Please don’t call me an Aspie

[CN: functioning labels]

Please don’t call me an Aspie.

I am Autistic.

If people want to refer to their own identity by using the word Aspie, then I can respect their choice to do so. Their identity is their own choice. My identity is my choice.

For me, the word has connotations that are very similar to functioning labels. Aspie has almost become synonymous with “high functioning,” when it shouldn’t be that way. Musings of an Aspie explains that better than I can:

“But there’s a danger of people hearing high functioning, with its “not that defective” undertones, and equating it with “doesn’t need supports or services or accommodations or even any sort of understanding or acceptance.”

If you’re high functioning, you must be fine, right? You don’t really need a little extra time to complete your work or to get instructions in writing or to sit in a quiet place so you can concentrate. You can just high function your way around all those little problems and get stuff done like a normal person.”

Musings of an Aspie

More generally, people who regularly read my blog will know how I feel about functioning labels, but if you’re still not convinced that functioning labels do more harm than good, then here are some more links:

If you didn’t click on the links, one of the problems of functioning labels is that they make some autistic people seem as though they don’t need support and others seem as though they will never achieve anything.

[Please note: What I am about to say definitely does not apply to all people who identify as Aspie. I have no way of knowing if a person who identifies as Aspie subscribes to these beliefs. So, I would strongly caution anyone against making assumptions about a person who identifies as Aspie.]

For me, there is another worrying element attached to the label of Aspie.  This element has different names: Aspie Supremacist and Shiny Aspie are the ones with which I am most familiar. Autistic Hoya explains why this is problematic for me better than I can.

Don’t separate me from my community. Please don’t call me an Aspie. Don’t mislabel my identity: I am Autistic.

1 thought on “Please don’t call me an Aspie”

  1. I’m Autistic – my diagnosis is Autism Spectrum Disorder due to severe developmental delays, not Asperger Syndrome.

    In Autistic spaces I constantly feel erasure and exclusion – that’s right, even with my own people – because Autistic adults constantly refer to themselves as Aspies, they ask ‘Hey, what do other Aspies think about this?’ which means that I feel left out…sure they may not mean to exclude me but to an Autistic brain I can’t just assume I’m included, and to the brain of someone who is aware of the impact of language I know that this is people using Asperger Syndrome interchangeably with “high-functioning” to mean people with odd quirks but who are otherwise largely passable as allistic/neurotypical. As a child I was very severely impacted by my autism, as an Autistic adult I can pass as neurotypical if needed…sometimes better than my Aspie peers…but still *I AM AUTISTIC*.

    The assumption we’re all Aspies and erasure of Autistic adults harms us all by continuing this misinformation outside our communities, and it’s clearly ableism – this is people distancing themselves from other Autistic people, showing themselves as ‘not one of *those* type of Autistic people’. If I feel excluded as an Autistic adult, as an Autistic adult who isn’t severely impacted by their autism, what about my Autistic peers who are severely affected but who are still part of our communities…the insistence in using Aspie is no better than saying ‘High-functioning’ and excluding those who are deemed as ‘Low-functioning’.

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