Cultural Research Present It is Time To Change The Autism Lexicon
Before writing the book Coloring Outside Autism’s Lines, author Susan Walton was told to mourn her son’s diagnosis of autism in order to “mourn the loss of the child I dreamed of.”
While a diagnosis can certainly be daunting, this is no reason to suggest that a parent “lost” a child. Children with autism are beautiful beings with extraordinary talents, aspirations, and qualities – unique traits to celebrate. As Susan Walton says, “Coping with a child’s disability is not a party. Nobody signs up for it … But together with the challenges, our children bring joy and amazement into our everyday lives. “
Many studies suggest that the time has come to use language that describes autism differently.
The understanding of the scientific and medical community of what autism is has changed dramatically over the past century. Differences in people’s social and ideological beliefs about autism also affect the language they use to describe the condition.
Words like “disorder,” “disability,” or even “cure” can actually be harmful and are only used to separate those who are already facing these cognitive or behavioral differences, reports Spectrum News. According to a study of more than 2,000 people on the spectrum published in Autism magazine, the term “high functionality” should not be used at all.
As author Susan Walton writes, being diagnosed with autism is not synonymous with losing a child.
“It is important to avoid assumptions about a person’s independence, achievement or happiness potential based on their apparent level of intellectual ability or ‘functional level’,” writes the research team who conducted a survey on autism-focused language in the UK . “Such seemingly ‘functioning levels’ are inherently subjective to the viewer and have more to do with how well we ‘pass’ than with actual abilities. They are also highly context-dependent and vary depending on the current cognitive, sensory or emotional processing load of the person. “
Children bring joy and amazement into our everyday life.
There are many different conditions that make up the “autism spectrum,” including autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Rett disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. And there are countless other ways that these conditions can affect human behavior.
Help us change the autism dictionary from grief to relief!
We need to be aware of the language we use to describe the emotions surrounding an autism diagnosis. Yes it could be scary; but children with autism are no loss at all. They are distinctive people who should be cared for and valued.
Click below and help us change the autism dictionary!
From Grief to Relief: Change the Autism Lexicon
Diagnosing autism can be daunting, but it doesn’t mean the “loss” of a child.
Everyone who has autism is different, and it’s important to respect those differences in order to create a better world for all.
Sign the pledge and help us change the autism dictionary from grief to relief!