Terminology

First of all, apologies to anyone who was waiting for my blog yesterday, I got bogged down in other things. Anyway, here’s this week’s ramblings.

The National Autistic Society states that there are 2.8 million people in the UK affected by autism on a daily basis. That’s the population of greater Manchester!

Am I autistic or a person with autism, or neurodiverse? 

On various forums and blogs this seems to be a big debate, so as I love linguistics I thought that I would throw my spanner into the mix.

Personally, I refer to myself as an autistic person. I use the term ‘people with autism and autistic people’, although in writing, I do use the terminology interchangeably. I do so, simply because I feel that it presents itself as less repetitive phraseology and as such, makes for better writing; I have never claimed to be a writer, nor an expert on the subject of autism. I have a Level 2 qualification in the subject of ‘Understanding Autism’ but that’s merely scratching the very tip of the surface of a very complex subject.

I do like the term neurodiverse because it simply acknowledges that a person on the autistic spectrum sees the world differently to those who are not on the spectrum. The simple fact is that, yes, we are different within a predominantly neurotypical environment. However, also our environments might be as unique as the person within in them. Within my own social circle, I suspect that an awful lot of my friends are on the autistic spectrum; I also know for a fact that a lot of my friends are on the spectrum or are around people who are autistic. It’s highly likely that most people have encountered autism at some stage or point in their lives.

Anyway, I tend to use the term ‘autistic person’ simply because I am autistic and a person. It’s as simple as that. Whilst I can appreciate that some people prefer to be referred to as a ‘person with autism’, I personally see that this infers a negative upon the person. I embrace the fact that my autism makes me different to others who are not autistic. We are taught to embrace diversity and for this reason, I am an autistic person and not a person with autism.

My autism makes me who I am, I don’t know where my being autistic stops and my personality starts or whether or not they are intrinsically linked together; I rather suspect that they are one and the same.

Whilst being autistic does not make my life and social interactions easy, quite the contrary, I love being different from the neurotypical herd. I am not sick, unwell or disabled. My genetic and neurological wiring is simply different.

In short, terminology is just a matter of phraseology. We are simply autistic. That in itself makes us wonderful, brilliant, introverted, extroverted, fabulous, gifted and a great many other adjectives. Embrace life and don’t let the semantics tread you down.

#actually autistic #autism #nas #autism

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