The Care and Feeding of your Aspie Uncategorized

Care and Feeding of Your Aspie: Part 54 – You aren’t Autistic… You HAVE autism.

I’m sorry… I had to do it.

I was speaking to a woman recently. I told her that I was Autistic. She sucked her teeth at me and said, with an air of authority (and i quote) – “You aren’t Autistic… You HAVE autism.” First of all… Screw you… I’m the autistic… I have the right to label myself as such. And secondly – I really do hate the politically correct movement.

And that is what her statement is… “You aren’t Autistic… You HAVE autism.” is a way of saying that I am not defined by my disease… And I see why this would be important to a neurotypical. However, words are important… labels exist to allow us to understand the world in a way that our brains can relate to. We need labels so that we can communicate in a meaningful way with those around us. When I say cup, or plate – because of the framework of labels we have worked out in advance, you have an idea of what I am talking about…

And that is what being Autistic really is… When communicating with other people (NT’s and Autists alike), the word conveys an idea… And since there are as many forms of Autism as there are Autistics +1 (one form every Autistic and the +1 is for the DSM version.), LITERALLY – all we can do is convey the basic concept of what it is to be Autistic. So… I personally feel that the word Autistic is a valid and acceptable label for me… and I will be damned if I will be told that I mean something else when I speak.

The politically correct movement started out in sort of the same thing… It was an Idea, not a movement. The whole concept was respect.

Language is an important tool. Without language, we have VERY limited ability to communicate… We can make general groanings, grunts and growls. The problem is, language is an imprecise, yet powerful tool. Words, to a certain extent, have power…

Think carefully about it… Racial slurs are but one example… These words have the power to hurt, enrage and minimize.

So, the concept of political correctness is one of respect… By choosing words and phrases (Like “African American”, “Autistic Spectrum Individual”, and the like), political correctness seeks to convey respect and stop the minimalization of the people being discussed.

It has done a lot of good, but it can hurt as well…

While the concept of political correctness is good… it has turned into something far more malicious…

Instead of trying to pay homage, convey respect and reduce minimalization… it has become a way to control. It controls the way we think. It controls the way we speak. And it controls the way we behave.

Think about it… Back in the day, Autistic Spectrum Individuals were routinely referred to as “Retards”. By following the concepts of political correctness, it evolved to the point that we are now called Autistic Spectrum Individuals… This stopped the minimalization of my people in one way… but it continued it in a couple other ways…

When we were called “retards,” anyone who heard about it, knew what to expect… even though it was (more often than not) wrong… Now that we have been granted the label of “Autistic Spectrum Individual”, we have another label to live with…

Now, we are faced with the label of Autism. Think about all of the things I write about… This is part 54 of the series… That is 53 other issues designed to combat the preconceived notions about Autistic Spectrum Disorders. We are labelled Autistic Spectrum Individuals… And with that label, comes it’s own minimalization. The average person has a mold that they pour us into when they hear the term…

While I agree, in concept, with Political Correctness… However, I disagree when it impacts me directly. I disagree when people tell me how to talk about myself… I am opposed to people being told that they cannot choose their own labels…

So…I am autistic… like it or lump it.

Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources:
http://img0.etsystatic.com/000/0/5935222/il_fullxfull.170341134.jpg
http://samandro22.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/wordshavepower.jpg
http://images.sodahead.com/polls/002772783/4855886201_billing_xlarge.jpeg
http://www.lushquotes.com/pics/kristin-scott-thomas/I’ve-realised-that-I-am-who-I-am-and-that-is-it.-Like-it-or-lump-it.-I’m-not-around-to-please-anyone-any-more,-and-it’s-a-huge-relief..jpg

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