Autism

Different, Not Disabled

I have decided to change my way of thinking and my vocabulary. I am officially taking the word “disability” out of my life.  Being autistic doesn’t mean I’m disabled. Instead, I propose a theory that the world and our society have been set up in a way that disables me.

Here’s an example. Let’s say everything in our society was exactly the same, except doorways were 3 ft shorter. Being tall would become a disability, merely because of how we construct our buildings. Our society has set up social rules and constructs that disables people who think differently from the majority, especially us autistics. Our way of processing stimuli and how we present ourselves seem to scare the majority, therefore we are “wrong” or disabled.

I love the way I process the world. Sure, there are many things that are unpleasant and overwhelming, but having autism, for me, is like having a super power. I can read super quickly, I have a perfect sense of taste for cooking. I am able to memorize and sing complicated and fast songs. These are all things that are due to my neurological system being different and my life would be empty without them.

Something that I have worked very hard to come to terms with is the fact that I am not a broken human. People around me may make me feel like that when they question my social skills or when they see me stimming, but that is not who I am. I am an autistic who is very proud and happy that I don’t fit in with the majority. I have truly learned to love being autistic. I’m different, not disabled.

I wanted to add one last paragraph based on some feedback I received on this piece. There are people for whom disabled is their preferred label, much as autistic is mine. Please know that I respect, appreciate, and validate the people who identify as disabled. This is my view on the term and how it relates to me personally.

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