I Have Autism and I Need Your Help: Labels
As some of you may know, we are fortunate enough to be able to post the "I Have Autism and I Need Your Help" series to our blog. The series "aims to draw out the voice of autism – Erik’s perspective – and to interpret and teach – Teresa’s voice. the articles move from general to specific and offer strategies for building resilience and supporting autism."
In this installment, we discuss the topic of labels. Labels can be harmful, even destructive. Why? Because as people we too often reduce what is a complex human being with a variety of different thoughts, feelings, and insecurities to something much simpler. A label is one dimensional, and people are not. They are blanket statements that paint too broad a stroke to encompass the multitude of personal experiences that every individual on this planet goes through and has gone through.
This is why, when you call someone autistic, rather than a person with autism, it implies that autism overrides almost every other characteristic that that person has as a human. This is unfair. Nobody wants to be put into a box, much less seen through such a narrow lens.
“Autism does not define me, it is up to me to define me” – Erik Hedley
Below is a video in which Erik invites you to see his perspective (and his shoes) and how he defines himself as a multi-faceted person. Enjoy!
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