The double-edged sword of labels in the autistic world

the silent wave

I wrote once in defense of labels, before defending and embracing labels was cool (insert wry grin here).

The recoil against labels is palpable, and in a way, justifiably so.  After all, in a world of individuals, it’s rather simplistic–not to mention inaccurate–to assume that everyone sharing a particular designation is all automatically alike, and there’s too strong a tendency to paint with too broad a brush.  It can become too tempting to generalize and stereotype.

These generalizing and stereotyping tendencies have become magnified in my world, since I realized that I’m on the Asperger’s/autism spectrum.

Even today, in 2017, simply saying the word “autistic” to an allistic (non-autistic or neurotypical) person often conjures up images of children who stare past their parents and vehemently reject hugs.  Or children who wear helmets and blurt out “nonsensical” sounds.  And so on.

To the general population, to be “autistic” means to be…

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Published by Autism Candles

My name is Nathan Young. I'm the founder of the Autism Candles project. I am a self-advocate. The candle project exist to make a statement about inclusion and opportunity. My email is Feel free to contact me.


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