Nobody knew how to label my child and, surprise, almost ten years later they still don't. But as a parent I was fully expected to embrace functional labels in order to get supports for my child.
My child was nonspeaking at that time and had issues around self-harm and sensory integration. #ActuallyAustistic
Abuse and dehumanization are so easy when this dichotomy is established.
As #ActuallyAutistic adults we encounter this frequently, often daily.
NTs tell "high-functioning" people not to speak bc they are "high-functioning", while "low-functioning" people are assumed to have no agency.
This is disempowerment.
Expressive speech is a prime component of how NTs evaluate a person on the spectrum - in terms of labels and more. #ActuallyAustistic
In other words, a nonspeaking or atypically speaking #ActuallyAustistic person will often be dehumanized.
In a new setting (new school), people begin by not believing that he speaks.
"We will teach him to use PECs!" (pictures) - I tell them he used PECs in pre-K when nonverbal and did great. He does not like it now.
Next, NTs say --
the assumption is that the kid does not communicate at all.#ActuallyAustistic
Communicating is scary and these NTs are new. #ActuallyAutistic
But it's assumed that he does not know how. Or that he can't.
One is assumed either "high-functioning" (communicates, has agency) or "low-functioning". #ActuallyAustistic
Thanks for reading.