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Disneyland visit reveals GF's frustration with BF's autistic stepdaughter. AITA?

Disneyland visit reveals GF's frustration with BF's autistic stepdaughter. AITA?

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"AITA for telling my boyfriend I can’t handle his daughter’s comments and they need to stop?"

ThrowRA4828618

My bf and I have been together for ten months. He’s a single father with sole custody of his 7 year old daughter. She is on the autism spectrum, but it’s really mild honestly, she’s just a bit quirky, awkward, and sometimes obsessive.

I haven’t spent much time with her, and I only met her like 3ish months ago. I did my own research on autism as well as listened to my boyfriend’s input and I’ve always been super supportive! Her 7th birthday is this week, and they were going to Disneyland yesterday night for dinner and a few rides.

It started in the car on the way there. She kept commenting. Nothing bad, just stuff that didn’t have to be said. It was a little weird to me, but I never really heard her talk at all.

Then she started giving us fun facts, mostly about Disneyland, or if she saw something random she knew something about. My boyfriend told me she was just excited. I don’t know at what point it started to drive me absolutely insane, but it did.

There were three big things that really got to me. First, I complimented her ears and matching backpack and she said “thank you. My daddy got it for me for Christmas.”

But then every time anyone complimented it, she’d say the same exact thing. The same exact comment, every single time. Second, she was wearing a birthday pin. When he gave it to her he commented that it wasn’t her birthday yet but we were here to celebrate it.

But then, someone would say happy birthday and she would say “thank you, it’s not really my birthday, my birthday is (blank).” It was the EXACT same thing, same tone, same inflections, every. Single. Time.

Finally, the thing that drove me absolutely bonkers was the fun facts. Everywhere we went and everything she saw she’d tell us a fact; this was built in 1963, there’s a hidden Mickey right there, whatever she could think to tell us she would, sometimes multiple times, and it was CONSTANT.

On top of that, she kept repeating noises or songs we heard. It was like she would just say whatever was in her head, which sometimes was pointless or irrelevant. Also, she hummed or sang like every song we heard, including the background music.

This was constant all night except for briefly when she had sensory overload and shut down for a while. I think the worst part is that my boyfriend never told her to stop or corrected her.

He actually encouraged and even enjoyed it, sometimes singing with her or laughing. I know she’s on the spectrum, but I can’t help but think these behaviors can be fixed. She was always so quiet around me, so I know she can.

I’m not really mad at her for her behaviors, but I am mad at my boyfriend for not telling her that she sometimes needs to keep things to herself because it bothers other people. WIBTA if I told my boyfriend he needs to stop his daughter from making little comments because it’s driving me insane?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:

Ginger_titts

Okay, I’m going with a soft YTA, but also nobody is explaining this from an autistic POV. The reason she was quiet with you before hand is likely because she was in a calm environment and wasn’t being overstimulated. She was in her space, with her people.

The reason she kept talking, singing, making noises, etc is because she was overstimulated and over excited. She’s a kid, going to Disney! They’re annoying anyway! She was stimming, letting out her excess energy. When I get like that I do something similar (and it’s just as annoying).

The same tone of voice? She doesn’t realise she should change it. She doesn’t know that she should have different inflections. That’s something we learn later on, once we’ve spent time with other people and have had them complain constantly about how weird we sound (pretty much like you’re doing now).

It will take some getting used to, but there’s no “fixing” her. There’s nothing to be fixed. She’s perfect as she is. It’s you who needs to fix the way you perceive her. She’s going to have a tough time later on (trust me, I have experience), and she will need you and her father to back her up. If you really like her dad, put the effort into learning more about her, about her ticks, her stims.

ReviewOk929

YTA -

You shouldn't be in this relationship if you're going to have a shitty attitude to his kid. She was just being a kid. Apparently you were being even more immature than a kid. Nothing wrong with what she was doing. Everything wrong with what you were doing. Oh my....

StAlvis

YTA

"It was the EXACT same thing, same tone, same inflections, every. Single. Time."

This is nothing. Take a pill.

"briefly when she had sensory overload"

And how would you characterize what you were experiencing here?

Accomplished_Area311

As an autistic adult with two autistic kiddos: YTA. The fact that this child has stopped masking around you means she likes you. And trusts you to be a safe person. Her being quiet around you was masking.

These are all quite normal behaviors for autistic kids in that age range. Autistic people very often (not all of us, and not always!) want to be clear about what the truth of a situation is, so we don’t get in trouble for lying, or so we aren’t perceived as lying.

“It isn’t really my birthday, my birthday is ___” can help clear up confusion for staff at theme parks, or help set a boundary if the child is uncomfortable with people assuming it’s really her birthday. Same for the other thing about the Christmas present.

As for the fun facts: that’s just part of hyperfixation. I’m 31, turning 32, and I infodump on my husband when he’s okay with me doing so. It helps me connect with him more socially. As for the humming/singing: …It’s Disney. The songs are meant to be sung or hummed as you hear them in the parks.

EDIT: You really hit the jackpot with a boyfriend who can perceive others’ needs and match their energy and social efforts. He’s implementing phenomenal social practice and conversational skill work, and is trying to communicate with her at her level.

My oldest has higher community support needs; frankly, I’d LOVE for him to be able to navigate a theme park and how overwhelming it can be with the grace and chill attitude of this child.

“Go to a theme park without a vocal, full-body meltdown” is one of our big community activity goals. Count yourself blessed that this kid has the support and resources to navigate things so well.

Savings_Bear_6231

YTA... she's 7 years old... even if she wasn't on the spectrum, this is a common, harmless behavior from that age group.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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