The terms “with autism” and “autistic” are highly debated issues in the world of autism. While both terms are the same, it changes according to person. It changes according to their preferences about how they want to be referred. While some of them on the autism spectrum prefer to be referred to as “a person with autism”, others prefer to be referred to as “autistic person”.
Both terms are used interchangeably. This use of the two terms simply conveys emotion rather than the meaning of that word. Ultimately, it actually shapes how the people referred to are perceived by the rest of society. As a parent, a sibling, or a relative who has someone on the autism spectrum, you are likely to have your own thoughts on the matter. But it would be helpful to keep this in mind that addressing the child as a child with autism or an autistic child says something about how you actually perceive the child’s situation.
In fact, what needs to happen is that when talking to or about any community, first you need to ask what they think and emphasize their needs. Individuals in the community may also have their own needs and preferences. Therefore, being called a person with autism or an autistic person is completely related to the person or the primary caregiver.
Whatever the term used, it is important to be aware of the language used. The language used should be chosen taking into account the preferences. However, it should not be forgotten that just as the perception of autism is constantly changing, language is also changing every day. Therefore, there is no one correct way to define autism. We must admit that this is largely a personal preference.
The only point to be considered in any word used to describe autism and express an individual with autism is actually not to show disrespect. We shouldn’t use this situation to say anything negative. Autism is something to be celebrated, not insulted.
Actually, the most important thing about these descriptions, is what the person on the spectrum wants to be called. The language is evolving so it has to be like that in the autism community as well. Being autistic or having autism are not the descriptions that matter. How they feel, how they perceive, and how they are perceived matter.
A Person with Autism
Autism is not the only thing that defines individuals on the spectrum. You can think of this situation as follows. It is the same thinking followed when describing or pointing out someone with another illness or disability. For example, when you talk about a cancer fighter and say someone with cancer, you accept that the only feature of this person is not to have cancer, and you emphasize that he/she is a human being first of all.
Some who use the term “person with autism” explain the reason in different ways. When they use such expressions, they believe that they are emphasizing that the person only has this disease and that they have to live with it and fight it. They believe that this situation is no different from the situation of any person with cancer.
Another and more accepted idea is that only one of many characteristics of individuals on the spectrum is autism. These individuals also have many different aspects, characteristics, and uniqueness. In a post by a parent with autism, he explained very well why his child should not be described as autistic. He stated that he would always prefer to describe his child with autism as blue-eyed, long-haired, smiling, fidgety, curious, and having a contagious laugh, rather than autistic.
An Autistic Person
The term autistic states that the individual cannot be considered independently of autism and that autism is an integral and complementary part of it. It wouldn’t be right to call this situation a negative definition, but it is all about perspective. It is a different way of perceiving the individual on the spectrum.
When the term autistic is used, the most important difference is that it states that the individual cannot be considered independently of autism, cannot exist without autism, or would be a completely different individual if autism did not exist. In other words, it means that autism makes the individual this way. According to the defenses of those who use the term autistic, it will be a term that reflects the reality as it is when describing the individual since autism is a lifelong disorder.
Some find the use of the term autistic not offensive at all. On the contrary, they cannot make sense of why they are described as people with autism. When they are described as autistic, autism is perceived as a condition that can or should be treated. Unfortunately, this is not the case with autism.
Some individuals on the spectrum also find the term a person with autism disturbing and want to be described as autistic. Autism is not simply something they have, it is a condition they cannot change. It is a condition they have to fight for a lifetime. It is an unchangeable part of an individual’s identity. For those who support this idea, using the expression autistic is a more reasonable option.
Autism is a huge patient job for families. When faced with such a situation, it is very important to be patient and accept the situation quickly. It is necessary to be in constant communication with the child, it is also very important to talk to him/her constantly. There are many benefits to starting education early. Awareness needs to be raised about autism. Families should not be left alone in this regard and should be supported. Everyone should be conscious of autism.
Children with autism do not speak, they use body language. You need to adjust your child to the environment and the environment of your child. They attach to the caregiver with love, kisses, toys, parks, and gifts. After connecting, it now waits for the command, that is, it is ready for training and education. It is necessary to organize education according to the child’s character and age. The child will learn gradually and move on to the next step. It is important to continue this education by not detaching from sociality. You should feed the enthusiasm in the child and not stop it.
Love is very important in the fight against autism. Love and care have a great contribution to the healing of all diseases. Even with autism, children are very intelligent. They think that if they have achieved something by crying, they can achieve everything by crying all the time, and this situation is on their minds. First of all, it is necessary to break this stubbornness in them. How far can you limit yourself to these diseases? The biggest factor is love; love is very important. Care, love, and attention are very important in autism.
A family with an individual with autism stated that the family and time involved in the fight against autism, as well as the intensive training given by the people who are true, systematic, and devoted to this work, say that their light in their dark world increases even more.
Having children with autism is not a shame. Regardless of your child’s age, if there is abnormal behavior, consult more than one doctor without wasting time, and do not accept what every doctor says as true. Some doctors say that individuals with autism do not get better, they do not change, and they are disabled. Do not believe in their accuracy, do not lose hope. With the right education and the right study program, you will see the changes in your child. Is your child improving because of education or because he/she is getting older? Consider the question. Keep asking this question and follow up on your child and education. Entrusting the work to its competence does not mean that you will not follow the development. Follow your child’s education with scientific data. At the end of the lesson, don’t believe the things that can be just words that have no scientific results from the trainers.
When we try to inform people about autism and talk about it as much as possible, we learn that some people describe it as “agitating”. It is supposed that this is what it means to keep talking about autism. However, if people with a relative with autism channel their lives to this, there is no other solution. Just as people tell about an event they experience during the day, something that bothers them, or something they are happy about, they do the same. How can it be interpreted as “agitating” to be talking about this situation in order to reach more people and reach out to families who are faltering on this issue and do their best.
Human beings are afraid of situations that they cannot make sense of, characterize those who have that situation as “abnormal” and exclude them. That’s exactly what society does. Ignoring it works for us, for some reason we never try to look at the situation from the opposite side. It is important to get out of this framework: “normal: majority perception” and “abnormal: minority perception”. In addition to doing this, if we can manage to empathize, then everything will be different.
Imagine if your child was diagnosed with autism, wouldn’t you dedicate your whole life to him? Wouldn’t you do anything to make her smile, to feel good? How would you feel if you took your child to the park and saw other mothers taking their children away from yours as if they had a contagious and deadly disease? When you ask yourself all this and find the answers, you will see, there is no such thing as “normal” and “not normal”.
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