Derogatory Language Or Slurs
Language matters and the words we use have impact. We strive to use language that respects each member of our community, and the use of derogatory language or slurs is unacceptable and reprehensible. The use of the R-word in any form, especially when describing an autistic person is unacceptable. Using “autism” or “autistic” as a slur or insult is also never acceptable.
A person’s diagnosis should never be mocked. Members of the autism community deserve to be treated with respect and accepted by their communities. A core mission objective of Autism Speaks is to increase understanding and acceptance so that people with autism can reach their full potential.
The Idea That Autism Is A Childhood Disorder
Some Autistics dislike the symbol of a colorful puzzle piece because it appears childish. The bright primary colors and image of a toy most commonly associate with children identify autism as a childhood disorder and that attention should be paid to how it affects children. But those children grow up and they still are Autistic , and not enough media attention is paid to the specific supports that are needed post-childhood.
Autism A Neurotype Not An Insult
A decade ago I was participating in a research seminar at an Australian university and one of the academics responded to a presentation about autism with the comment all academics are a little bit autistic.
Recently, I was speaking to a colleague about a someone from another university that she found hard to deal with. My colleague told me of the trouble she was having and finished up with you know how he is a bit on the spectrum.
Academic Sandra Jones is autistic and wants to challenge lines like all academics are ‘a little bit autistic’.
So even if not all academics “a little bit autistic”, the ones that are hard to get along with must be “a bit on the spectrum”?
Sadly, those two conversations were not isolated incidents, but rather the earliest and the most recent of dozens of occasions where I have heard people use “autistic’ as a gross over-generalisation or as an insult.
As an older woman with a successful career, I finally feel comfortable saying “I am autistic”. It is something I never would have admitted when I was starting my career.
My autism does not limit my ability to do my job in many ways it is why I am good at what I do but those flippant comments about “being on the spectrum” make it scary for a person to reveal their diagnosis.
The message it sends to autistic children is that it is fundamentally bad to be autistic.
Please, dont use our identity as your insult.
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Why ‘autistic’ And ‘autism’ Are Not Dirty Words
“Autistic” and “autism” are not dirty words and typical people avoid them like the plague. Meanwhile, “retarded” is a dirty word, and typical people throw it around like a football.
A few days ago, I was talking about autism very casually in a conversation about my childhood. The look on my conversation partner’s face when I said the word “autistic” was a Kodak moment in horror: “So you were autistic?”
Autistic appears to be an insult in this world. While cringing at the past tense usage, I replied to my conversation partner, “I am autistic. I have autism.” Present tense. I live in a world where normally, it is safer to hide it than to be criticized for how I see myself.
Rappers like 50 Cent and J. Cole get in trouble for using “autistic” out of context in their tweets or lyrics. They use it as an insult to how a person looks, much like the r-word. So they have to apologize, and the status of the terminology does not hang in limbo. It is an allegedly controversial word to begin with, and it gets muddied even further when it’s used incorrectly. Meanwhile, Iggy Azalea can use the r-word and get a smash summer hit. Nobody lit a fire underneath her to change the words of “Fancy,” and the r-word gets censored on radio and television. As far as autistic: nobody censors it, but the folks outside of the disability community who use it are forced to apologize.
“Autistic” and its variants are not dirty words. The abuse of them is a dirty practice.
Not Right For Everyone
Recently, together with the National Autistic Society, my colleagues and I asked 3,470 autistic people, parents and their broader support network, about the words they use to describe themselves, their children or the people with whom they work. Did they prefer to use autistic person? Or person with autism? Or person who has autism?
The results clearly showed that people use many terms when talking about autism. The words autism and on the autism spectrum were clear favourites among all the groups added together. But there was much disagreement on the use of several words and phrases. Professionals preferred to use person with autism while autistic adults and family members preferred on the whole to use is autistic. They thought that the term allowed them to describe the centrality of autism to their lives.
One autistic woman said:
In describing someone whos autistic as a person with autism/person who has autism/ person who suffers from autism you imply that autism is separate from a person, and behind their autism is a normal person.
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I Know Too Well This Use Of My Medical Condition As A Pejorative Swipe At Someones Personality
Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone: It is a very serious matter that a politician would participate in ableism, especially, and this bears stressing, while trying to convince voters to back her.File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Fine Gaels Dublin Bay North candidate Senator Catherine Noone was recorded on a canvass discussing Leo Varadkars performance during the Virgin Media leaderss debate.
Acknowledging that he can come across as cold or stiff, her way of putting it was: Hes autistic like, hes on the spectrum, theres no doubt about it. Hes uncomfortable socially and doesnt always get the in-between bits. When reports emerged this might not have been the only time she made such remarks while canvassing , The Times approached her for comment.
I didnt mean it in the sense of the actual illness or anything, she told them. I just mean he can be a bit wooden and lacking in empathy. I shouldnt have even said it in that way, she said. The senator then went on to offer examples of other words that could be considered offensive when taken out of context, such as special or indeed, the N-word. A serving senator, in attempting to justify casual ableism, casually said a racial slur to a journalist she knew was recording her. At least shortly afterwards, she conceded it was a bad example.
What could possibly make them feel that way, one may ask? A society where a national politician can be tasteless about autism, while canvassing voters perhaps?
Conflict Of Interest Statement
The Guest Associate Editor Adam Denes declares that, he holds a permanent position at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Budapest, Hungary, and despite being a visiting scientist at the same institution as authors Daniel K. Goyal and Jaleel A. Miyan, the review process was handled objectively and no conflict of interest exists.
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Were Too Honest For Our Own Good
You would think that being truthful was something you would want to promote but, in the interest of sparing someones feelings, apparently, were expected to lie from time to time and, whats more, if you dont then youre the jerk!
Known as a white lie, this is something many autistic people have struggled with, due to our literal way of thinking. However, recent studies into autistic people and lying have suggested that its not quite as simple as we wont lie because we cant. Instead, reports fromQueens University have found that, when autistic people do speak out of turn, its because we see the make-believe as mean and often believe that it will be less upsetting, to tell the truth .
Given the reasoning behind this, I think it would do more harm than good to try and change this behaviour in autistic people. So, if you ask us a question you dont like the answer to, just remember that this is an opinion an opinion which, though indisputable in our eyes, is not necessarily fact.
A Problem That Needs To Be Solved
This symbol also suggests that, like a puzzle, autism can be viewed as a problem that needs to be solved. This perpetuates the idea that there is something wrong with Autistic identity. Many Autistics like to make distinctions between speaking negatively about autism itself and speaking negatively about specific symptoms . Its frustrating and discouraging to live your life as if the world thinks there is something wrong with you .
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Ending The Use Of Autism As An Insult:
Nevertheless, autistic people are not alone as a community for coming under scrutiny by just existing, as it has become somewhat a right of passage for any group coming into their own that we will be targeted before we are accepted.
As you no doubt agree, this is not how it should be and is why, despite the expectation that autism as an insult will eventually fade, its far more pressing that we fight the trend of targeting marginalized groups, than try to save ourselves.
Unfortunately, doing this may not bring about a resolution any time soon yet, if this is the burden we must bear to ensure that, while we are not first, we can be the last, then I for one believe it is worth it.
We Cancel Plans At The Last Minute
Its always a bit of a gut punch when youre all dolled up ready to head out and, suddenly, your partner in crime cancels. But, whats more frustrating is when that person comes out with some lame excuse for why, i.e. my car broke down whilst I was on the way to wash my hair and I suddenly came down with the flu as my dog ate my homework
In reality, the autistic person in question would probably prefer to have had all the above happened as, the truth is, they likely have been hit by a truck of anxiety. This has been the case for me on so many occasions and, believe me, no matter how disappointed you are with us, we are likely to feel twice as bad about it ourselves.
So, if this happens to you, try and not pile onto our woes and maybe encourage us to open up about the thoughts holding us back. If we mention that we do want to go out, but are anxious about the unexpected, offer us a get out of jail free card by saying something like We can leave whenever you want . Furthermore, if the anxiety really is too much, why not move the evening plans to a lesser packed venue, such as someones home? Fun doesnt always have to involve overpriced drinks.
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What About The Terms ‘high Functioning’ And ‘low
I was at an event recently where lots of kids were running around and met a mum who told me her son had an autism diagnosis but was “very high functioning, almost normal”.
Even leaving the whole “normal” discussion aside I wasn’t sure how to reply in a way that was respectful to both her child and mine.
The terms high functioning and low functioning are shorthand terms that are often used but are light on details about an individual and mean very little.
The current diagnostic model for autism determines levels of support required in specific areas, not levels of functioning. There is no diagnosis of low- or high-functioning autism.
Mr Bonnello says these terms make a lot of autistic people cringe.
“It’s very rare that I meet an autistic person that does like the phrase high functioning,” he says.
“That’s for two reasons, because it obviously implies that there’s a low functioning and I wouldn’t use the term low functioning because it is an insult.
“The other reason is because high functioning often gets interpreted as no additional needs â like autistic but got away with it.
“There’s a quote I heard somewhere that low-functioning autism means your strengths are ignored and high-functioning autism means that your weaknesses are ignored.”
The spectrum is not a line with low functioning at one end and high functioning at the other, and importantly how we all communicate and cope with the world changes from day to day and depending on the circumstances.
Autism As An Insult: Harmless Or Hateful
- May 23, 2020
- James Sinclair
If you have spent a long weekend online gaming, then you might be surprised to learn that not everyone who misses a shot, goofs a goal or drops a ranking is autistic. In fact, although it has become common to use autism as a taunt online, to say such a thing is mindless .
This is something which I feel I shouldnt need to speak about . However, as the use of autism as an insult becomes more frequent on the tongue of sore losers, playground bullies and, inexplicably, leading politicians, it seems I can no longer avoid running my mouth off on the topic. So, lets discuss the implications of using autism as an insult.
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When People Use ‘autistic’ As An Insult
If youve been surfing the Internet, you might have noticed the use of autistic as an insult. If you havent seen the word used in this manner, heres a hypothetical example where I, an administrator, have banned Joe12 on a forum for getting into an argument with another user named BobTheGreat.
Joe12:Toren, why did you ban me for three days? I did no harm.
Toren:Im sorry Joe, but you shouldnt have gotten into an angry argument with BobTheGreat.
Joe12:But it wasnt my fault!
Toren:We clearly state in the forum rules that arguing for the purpose of arguing is not acceptable. Youll be able to post again in three days, so its not the end of the world.
Joe12:Youre autistic, dude.
As someone who was diagnosed with Aspergers in the days of the DSM-IV , I unsurprisingly have an opinion on the matter.
Another contributing factor to why people with autism might be considered rude is not making eye contact with you. This is an interesting topic for me, because while I find it very difficult to make eye contact with my family, its completely natural when talking to almost everyone else.
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Why Is Autism An Insult
Entry posted by ~Chaos~·
The thought popped in to my head and I just wanted to write this down, it seems these days autism and other mental illnesses are used as a insult. I’ve seen it quite a bit recently, for example, it seems people who like MLP get this thrown at them most, to me it’s just disrespectful and I don’t see the need for it.
I know full well the internet is full of hate, the anonymity makes it tremendously easy to throw hate around so people say things they wouldn’t when face to face with one another. I know it’s going to continue and everything, but I just wonder why they need to demean people who are affected by it.
Anyways, I just felt I wanted to write this out and see others view on it. So what do you think?
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Abnormalities In Gut Microflora In Asd
Abnormal clostridia species have been found repeatedly in ASD . The theory of clostridia involvement was postulated by Bolte in 1998 who suggested that clostridia toxin adversely affected neurotransmitter function that could result in neurobehavioral changes presenting as autism . Supporting this hypothesis, Parracho et al. outlined robust measures of microflora abnormalities in ASD cases suffering from bowel problems using PCR analysis and found a clear and consistent abnormality in the clostridia species present in ASD sufferers versus controls. Clostridium histolytica were found in higher levels in the ASD group versus healthy unrelated controls and healthy related controls .
Williams et al. recently reported consistently abnormal Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes ratios from biopsy specimens in children with ASD versus inflammatory bowel disease controls. This was linked to reduced disaccharidases , which in the same study were also found to be low in the ASD group. Williams et al. postulated a link between high carbohydrate transit to the large intestine in ASD leading to alteration in the proportion of Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes. The appearance of this compositional dysbiosis was highly correlated in the ASD group with Firmicutes to Bacteriodetes ratio of 31:69 in the ileal biopsies and 32:68 in the cecal biopsies .
Something That Is Missing
The jigsaw piece also signifies that something is missing. That Autistic people are not whole. That they are less than human. But Autistic people dont believe they have something missing. Again, going through life as if the world thinks you are inferior is wearisome and discouraging.
Opening yourself up to the Autistic community and what they have to say can be eye-opening. What you think may be an important way to support your family and spread awareness about autism may actually be offensive to some. If we are serious about supporting the autistic community, we must begin by listening to them and believing that what they are saying is worth something.
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