Autistic Person vs. Person with Autism Follow-up

I wrote this post about 3 years ago, but never posted it because I was still unsure of how I felt about everything. However, after my last post, I feel this post will bring more understanding to my point of view.

I have never understood the whole debate between whether we should refer to someone that has been diagnosed with autism as an autistic person or a person with autism. Who decided that saying someone is autistic is an insult? Who decided that we lose value based on how we are labeled? Who decided that the order in which we say something connotes the importance of each part of the phrase? And ultimately, who decided that the order of words determines whether we are people first or disabilities first? Who decided that who we are has to be ordered?

To me the debate is completely unnecessary¬†and detracts from life as a whole. If we can’t even say a sentence without someone arguing about the way we phrase something, how can we possibly hope to have a wholesome and healing conversation about autism and what it really means?

Autism is a noun; autistic is the adjective of that noun. Why does this have to mean anything other than that? Why do people even talk about person first language? We are all people. Who says that saying we have a disability detracts from our value as people? Who says that saying we are autistic people means that we are less than saying we are people with autism?

And in reality maybe we should be asking, what makes autism less than the rest of the world? Why is autism considered less, not as valuable, demeaning? Autism is a disorder. But this does not make someone with autism of less worth than someone without autism. Is a blind person less than someone with sight? You who see the world differently, does that mean my world is of less quality than yours? Perhaps I could show you things in your world that you never even knew existed. Perhaps my world is of no less quality than yours. Maybe it is just different.

And that is what we need to realize. Autism is not less. Autism is not person first or disability first. Autism is not an insult or a lower standard of living. Autism is a difference. Autism is the reality of a world that the rest of the world may never know.

And it is okay to be different.


Is this easy?

I find myself asking this question a lot lately. Is this supposed to be easy? Is this easy for most people? Would this be easy for me if I didn’t have Asperger’s?

Normally this question comes up when I need to get something done that I really don’t want to do. For example, I ordered something online and need to call customer service because it hasn’t come in the mail yet. This isn’t something I want to do though and have to decide whether I want the item more than I want to avoid having to call and talk to people about this sort of thing on the phone. These sorts of problems often make me question whether it is normal for it to be this hard to do something or if it’s just me that has a hard time with it.

I also ask this question a lot when I need to talk to people I know. I know it might seem a little strange, but I often have an easier time talking to someone I’ve never met rather than someone I know. For me, it’s just easier to start with a fresh slate than to try to figure out where I need to start out at. I feel like I have already gotten off on the wrong foot on so many relationships that there is no good way to recover them, but with a new relationship I can be who I am and start out as someone better than who people I know see me as.

Are friendships easy? Is it supposed to be easy to make friends? Is it easy to talk to people you know? Is it easy to say hi to someone you recognize? Do most people question if their normal conversation is actually normal or not? What is easy in this world for people who don’t struggle with autism? And more importantly, is there any way these things will ever be easy for me?

What do you want to know about autism?

I don’t have much time to post this week since I’m visiting with my family. So I decided to ask what you would like to know about autism. Is there anything you have questions about or are curious to know? If you could interview someone with autism, what would you ask them?

Just leave your question in the comment section and I will do my best to either make a post about it or answer your question directly.

In the meantime, you can check out this video I found recently and let me know what you think. I might make a post about the video in the coming weeks.