Many Autistic People Don’t Like the Sound of Our Names

Meme of Beyonce standing on stage holding a microphone with text reading, "(Please don't)...Say my name, say my name."

If you’re not familiar with the song, Destiny’s Child has a song called “Say My Name”, and I’m using this meme to make a joke about how, according to a poll I did, most neurodiverse people do NOT like repetitive use of their names! So, unlike Beyonce…who appears to really want someone to say her name in the song, please DON’T say our names. lol!

Let me tell you why it bothers me, and I’ll let other ND folks chime in with their thoughts and feelings.

If you need to get my attention, “Hey, Jaime” or something similar is fine. But, if you use my name more than once or, God forbid, several times in a conversation with me, I will get increasingly uncomfortable and upset.

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The best way to improve communication with your autistic loved one is to understand how your autistic loved one’s mind works! Intentions, motivations, and personal expressions (facial expressions or lack thereof, body language, etc.), are often quite different in autistic people than they are in neurotypical people.

Experience a better understanding of your autistic loved one by reading books about life from an autistic perspective as well as stories that feature autistic characters. You’ll have so many “Ah ha!” moments and start seeing your autistic loved one in a different light (and you’ll have a better understanding of their behaviors, which you may have been misinterpreting up until now).

Books I recommend for a better understanding of your autistic loved one:

I usually won’t show it on the outside, but, inside, I’m seething. I can’t even hear what you’re saying anymore.

Hearing my name sounds like an admonishment almost automatically. Very few people can say it without me inwardly cringing.

Also, I don’t really identify with my name. It sounds weird, I guess, but my name doesn’t feel like “me”. It never has. Then again, there’s no other name I prefer, either.

Plus, hearing my name said repeatedly sounds like an attempt at forced familiarity, which immediately puts me on the defensive. I read that as very insincere and maybe even potentially threatening.

I don’t know how else to explain it, and, before you ask, no, it’s not self-hatred. I do love myself dearly, although it took a LONG time for me to get to this point.

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3 Responses

  1. Denis says:

    You know, I’ve had the exact same experience my entire life with my name, too.
    I’ve never been able to pin it down, I just don’t feel like it ‘fits’.
    Never thought it was an autistic thing, but seems like it could be.
    BTW: Thank you for all your hard work. Just discovered you and binging your articles!

  1. August 3, 2019

    […] Many ND people just don’t feel connected to their names and, therefore, don’t respond to them because it just blends into the rest of the background noise. […]

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