Categories
Spectrum

Labels (Part 1)

[…] as soon as someone says they’re on the autism spectrum, we categorize them and treat them differently.

Creigh, Caley

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It’s interesting the way that little label changes where the presumption lies.

If you’re NT and you decide to go explore a local park on a whim, you’re just indulging a whim. If you have ASD though, that’s ‘dangerous wandering’.

If you’re NT and you hire someone to do your cleaning or your lawn, you’re just freeing up spare time for yourself, but if you have ASD, you’re not ‘living independently.’

Cynthia Kim

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When I am open about being Autistic, I am handing people a weapon to punish me with. [Many times] my autism has been invoked during a disagreement. I have ended up leaving so many communities because I was told that I was only disagreeing because my autism meant I didn’t really understand. […]

Anytime someone wants to dismiss my opinion or experience, they point out that I am Autistic, as if that trumps anything and everything. […]

Telling people that I am Autistic gives them the opportunity to understand me better.

It also gives them the opportunity to dismiss anything and everything about me as irrelevant, deluded, pathological, unacceptable. No one has to provide a logical counter for anything I say because my words are Autistic words so they mean nothing. They are merely symptoms and can be disregarded.

Max Sparrow

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Like it or not, public perception of autism is not very diverse (yet). […] We need adjectives like ‘mild’ or ‘severe’ to help other people understand the extent of the autistic person’s needs.

Chris Bonnello

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There is no such thing as severe autism. There are autistic people.

Autistic people all have needs to be met. Just like everyone else.

These aren’t special needs, or different needs, they are human needs.

Autistic people need food, shelter, connection with other people, and to feel safe and valued. Just like everyone else.

Autistic people will communicate their distress when their needs are not being met. Just like everyone else. […]

They are not ‘severely autistic’– they are autistic and severely misunderstood, severely stigmatised, severely stressed, severely anxious, severely exhausted […]

Michelle Sutton

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My ‘high functioning’ child is not yet potty trained and still has to use diapers.  We support her and teach her, but we never shame her publicly or otherwise for being Disabled and on a different developmental path than other children her age.

Wait, does that make her ‘low-functioning’?  I get confused because she is also reading ‘The Hobbit’, which might make her ‘high-functioning’.

Romana Tate

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(See previous quote for context)

Deviating from the gist of the quote; it is interesting to note how – generally speaking – using diapers and reading The Hobbit are associated with respectively ‘low-functioning’ and ‘high-functioning’ in the first place.

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Part of the problem of the “labels are for jars” argument is that it inextricably links the label with diagnosis and pathology. It completely ignores the possibility that the label can be part of a disabled identity [when it is not] entirely defined by medical terms.

Kim Sauder

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A diagnosis is meant to give a reason. We can say, look, you have cancer. That is why you are feeling so unwell. You have depression. That is why you are so sad. You have this, so you are that. We expect a direct correlation, a cause, a salve to soothe us against all the things in the world that don’t make sense. The things that hurt us. A diagnosis tells us if A, then B. In this way, we define and we mend and we neatly slot the world into order. A diagnosis of disability tells the world where to fit a person, what they can and cannot do, how they will be loved and love in return. It designates relationships and builds hierarchies. From the moment my sister was diagnosed, people expected it would define us, too. Her and me. When they spoke they left so much room for the wrong words, such as caretaker and burden and problem, but too little for the right ones, such as sister and friend.

Out of context, Lauren McKeon

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Being assigned the label also became an experience of crossing over the threshold of ‘normal’ to ‘abnormal.’ […] They also continually compared their inner experiences and behaviors against an imagined standard of ‘normal.’

Out of context, Susan G. Goldberg

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Categories
Spectrum

Spectrums in Life

Extra section related to:

Life experiences, individual personality,
and choices and changes throughout life:

(A myriad of little and big things play complex roles in
an individual’s experiences and influence their life)

‘Autism’ is just one thing among many others.

1
  • Specific configuration of neurological differences (cognition, communication, sensory perception, movement, interaction)
  • The fact that the variation of abilities and inabilities is inconsistent

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2
  • In which areas you choose to fuel your energy, maybe at the expense of other areas
  • How you (choose to) perform in each context

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3
  • How others think of, view, judge and treat you; how they react to, respond to and what they believe about your actions
  • Social dynamics; discrepancy between reality and others’ misperceptions

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4
  • How you change in response of others: your approach, response and reaction to situations
  • If and how you choose to show/hide your skills, your (internal) struggles, and your needs – which may differ from other people
  • How easy/hard it is for you to get/lose support; which types of support you get/need

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5
  • Whether or not you know and/or disclose you are autistic; when you knew it (if you know it), and your life history before this; how you conceive the label of ‘autistic’
  • Whether or not you have, choose to have, or seek a diagnosis

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6
  • Demographic characteristics, identities, experiences:
    • gender (gender roles, trans/non binary, etc.), race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, parenthood, cultural surroundings, socioeconomic status, physical disability, etc.
  • Stigma, discrimination, prejudice, underdiagnosis, expectations, portrayal, etc.
  • How different characteristics combine with being autistic

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Based on an article by Elizabeth Bartmess

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Categories
Spectrum

Outside of Stereotypes

Extra section related to:

[…] for every behaviour or response or trait that even we think of as being ‘typically’ autistic, we can find someone on the spectrum who doesn’t have it, or do it.

We come from both genders and the inter-gender, all races and nationalities and religions and sexualities, all classes and sub-sections of humanity, and all ages too […]

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are autistics, for instance, who are fine with eye contact, extroverted autistics who enjoy other people’s company […] and autistics […] who are comfortable with change and variety […]

There are autistics who have never had a meltdown, who are hypo-sensitive to sensory input, especially pain, whose stims are non-existent […] or non-obvious, who have no particular ‘special interests’, or who are hopeless with maths and/or technology, preferring the social sciences or the arts or just about anything but computers.

There are whimsical autistics, and those who are totally serious. […] There are autistics who can handle and even do sarcasm and metaphor, and those who can understand and use abstract or figurative language and/or philosophical concepts just fine.

And while many autistics struggle with friendships and/or relationships, choose not to try for them, or truly don’t want them, many others are able to build long-lasting connections with others […] There are also many autistics who have no problem with physical or verbal affection […]

There are even autistics who can read facial expressions […] Some of us [are] actually quite socially savvy, and some are just naturally ‘social beings’ […]

StrangerInGodzone

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