I don’t have autism. It is not an accessory I carry with me, nor can I set it down and leave it somewhere.
I’m not a person with autism, like those old t-shirts in the 90’s that said, “I’m with st*pid” and had the arrow pointing sideways. Ha freaking ha.
I’m not “on the spectrum” either. Which spectrum? Where? Is that like “on the sauce?” Can’t be, can it? Not with children involved! Won’t anyone think of the children??
I am not an ASD adult.
I’m not AA, either. (That one has popped up fairly recently in online communities as being short for Actually Autistic and/or Autistic Adult, or Autistic Advocate, depending on who you ask. However I’m not sure folks looked too far into that before they ran with it or they would’ve discovered that the organization Alcoholics Anonymous had already been using AA for decades before the Autistic movement came along. Literal decades.)
I’m Autistic. It is a huge part of my identity because it affects everything there is about me, from the clothes I wear to the socks I don’t. What foods I like and what makes me gag, what music moves my soul and what makes me cry out for ear defenses, what films I’ll watch on repeat for weeks on end. It’s how I move my body, how I think, and process my senses. It affects how I speak. And how I don’t.
Every part of my existence is Autistic.
People like to point out other identities/titles Autistics might use, as a way to show us that we’re so much more than our autism. That it doesn’t define us. Because we’re people, first.
To that I will say:
Yes, of course I’m a person. (I find it odd that you feel a need to remind yourself so often.) I’m an Autistic person. Remind yourself of THAT.
I’m a parent, too. An Autistic parent. (Not to be confused with neurotypical “Autism Parents,” but that’s a whole other post, really.)
I’m a sibling, I’m someone’s (almost 40yo) child, I’m a writer, I’m an advocate. I’m disabled. I’m a wheelchair-using master of metaphorical three-ring circuses. I’m Vice President of a non-profit that’s run solely by Autistics, for Autistics. I’m a whole heck of a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You could say I “wear a lot of hats,” if you were a person who uses such turns of phrase. But the fact of the matter remains: every single one of those “hats” rests on a head that holds an Autistic brain.
A-U-T-I-S-T-I-C. Au-tis-tic. Autistic. It’s not a bad word, people! Use it!! Get used to using it! Stop minimizing people’s existences with euphemisms and abbreviations.