Friday, March 08, 2019

The A Word

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When you hear the phrase "The A Word," what comes to mind? Let's take a closer look at how people view autism as a negative thing, equivalent to some kind of swear word.

Okay, it's no secret that tons of people have a negative view of autism and I truly think it comes down to ignorance. People just don't have a good understanding of what autism actually is or they simply still believe some of these persistent autism myths, unfortunately.

And as a parent of an autistic child, it's frustrating and heart-breaking to see what my son is going to be up against for his entire life. Especially after a recent encounter, which I'm going to share below.

Please note that this post was originally shared on my Instagram account on January 21st, 2019, but I decided that it needed a permanent home on my blog too. Especially with autism awareness acceptance month coming up.

A close look at how people view autism negatively and treat it like it's some kind of swear word

The A Word

A month ago we attended a Christmas party, just my husband and myself, where we ended up having an interesting conversation with another couple. A conversation that I can't seem to shake from my head, even a month later. Not because it was particularly bad, but it was shocking to me nonetheless.

We started talking about school and teachers, etc., as you do when you don't know too much about a person and/or their interests. You know, small talk as parents.

The man said casually that a previous teacher had brought up, "The A Word."

Yes, that is word for word what he said.

At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. In my head, I'm like, "The A word??" and start scanning through all the list of swear words...because all the words you shouldn't speak are always referred to as "the _ word" right?

Then a few sentences later..."There's no way she's autistic!"

Annnnnd there it is.

He was referring to autism when he said "the A word."

I never made the association between "the A word" and autism right off the bat when he mentioned it because, to me, autism isn't some big thing to be scared of or afraid of. It's not some bad word that needs to be hushed and treated like some kind of swear word. The notion just seems utterly ridiculous to me. And maybe that's because I blog about autism and share about autism. I don't know...But even my husband was confused by this man's phrasing.

But the thing is...many people do see autism as a negative. There's a stigma attached to the label, unfortunately.

That needs to change. Plain and simple.

Autism should never EVER be equated to some swear word.

Sure raising an autistic child can be tough, but so can raising any tiny human.

Other Autism Posts You'll Love

Why I'm Thankful for my Son's Autism Diagnosis

What I Want my Autistic Child to Know

8 Myths About Autism

A close look at how people view autism negatively and treat it like it's some kind of swear word