When People Use Autism as an Insult, Here’s How to Combat It

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Nathan, an autism vlogger, makes videos on his YouTube channel, Autism ACTUALLY Speaking, to tell people more about himself as a person with autism and to spread autism awareness and positivity. He has a unique way of looking at the world that more of us should probably get on board with, and the point he makes in this video is no exception.

Nathan remembers the first time he heard the word “autism” used as an insult. The interesting thing about this moment for him, however, was that he didn’t see “autistic” as an inherently insulting thing to call someone. And perhaps you shouldn’t either.

Photo: YouTube/Autism ACTUALLY Speaks

Photo: YouTube/Autism ACTUALLY Speaks

Don’t get him wrong—the use of autism as an insult is definitely a real problem, he says. But perhaps the issue is less about bullies and other misguided individuals saying it as an insult and more about society as a whole believing it is an insult.

Photo: YouTube/Autism ACTUALLY Speaks

Photo: YouTube/Autism ACTUALLY Speaks

That’s right. The real problem here is that our entire society sees autism as the “other.” Part of this is natural, because disorders and disabilities are out of the norm. But there are also plenty of other things that are out of the norm, such as special talents, that we value and consider good things; therefore, they don’t fit into our insulting “other” category. Maybe it’s time to realize that autism shouldn’t fit there either.

So what exactly is the solution to this problem? Nathan sums it up perfectly in the video below.

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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