Ahhh, labels. It’s a messy subject. Recently, I wrote a blog post about liking my labels. I have also written one about how functioning labels are bullshit. This has confused people, because some people see it as embracing my labels one week and rejecting them another.
Labels are useful when they define me. Labels are not useful when they help others define me. For example, I choose autistic and Hufflepuff. They’re very much who I am. They’re a part of my core, a part of my operating system that cannot be changed. I embrace them because they help me declare who I am.
Functioning labels help others define me. High functioning, low functioning, severe autism, mild autism – they’re all just words other use. Sometimes to deny me services – since I can “coast along” and get by, I am denied supports and help I need. They are used to commit insurance fraud and get children ABA, which is abusive. ABA is not acceptable, and it is why many people use functioning labels.
By calling my autism mild, by saying I am high functioning, you are not only insulting other people on the spectrum, you are insulting me. You are feeding me into ableist constructs. You are attempting to silence me, by saying my voice and my story does not matter. Even though many days, I am not capable to use the stove alone. Sometimes, I’m not capable of leaving the apartment alone. Some days, I cannot talk. Some days, I can. Some days I just sit and stim quietly all day. Other days, my mouth runs a million miles a minute. I am not just on one static place by being autistic. I am many places.