Autism and Labels
Autism is widely misunderstood. Since there are many types of Autism, there are also many types of misunderstandings that go with it. Often times you may hear others refer to us as “High Functioning” or “Low Functioning”. These ableist ideas categorize us by assuming what quality of life we will have based on were we are on the Spectrum. Autism is a Spectrum of Conditions that include ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, OCD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Non Speaking Conditions etc. These cannot be classified as High or Low Functioning.
Growing up I was seen as “High Functioning” because I looked “Normal”. Because of this it was just assumed that I was lazy and simply needed to work harder, therefor I was last in line to receive proper help. As I got older my reading comprehension was still delayed, so were my other classes. People saw a person who looked just fine, but what people did not see was how I struggled to comprehend subjects in school, how P.E. was a complete nightmare because my fine motor skills were delayed and I could not even put my hair into a pony until I was 13, or how I had a hard time focusing because I had daily panic attacks at school.
For an individual who is on another side of the Spectrum than I am, they may be labeled as “Low Functioning” because they are Non-Speaking etc. People assume that they will automatically have a poor quality of life. But what people do not see is that person’s ability to communicate in very affective ways using sign language or technology, or how they may have a talent with painting or puzzles. People do not see them live an active life going on family vacations, going to group activities with other’s on The Spectrum, living their best life.
Having access to the arts, and being represented is a great way for us to educate the public on what we actually live like. T.V shows often show a person who does not have a Disability acting the roll of a person who does have a Disability, while the audience is hoping that the ending of the story will involve a “cure”, giving the public a very misguided idea of who we actually are.
Autism and Labels