“Autistic People~People First.” “People with Autism~People First.” To me they are one in the same. One just sounds better to me grammatically and also because it is the tag phrase for my Blogtalk radio show through www.naturallyautistic.com !! AutismHWY Fridays~ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/autistic-people-/2011/10/28/autism-hwy-autistic-theatre
Wyatt is Autistic and Wyatt has Autism. I feel dumb that I don’t get that one of these phrases LABEL my son?! This has been pointed out to me three or four times this year…and I just wish it would go away haha…
I mean, I do understand the good intention surrounding this ”so called” People First language. That no one particularly wants to be labeled . That as my radioshow co-host Erik Estabrook so plainly stated, “I want to be seen as Erik.” Correct! We are ourselves, people first. However, that being said we grow, learn, change and label everything we come in contact with. It is the nature of being. So it is natural that we label ourselves and others. For reference points, for understanding, for everything. Only when there is a perceived negative connotation on your label does it become an issue.
For whatever reason non-Autistic people seem to have some kind of negative association to the word Autistic. Thus the kinder~ gentler terminology, person with Autism. Which to me sounds, sad and mundane. Powerless….like something that is with you whether you want it to be or not. I don’t know? As I write this, it occurs to me that ~ that is exactly it. When you say Autistic Person it has more power, more ownership…more pride in who one is! More…BAM! Here I am ! lol
So some cool gremlins were at work during my Naturally Autistic People First Blogtalk radio show a few Fridays back. I entered into a query with my Poet friend and co-host on the spectrum…Erik Estabrook about this language issue. I love having conversations with Erik! I find he surprises me with the direction of his thoughts. He is far and away one of the most interesting people I have ever met! So I had 1 phone after the next malfunctioning repeatedly. Our call in guest, Paul Maywood was calling the wrong number…So Erik was left manning the listener-SHIP!! Off and on as I was on for a minute and then drowning out…Erik was there…”Kelly are you there?? Kelly??”He was guiding me back, as if throwing me a life raft in the sea of misunderstanding.
I did not have the opportunity to listen in to Erik’s handling of business until later that night. When I did I had to laugh and smile in glee…Erik made such wonderful sense to me once again!! In my absense Erik gave me the exact conversation the LIFE RAFT Of understanding I wanted to have!! LISTEN, LAUGH & LEARN!
During the times I was frantically trying to get back on air…Erik said something so brilliant. As only he could. Amazing Poet with “Spectrum Perspective”…
Labels should be taken down a notch in level of importance as far as I’m concerned. Because, they get in the way of people feeling the way they want to feel and saying what they want to say. They disrupt a little bit of the natural flow in life. When you add too much organization and labeling everything you get people that don’t fit in and you get people pushed to the outskirts…..
Succinctly said! WOW…guess we should have technical difficulties more often! Thankyou so much for that my man Erik E!
I hope people will remember that labels are important. We should really only judge calorie content while reading them…lol. Everything else should be fair game. Embrace your labels people. Love what God made in the form of you and your child! You are incredible and unique and loved!