Autism Is A Pervasive Developmental Disorder

1631 WordsDec 11, 20157 Pages
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder which many people claim to understand, but few fully do. The extent of most people’s knowledge about autism is seven-year-old white boys who will only talk about cars, Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory, or “Rain-man”. These people claim to understand the condition and believe that fighting to “cure” these people of their autism is the right thing to do. They believe they are good people for speaking for the people “who can’t speak for themselves” (see Autism Speaks, the autism “charity” widely considered in the autistic community to be a hate group). However, autistic individuals are capable of “speaking”, for themselves and their community, groups and people like Autism Speaks just are not…show more content…
They claim that using language this way “puts the person before the disability or the condition, and emphasizes the value and worth of the individual by recognizing them as a person instead of a condition.” (Brown) However, most autistic individuals, and the autistic community as a whole, prefer to be called just that, “autistic individuals”, which is identity-first language. This is because when “person with autism” is said instead of “autistic person” “[i]t suggests that the person can be separated from autism, which simply isn’t true” (Brown). Another phrase to be addressed is “cure culture”. “Cure culture” is the focus on finding the potential causes or a cure for autism. This pervasive attitude is far reaching, including everything from the anti-vaccination movement to Autism Speaks’ “Walk to Cure Autism”. A domain-specific word to autism is “allistic”. “Allistic” simply means “not autistic” and refers to everyone outside of the autism spectrum. “Allistic” was first coined for the satirical article “Allism: an introduction to a little-known condition” but has stuck in autistic vocabulary (Main). This may seem overly complicated, but it is important for the dichotomy to be between “autistic” and “allistic,” not “autistic” and “not autistic” because by saying “not autistic,” “autistic” is set up as the othering factor. The last important term is “neurodiversity”. “Neurodiversity” is the idea that people with developmental differences such as autism
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