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© 2023 by inTune Pathways 

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The great deception of language in Autism

November 22, 2018

Autistics are often asked what makes them autistic.
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This is difficult to answer, in the same way that asking someone how they're NOT autistic might be a discussion difficult to navigate.
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I'm sharing pieces from my own diagnostic report.
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Keep in mind that a diagnosis requires a range of traits, not just one or two & the level associated with a diagnosis is dependent on how much a person's daily life is affected & how much support they require.
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The use of formal & scientific language is quite common for autistics yet can be misleading.
I have a love for language, the way words sound, their origin & how they fit with other words.
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For autistic children, this can be troublesome in the education system. Assumptions are made that higher academic & emotional intelligence accompanies a wider vocabulary range.
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This is problematic.
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Whilst we may possess a wider vocabulary, we can struggle to express & articulate our needs, thoughts & feelings & our emotional regulation is still a challenge.
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On the topic of masking (pretending, hiding our challenges, fitting in), our vocabulary can be an unconscious development from our brain's problem solving attempts to disguise our difference and protect us, but it is not to be confused with expressive language.
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Many judge our speaking/writing as gifted & insightful, therefore judge our entire development as advanced.
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The mistake is made that if we appear intelligent by sound & sight, we cannot be autistic.
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This ties in with our rigid understandings of what autism actually is & how it presents in many different forms across different people.
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Having my use of language listed as a clue that I might be autistic in an assessment shows progress in the way we assess.
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And yes, I do offer information about myself & my experiences without being asked..
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Voila!
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I do this as a means of connecting with others, yet it can be viewed as being associated with the traditional translation of 'autistic'-"of the self".
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We're also taught that asking others questions about themselves can be inappropriate. So, we lead the way by tuning in to others and offering information about ourselves in order to initiate connection.
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