‘Stop Saying The R-word’
“I have autism. It’s a very mild form of autism, but enough to have had a large portion of my early childhood spent in special education. I always remember moving back and forth between the room in my elementary school where the special education occurred and the classroom where all the other “normal” kids were. And a lot of times when I was with a lot of different people, I always felt embarrassed. Not as much for things I did, but for who I am. I felt embarrassed for being. I remember distinctly how much effort I felt I had to apply to understand social situations and condition myself and some of my quirks just to not need intensive special education anymore. But even today, I still feel like even if I live life how I normally have, I will always know that I’m different.
I understand, at least in the interactions between friends that I overhear, people often use the word as a synonym for “stupid” or “dumb” or “slow” or to describe actions that aren’t the smartest and likening it to the level of someone not neurotypical…But it hasn’t become desensitized to me, and using the word always takes me back to the idea that I’m different.
First, as I said earlier, I have a very mild case of autism, so I don’t want to try and make any of my personal experiences with autism a universal representation of everybody with ASD. It’s a spectrum. And secondly, as someone that is on this spectrum, I encourage you, please stop using the r-word.”
Josiah JonesRead the full article