Wait – what?
I woke up this morning to a parent insisting that she would not allow autism to define her son, just as she wouldn’t allow high blood pressure, psoriasis, or hangnails to define anyone.
So, um, yeah.
That brings us to the whole labelling debate which really isn’t even be a debate.
Does the label of “autism” or “Autistic” define us in our entirety? No, of course not. But, it is an important part of who we are. Everything that we do, the way we perceive the world, and the way that we perceive and interact with other people is filtered through our Autistic brains. It’s not the only thing about us, but it is just as much of an important factor in our identity as anything else.
Don’t be scared of the word Autistic. It is not a negative thing. It is something that we are, and something that many of us are proud of. Do be scared of the way that other people may place limitations on us because we’re Autistic, but that’s on them and not us. Use those opportunities to show people that being Autistic, while it does come with the challenges of an unaccepting and unaccommodating society, is not inherently bad. It just is.
Don’t deny us the label, don’t misplace your discomfort with the way we are treated by blaming the label. The label is not the problem. Society is the problem, so if you want to change something, change society. Help us tell society that Autistic is an ok label!
While this post was written tongue-in-cheek, I have written another post which does explain who and what defines me. You can read that here.