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

Blossoming

Popular saying:

If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism

Stephen Shore

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Autism […] involves varying levels of disability, depending on both the situation in which an individual is placed, and the expectations that are set.

Kirsten Lindsmith

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Just as neurotypical people aren’t uniformly skilled at everything, autistic people have varying levels of competence in different areas of our lives.

Cynthia Kim

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[…] you can be excellent at one thing and barely coping at another. We simply can’t make such a sweeping generalisation of someone’s ability to function.

Bec Oakley

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[…] There’s a related problem where autistic people will hear something from another autistic person, and assume that they have to be similar to that other autistic person.

Mel Baggs

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If you look around the autistic community you’ll see artists and computer programmers and teachers and writers and engineers and activists and baristas and stage managers and linguists and mathematicians and speech therapists and managers and social workers and scientists and athletes and musicians and poets and sales people and business owners and vet techs and moms and dads and grandparents and students […]

Cynthia Kim

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Many people outside the autism community don’t understand the breadth of the autism spectrum, or the effect experience, age, and environment has on our development.

Ashia Ray

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There is a whole spectrum of, very often,

reasonable [and relevant and meaningful] responses [and motivations] to unusual experiences

Partial quote, Elizabeth Bartmess

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Writing Autistic Characters: Behaviorizing vs. Humanizing Approaches

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Autistic people are sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, coworkers and employees, students and teachers, friends and relatives, neighbors and community members. […] Autistic people have different abilities, different needs, different interests, and different personalities.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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Autism doesn’t make us better than other people, and it doesn’t make us worse. We’re not subhuman, and we’re not superhuman. We’re just people.

Ruti Regan

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We’re autistic, we’re human, get used to it

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Think about it this way: is there a one-size-fits-all description that sums up what it means to be human? Of course not, but does that put anyone off trying to describe it? No; instead it inspires people to explore every aspect of the human condition, doing their best to unravel its mysteries in new and intriguing ways, in the hope of giving us a deeper understanding of who we are.

Helen Wallace-Iles

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Extras: