stayed with a Polish family, and one day I went out with the father to check out his workplace. Over there I asked him if I could use the “bathroom”.

    He looked confused, and replied: You’ll have to wait until we’re home if you want to take a bath.
    I learned the toilet/bathroom difference much later xD

    • Beth

      I’ll never forget the look of one of my classmates when he came round to my best friend’s house once. He needed the toilet and asked for the lavatory. I’d never heard the word before and her mum was a science teacher at the time so I said “they don’t have one of those here”, thinking he had said laboratory.

  5. Marie

    Lol. Driving to the park one day my NT son sitting in the front playing mario kart on his nintendo whilst my Aspie son was in the rear. I started to pretend to race the car just like mario, during which I narrated each turn and swerve much to the delight of my NT son. At one point I shouted “Mushroom ahead!”
    My Aspie son imediatedly responded “where, where I missed it” whilst looking desperately out of the rear window searching for the mushroom! We laugh about these little moments a lot, he has a great sense of humour. X

  6. Daniel

    I used to be sooooo clumsy as a kid, at every table I used to drop something. Either I spilled a cup filled with a liquid that will leave stains or a spilled a bowl filled with cereal and milk. One time I was 4 and our family went to a family barbecue at my uncle’s. There was a table filled with food and I went under it and it fell down. My aunt had her brother there and from then on, whenever he got asked to come for a barbecue he always asked if I was going to come and if I did, he would never come.

    • CaptainQuirk

      …Permission to laugh just a little? 😉
      Some people avoided me as well. Must have been our general aura of awesomeness that kept them away!

  7. alssnowflake

    Nun ten year old was told by his therapist ( who should know better I’d say ) – you’ve been working like a horse on this !! My son looks at him confused – my mother is scared of horses I’d never do that !!! Funny thing was that the therapist had no idea how to explain what he really meant !?! Working hard was apparantly to simple 😉

  8. Rachel Horner

    I’m mildly autistic and I run a horse breeding barn. It’s the best job for me and I’m allowed to obsess over it! On top of that my horses have helped me a lot, and sometimes understand better then my parents do. Here’s my story it happens just the other day.

    I go out with my mom who helps me run the barn with technical stuff I don’t understand. To ketch a set of baby horses out in a big field all appropriately named after super heroes. Tony Stark(tony) is 3 and his two younger siblings Flash Gordon(flash) and Girl on Fire(bunny) who are both a year old. I put the leads on Tony and Bunny, my mom couldn’t get the lead on Flash so she says. “Just have him fallow you.” She for got to say she only ment to the gait of there turn out pin. So I opened the gate to have him fallow out and mom starts panicking and I don’t understand why. She wants me to put the lead on Flash who is just standing behind me nicely like a good boy so I drop Tony’s lead who gose to eat grass because that’s what horses do. Putting the lead on flash as mom grabs Tony’s lead so he dose not run away. At the time she was upset but we both laughed later because, we relised what happened. The fact is that my horses are used to my quirks and they are very good about it. I’ve raised all three of the horses in the story since birth. I love my family and they find ways to encourage my own super powers and are there to help me when I ask.

    • CaptainQuirk

      I’ve heard that horses are really good at reading human emotions. 😀 They must be great companions.

      Thanks for sharing- it must have been funny once the panic was over! 🙂

  9. Josi

    Umm, I guess it’s the Aspie in me but… when you said:
    A few hours after posting this article I ended up talking to a friend, who said to me “my eldest son’s 16 and he’s been acting up quite a lot. …He may not live to see 17.”
    I spent the next couple of seconds genuinely thinking her son had a terminal illness. I worked out the truth too late, so I was already wearing my honest sympathetic face. Oops.
    What did the mom mean?

    • CaptainQuirk

      LOL, I guess I should have seen that coming. 🙂 I probably wasn’t going to be the only confused one!

      She said it in an irritated voice, almost suggesting “if he keeps going the way he’s going I won’t LET him live to see his next birthday!” 😉

    • CaptainQuirk

      Has it? Seems to be here for me! What kind of device are you using?

  10. Stacey MacKay

    My son now thinks about what I’m saying Before he does some things now,but only after me explaing lots that sometimes mummy forgets to be not so litteral and that what I’m asking might not be what I want, this also leads to always being asked if that’s what I actually mean aswell lol. but there was a time when I asked him to throw me my phone that ended with me being hit in the head with it ?I’ve had countless thing thrown out aswell

    • CaptainQuirk

      haha- if you didn’t want the phone thrown at you, you shouldn’t have asked for it to be thrown at you. 😉
      It must be really confusing for those of us who don’t even understand the point of idioms. No wonder autistic people struggle with people, when they’re essentially lying the whole time and expecting you to be ok with it!

  11. Rebecca

    I’ve never been diagnosed with Aspergers but there was one time my mom was driving and I was giving her directions. She asked if she needed to “turn right here”, and I said, “Well, no,” because if she had turned in that moment she would have turned onto some grass. We missed the turn (it was about six seconds later) because she interpreted what I said like most normal people would…fortunately we could just do a loop and get back on the right road, and fortunately we thought it was pretty funny.

    • Dabzzy

      Oh my gosh! I had a similar experience! I was in driver’s ed. We were at the part where we were in the D.E. car. It was my turn behind the wheel. The teacher said to turn left. I took it literally and started to turn left into a driveway. Of course, he meant the next street.

  12. MeshBoats (ThPhEc) (@ThePhantomEcho)

    My mom likes to tell the story of how she asked me to go outside and check the mail. When I came back empty-handed, she asked me where the mail was. I told her it was in the mailbox. When she asked me why I didn’t bring it in with me, I replied, “You only asked me to check the mail. I checked, and it’s in the box.”

    • CaptainQuirk

      haha, perfect! 😀 Literally the opposite of the Garfield cartoon I used in the 50 points post! 😉

  13. Dabzzy

    An example for me is when my family were having a get-together. We have them every month. One of my sisters handed me a jar of gravy and asked me to heat it up. What did I do? I filled a bowl with hot water and put the unopened jar in it. This was before I was diagnosed with Aspergers but I think it was because of Aspergers that I did that. I’m 48 now.

  14. Ben League

    When I was in middle school, we started going to church. The doors to the fellowship hall had a sign that read, “Please keep doors closed.” I couldn’t understand how we were supposed to get in.

    These days, the door I use to leave the office building has a similar sign. It always makes me smile.

    Along similar lines, it drives me nuts when an otherwise blank page bears the words, “This page intentionally left blank.” No. No, it was not.

    • CaptainQuirk

      Haha, both of those sounds familiar. 🙂 I remember spending literally years being confused by the signs that read “fire door- keep closed”. But how the hell do you escape a building if the doors are closed?? 😉

    • Toni

      hehe we recently went on a cruise ship with our boys (2 with Aspergers) and they were perplexed by that sign on the door too. They knew what it meant but felt it should have been labelled more clearly (please keep the door closed… except when you’re using it)

  15. Jessica Wilberforce

    These are so funny! I have so many examples of this from my experience with my Aspie son, but now am so careful (and literal) with my speech it doesn’t come up as much. I’d love to see an article on the somewhat bruising honesty of Aspies/Autists – in my time I have been casually compared to Chewbacca (I hadn’t shaved my legs for a while); our doctor (who has a squint) has been asked if he can take out his glass eye; food I have presented has been conversationally referred to as looking ‘gruesome’ and waitresses told that peas ‘haunt my dreams’. Perhaps my favourite was when my son at age 7 said, as I got dried after a shower, “Mum, I think people look better with clothes on.” I have learned not to take things to heart (I was about to say ‘I have grown a thick skin’… but thought better of it!). x

  16. Karen

    Davis has been helping me clean the house every day. He needs money for video games, of course. Today I asked him to bring me all the towels so I could wash them. I should have tuned in to the inflection in his voice when he questioned me, ” ALL the towels?” But I just acknowledged that yes, I needed all the towels from all the bathrooms.

    A few minutes later, Davis came into the laundry room dragging a basket overflowing with towels. Some were clearly still folded. Yep, he brought me all the towels in the house.

    If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the laundry room washing all the towels. Literally.

    • CaptainQuirk

      Ha! Well if you didn’t want all the towels, you shouldn’t have asked for them. 😉 Brilliant.

  17. Nathan R. Buzby

    I could argue that the basis for “Mainer” Humor in the US, as in the state of Maine and a particular brand of comedy from it, is autistically literalist, which I find tremendously amusing. A good example is a common enough one, related to heading to Bangor the second largest city in the state. It goes something like this: An man from Massachusetts is lost trying to drive to Bangor, seeing an older gentleman on the side of the road he pulls over and asks him “Excuse me sir, does this road go to Bangor?” at which point the gentleman replies “I ain’t seen this road go nowhere yet.” On a more personal note, literalist humor is the basis for most of my humor and wit, my wife will often say “I’m going to take a shower” and I tend to respond predictably with responses such as “Make sure to lift with your legs not your back”, “why not just leave it where it is?”. or “where ya taking it to?”. Most of the time I get analogies, metaphors, and subtext, but my brain always goes literal first unless it is a common saying, more often than not I just snicker at it. But, when I am tired, stressed, fatigued, or distracted…totally miss the subtext, which normally has fairly comical results. I keep wanting to make a T-shirt, the front has an arrow pointing to the face saying “This is a face of autism” and on the back an arrow pointing up and saying “This is the Occipital bun of a person with autism”, not too sure many people would get it, but it just makes me chuckle at the thought.

    • CaptainQuirk

      haha, personally I laughed most of the way through your comment. 😉 Our senses of humour are very similar!

  18. phil

    Still have the same problems taking things literally and I’m 65, my wife now knows not to ask “tea or coffee” but be specific.
    Because of misunderstandings like these given with other people I have to work out which of three or four meanings is intended, unfortunately it is normally the fifth meaning I had not thought of, then things get very confusing.

  19. Visit Tarbert (@TarbertInfo)

    My son was jumping around on the top bunk bed, I went into the room and said “Get down, now”

    He jumped and landed in a heap on the floor :/

    I told him to put clean pants on every day, then found him wearing 3 pairs of pants….

  20. Ingrid

    Totally agree. Great article!
    I was thinking about this lately, aspergers is actually quite funny, annoying somethimes, but mostly funny.
    Hope I’m not insulting anyone.

  21. Brooke

    My cousin with autism lived with my Nana for a while. When he first moved in, my Nan, being a gracious hostess said to him “Help yourself to anything you want. Eat all the food in the fridge haha!” Took about two weeks – and a dozen trips to the grocery store later – for her to realise her error.

    My son (then 3 years old) who is also autistic used to panic when people would coo at his newborn brother “You’re so chubby! I just want to eat you up!” He honestly thought his brother was on the menu.

  22. Ami

    Once when I was 23 I was horrified to be asked to make the office coffees. A lady told me she wanted hers very strong. I asked “how strong” – she replied …”strong enough to stand my spoon up in it!” – Guess what I did. I even looked at it and thought “Ugh who has coffee like that!’… On the plus side I was never asked to make them again. Win.

  23. Readthroughs and Randoms

    When I was in kindergarten, we were having a group picture taken of the class, and the photographer said I looked stiff and to be a “bit more laid-back.” So I… laid back.

  24. LilyJo

    Here’s mine! Great post! When I was little and argued with my sister, my mum used to tell us to “put a sock in it or she’d bang our heads together and throw us out the window”. I remember being very confused about where I was supposed to put the sock and scared about being thrown out a window until I measured the window and calculated that I wouldn’t fit through it! I was then just very confused and possibly a bit worried about my mother’s sanity! The concept of flippancy had not yet been understood by me at all.

    • Jenn

      No. That’s taking things, literally.
      Comma required to indicate kleptomania.

  25. Heather Kearns

    Almost 6 weeks ago, my 13yr old (ASD) had a tumble off his bike – he broke both wrists.

    Off to the hospital we went and the Triage nurse, in an effort to distract Iain, gestured to the map of the world on the wall and asked “Iain – can you tell me how many countries there are in the world?”

    I realise it was supposed to be a time consumer – that she expected this young teen to get up and possibly count the countries …

    “Between 193 and 218 depending on whether you are looking at political boundaries or economic factors” he promptly replied.

    This nurse was spectacular however and rolled with it, getting into quite the conversation with him as she used to fly Air-Ambulance.

    Wrapping up, she asked one last question “Are there any other medical conditions we should be aware of?”

    Iain sat there and said nothing. I’d coached him ahead of time that he should answer all questions as it might be an indicator to them of him perhaps having a head injury – yes, I know that was baloney on my part, but I thought it would be good for him to answer for himself instead of me doing all the talking – and it worked!

    I looked from Iain to the nurse a few times before asking hesitantly “Does Autism count?”

    “YES! Yes it does!” she declared cheerfully, and I could see she suddenly completely got a new understanding of the in-depth conversation she’d just had with a 13yr old boy who should’ve (in her opinion) been more interested in Pokemon Go! than whether or not Macau should be recognized as an independant country from China.

    Iain used to apologize to me all the time for having Autism – I think I’ve finally convinced him I much prefer him for who he is and how he is, than if I’d had 3-5 ‘normal’ children.

    I wouldn’t trade Iain for the world – all 218 countries in it! 😀 <3

    • Darcy

      I have Asperger’s and even if there were a “cure”, I wouldn’t take it because that would change who am I now.

      • Heather Kearns

        And that’s exactly it isn’t it? You nailed it right on the head!

        You keep on doing you. You’re rocking it so far!

  26. Daniel Segard Âû

    On an old episode of Doctor Who, (I was about 11 at the time) Sarah Jane asked “Have you gone potty?” Here in America, that would be an inquiry into whether the person had relieved themselves in the toilet. Obviously I thought that was a rather personal question which was rarely asked of adults on television. It took me a while to process that this was a British idiom for “have you gone crazy?”

    Over here we say “I’m going to the bathroom” even in stores where the room has only a toilet and sink – no bath included. Odd that….

  27. Fiona

    Told my son then 5 to get his feet off the new couch. He walked out came back in wearing his dirty shoes and sat back on the couch with his shoes on the cushions. His feet weren’t touching the couch though

  28. NetEditor

    Around the age of 8 or so, I overheard my mother discussing another woman’s miscarriage with someone. Unfortunately they used the euphemism “She’s lost her baby.” I was very distressed wanting to know where she had left it (and panicking that they might lose me!).

  29. Robert Weatherall

    You say British people name the bathroom after one object in the room (toilet) but calling it the bathroom is exactly the same principle.

  30. Natasha

    I’m autistic myself, and am the perpetrator in this case.

    At one point, I was crossing Derby Lane in Old Swan (a very busy road) after I’d been to a social group (which is specifically made for people with Asperger’s Syndrome). It was an annoying case of as soon as traffic stopped coming one way, it immediately came the other way. My mum got frustrated and said, ‘where is all this traffic coming from?’

    I pointed up the road and replied ‘from up there’.

  31. Michelle Cartelami

    When my HFASD 6 year old son was 3. I said to him “N you wait right here and play. Mommy’s going to jump in the shower real quick”. He looked dead at me and said with great concern “but Mommy you’re not supposed to jump in the shower you might get hurt”. N (same age) asked his Dad where he was going and Dad said “I’m just hopping in the car real quick, I’ll be right back”, of course we all know what came next…lol! Just recently my Best Friend was describing to me about her recent trip to the grocery store and I said “Oh yeah what did you get?”, she said “This, That and the Other”. N taps me and says “Mommy why did A say that?” I said “What This, That and the Other?”. He said “Yes, it doesn’t make any sense. None of them mean the same thing, at ALL.” (I’ve been teaching him about Metaphors since he w as 3..hahaha). oh and N doesn’t comprehend when you answer Yes with a nod, yeah, sure, ok, no problem and NO with a shake of the head, Na or uh uh. Funny thing, I should know better because I’m just as literal as he is and it’s caused quite a few arguments and misunderstandings in my lifetime (usually me getting the bad end of it). BTW I was Dx’d Bipolar 15 years ago but I’m going back soon to see if they’ll evaluate me for ASD. I have markers for both.

  32. Chantelle

    Just as I thought my son aged 4 (at the time) had progressed from going on the potty to the toilet he one day announced he needed a poo. Me quickly responding to his urgency to go the toliet (and without thinking) said ‘you need to go on the toilet then’ meaning he didn’t need to go on the potty anymore… the lid was down. And he went ON the toilet (lid) just as I’d said he should! Safe to say as the years have past I make sure I am extremely specific on intructions for him now!

  33. Sybil

    My HFASD son is in 1st grade. He is an avid reader and reads well above his level. Because of this, his teacher does not bother to send home the decodable they use as homework and instead allows him to work on reading novels while having me fill out a log. This is often amusing as my son does not understand humor and social relationships in the books. He comes to me to ask for explanation on a regular basis. He was reading a book with a girl who is Asian as one of the main characters. The author tried to portray her accented English by writing out her words with grammar and spelling mistakes. My child could not even begin to understand this and would correct the grammar and spelling aloud. Finally, after grumbling out loud for several pages, he comes to me and says “What is she talking about and why does she say it like that?” After realizing the problem, I could not stop laughing. Needless to say, he could not understand why I thought it was funny.

  34. Robyn Blackwell

    I had misplaced something important & was trying desperately to find it. My son asks me what I’m looking for. In frustration, I said, “My sanity. Have you seen it.” He paused a moment, then asked, “What it looks like?”

  35. Bek

    My son on hearing the word rabies, “oh I don’t think it would be good if it rained bees.”… We live in Florida and the tv news had a bit on the Burmese python “invasion”… Next day in the car he pipes up and says, “I wonder how those pythons go there.. All those Monty Pythons.”. I’m an Aspie too and as a little kid thought Old MacDonald of the children’s song, owned and operated McDonalds. It’s only logical. Burgers are a moomoo in a bun…

  36. Michael Houston

    I have a similar test response from elementary school when a test question asked: Billy has 50 chocolate cakes he eats 35 chocolate cakes and gives 13 cakes to his friends what does billy have?

    I answered honestly feeling very confident and smart about my answer: Billy has 2 cakes and Diabetes

    • CaptainQuirk

      lol, an exaggerated joke. 😉 I’ve seen that smile in enough autistic young people to recognise it.

  37. Lori Sanderson

    My 2 year old son with autism was falling asleep on the couch. His head was close to the edge so I said “slide over Caleb, your head’s going to fall off (meaning the edge of the couch). Caleb put his hands on his head and said “Caleb’s head fall off?”

  38. Joanna Swan

    Attended a family party aged about 17 (20 years before diagnosis). Sitting with my mother and a step relative. My mother telling the step relative some of things I’ve got going on in my life at the moment… A Levels etc. Step relative turns to me and says “You’re broad shouldered.” I thought it very rude for a person I had never met before to comment on my bodily appearance in such a way.

    • Kevin W

      When I was about 7 years old my Granddad came to stay with us. My dad said to me ‘why dont you show Granddad where the shops are’. I happily agreed and walked off to the shops with him. When we got in sight of the shops I pointed saying ‘There’s the shops over there’. I then turned around and walked home!

  39. Johan

    Yes, I can relate to that “frog and the pond” question! And I still think I was not treated in the right way. Don’t blame the students when your questions are not specific enough.

    Another one I keep struggling with, is when somebody says: “Everyone …” It is very hard not to point out that it’s unlikely that something applies to everyone.

    Somewhat related; I was always taught that when someone criticises you, they comment on what you say or do, and not on who you are. But why then do some of those who taught me, take it personally when I give them feedback on their actions? That is not consistent.

    • CaptainQuirk

      Yep, those are some very good points!
      I think it’s the emotional side that comes into play when we give others feedback. It’s one thing to *know* that someone isn’t criticising you as a person, but it’s another thing to *feel* that they’re not criticising you as a person. When I went into teaching, I learned very quickly that taking feedback personally wasn’t a healthy habit- not least because it stops you learning the useful lessons. 🙂

  40. Kim T

    I know this is an old thread, but too amusing not to share.

    I still use this one from 4 years ago to describe my now12 yo (2E) son to new teachers –

    Principal: Why did you push your friend?
    Son: I didn’t.
    Principal: You’re not in trouble, I’d just like to help.
    Son: I didn’t!
    Principal: I was right behind you, and I saw you do this [mimmics gesture].
    Son: [straighf faced] I didn’t push him. I shoved him.

  41. Jon

    My head of year once asked me “Is it your fault that you don’t have any friends?”

    I replied “yes” and for years I wondered why my head of year would ask me if I took responsibility for being a weird gay freak too clueless about social interaction to make or keep any friends. Years later it just clicked that what he meant to ask was “Are you friendless by choice.”

  42. Jillian Morrison

    My 7 year old daughter heard people talking about what happens if you have a next life. She didn’t really like the idea as she was telling me about it. I tried to make it positive and said if I came back in another life I would be a butterfly! She looked at me confused and said, “No mommy, you’d have to come back as a caterpillar first.” I told her she was right and laughed thinking she got me again! This is a regular thing for her. Things have to be correct in her mind. If you’re wrong she will be sure you know. I love her so much!

  43. Sunday Rant - 4618 - DROVERIA

    […] Many times in the education of us we responded in a like manner. Now we find out it might be an autistic spectrum disorder marker! Kind of late to find out, but we’re now on the alert. Joe says we […]

  44. Kevin Levites

    I am a high functioning autistic adult, and I run into problems–especially in employment–with taking things literally.

    As an example, I was a security guard in a library, and part of my job is to evict people who are sleeping.

    I come across a sleeping patron, and he shows me a medic alert bracelet that says he has narcolepsy….so I make an exception and let him stay.

    I get written up by the manager, because there are no exceptions.

    A week goes by, and an elderly man (who is quite spry) comes in with a nurse who is pushing the wheelchair with his Alzheimer’s wife–from the nursing home–who is demented, paralyzed, and being kept alive with tubes and catheters. He liked to get his wife out of the nursing home once in a while, and hired a nurse to do this.

    I thought it was romantic.

    Only now, I get suspended for 3 days for not evicting them because she was passed out in her wheelchair, as–yet again–I made an exception.

    Now, here is where I get to the point: I get fired a few weeks later because I kicked a woman out of the library because her baby was sleeping in the pram, and she complained.

    Evidentally, there is a difference between a baby in a baby carriage and an elderly, demented, paralyzed woman in a wheelchair when it comes to sleeping in the library…..and I–because of my autism–can’t see the difference when there’s no such thing as an exception to the rules.

    • CaptainQuirk

      Ouch, that was painful to read. Sorry to hear you went through that. Sounds very much like it’s a problem with them rather than a problem with you. Your moral compass was guiding you perfectly until they intervened.

      • Kevin Levites

        Thank you. People though I was being passive-aggressive, which I wasn’t.

  45. Josie Martin

    My whole family has a thing where if asked if you want, for example, vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and you say “yes,” you will get both because that’s what you meant. My family may be a classic case to illustrate autism is genetic …

  46. Steve

    I have a comment about the frog thing haha. I assumed it was half the distance of the previous day’s jump as opposed to half the distance remaining to the pond… In which case it would eventually reach the pond right?

    • Mennolt van Alten

      Depends on the length of the first jump Steve. The sum of the series 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8… become 2, so if the first jump is at least half the needed distance he will arrive.

  47. Henry

    Chris as a fellow person with Asperger’s to start the pudding one with “I was sat” when people with Aspergers typically have superior verbal communication skills is shocking! You should know it’s “I was sitting” you can’t have a past tense with a present tense like that! You could have “I sat”, but never “I was sat”. Just like many people say bored of, when it’s actually bored with etc. Despite this funny feed and I agree sometimes it can be funny but other times it can be detrimental to ones health!


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