What To Say Instead Of High Functioning Autism?

What To Say Instead Of High Functioning Autism?
What To Say Instead Of High Functioning Autism?

Are you searching for alternative ways to talk about high functioning autism? Well, look no further! In this article, we’ll explore what to say instead of using the term “high functioning autism” and discover more inclusive and person-centered language for discussing this topic.

When it comes to autism, it’s important to choose our words carefully and promote a more understanding and accepting society. In this guide, we’ll offer suggestions for respectful and empowering language that focuses on an individual’s strengths and unique qualities.

So, if you’re ready to learn about more appropriate and inclusive ways to discuss high functioning autism, let’s dive in and explore the power of positive language together!

What to say instead of high functioning autism?

What to Say Instead of High Functioning Autism? Understanding and Supporting Neurodiversity

Neurodiversity is a concept that acknowledges and celebrates the natural variations of the human brain. In recent years, there has been a shift in the way we talk about autism, with the focus moving away from functioning labels such as “high functioning” or “low functioning.” These labels can be misleading and fail to capture the true experiences and abilities of individuals on the autism spectrum. Instead, it is important to use person-first language and focus on supporting and understanding neurodiversity. In this article, we will explore alternative ways to talk about autism that promote inclusivity, respect, and empathy.

Redefining Autism: Embracing Neurodiversity

Autism, like any other neurological difference, exists on a spectrum. While some individuals may require more support in certain areas, it is important to remember that everyone has their strengths and challenges. Instead of using functioning labels that categorize individuals into rigid boxes, we can focus on the unique abilities and perspectives that neurodiverse individuals bring to the table.

By shifting the conversation from a deficit-based approach to an acceptance and appreciation of neurodiversity, we can create a more inclusive and supportive society. Here are some alternative ways to talk about autism:

1. Emphasize Abilities, Not Limitations

Instead of labeling someone as “high functioning” or “low functioning,” focus on their individual strengths and abilities. Recognize and celebrate their unique skills, interests, and talents. By doing so, you are creating an environment that values diversity and promotes self-confidence.

For example, instead of saying “He has high functioning autism,” you can say “He excels in math and has a great attention to detail.” This not only highlights their abilities but also avoids the potential stigma and misconceptions associated with functioning labels.

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Furthermore, when discussing challenges or areas where support may be needed, it is important to approach it with empathy and understanding. Focus on finding solutions and accommodations that allow individuals to thrive, rather than reinforcing stereotypes or limitations.

2. Use Person-First Language

Person-first language places the person before their diagnosis. It recognizes and respects the individuality and humanity of each person. Instead of saying “autistic person,” which defines the person solely by their condition, use phrases such as “person with autism” or “individual on the autism spectrum.”

This simple shift in language can have a powerful impact on how we perceive and interact with individuals. It emphasizes their unique identity and reminds us to see them as whole individuals, rather than reducing them to a diagnosis.

3. Acknowledge and Respect Individual Preferences

Every person, neurodiverse or not, has their own preferences and needs when it comes to communication and support. It is important to listen, learn, and respect these individual preferences. Some individuals may prefer direct and concrete language, while others may appreciate more visual or sensory-based communication.

Take the time to understand and adapt to the communication styles of neurodiverse individuals. By doing so, you are creating an inclusive and respectful environment that values their unique perspectives and experiences.

4. Educate Yourself and Others

Learning about autism and neurodiversity is essential in creating an inclusive and supportive environment. Take the initiative to educate yourself and others about the diverse experiences and abilities of neurodiverse individuals. This can help break down stereotypes, challenge misconceptions, and foster empathy and understanding.

Seek out reputable sources, read personal stories from individuals on the autism spectrum, and engage in meaningful conversations with neurodiverse individuals and their families. By continuously learning and expanding our knowledge, we can create a more inclusive and accepting society.

5. Support and Advocate for Neurodiversity

Beyond using inclusive language, it is important to actively support and advocate for neurodiversity. Take the time to raise awareness about autism, promote inclusivity in schools and workplaces, and advocate for policies and programs that support the needs of neurodiverse individuals.

Ensure that organizations and institutions prioritize accessibility, provide reasonable accommodations, and create a safe and inclusive space for individuals on the autism spectrum. By actively advocating for neurodiversity, you are playing a crucial role in creating a more accepting and supportive society for all.

Creating an Inclusive Society: Our Role in Supporting Neurodiversity

Now more than ever, it is crucial that we embrace and support neurodiversity. By reframing the conversation around autism and using inclusive language, we can create a society that values and uplifts individuals on the autism spectrum. Remember to focus on abilities, use person-first language, respect individual preferences, educate yourself and others, and actively support and advocate for neurodiversity.

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The Power of Language: Promoting Inclusivity and Empathy

Language has the power to shape our perceptions, attitudes, and ultimately, our actions. By choosing our words carefully and promoting inclusive language, we can contribute to a more respectful and understanding society. Let us embrace neurodiversity, celebrate the unique gifts of every individual, and foster a world where everyone is valued, regardless of their neurological differences.

Key Takeaways: What to Say Instead of High Functioning Autism?

  • Call it “Autism Spectrum Disorder” instead of using the term “high functioning autism.”
  • Refer to individuals as “on the autism spectrum” to acknowledge the diverse range of abilities and challenges.
  • Recognize and respect the person’s individual strengths and weaknesses when discussing their autism.
  • Use person-first language, such as “a person with autism,” to emphasize the individual’s identity rather than focusing only on their condition.
  • Be mindful of the language you use and avoid generalizations or stereotypes about autism.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to discussing autism, finding the right words can be important. Here are some helpful questions and answers to guide you in what to say instead of “high functioning autism”.

1. How can I talk about autism without using the term “high functioning autism”?

When discussing autism, it’s more inclusive to focus on individual strengths and challenges rather than using labels like “high functioning autism.” Instead, you can describe someone as having “unique strengths and abilities” or “different ways of thinking and processing information.” By emphasizing the individual’s specific traits, you create a more respectful and person-centered conversation.

Remember, autism is a spectrum, and people can have varying strengths and difficulties in different areas. By avoiding labels and highlighting the uniqueness of each person, we can foster a more inclusive and accepting attitude.

2. What are some alternative ways to describe autism?

When discussing autism, it’s essential to focus on accurate and empathetic language. Instead of using labels like “high functioning autism,” you can describe someone as having “autism spectrum disorder” or simply “autistic.” These terms recognize that autism is a diverse and wide-ranging condition.

In addition, it’s helpful to talk about specific traits or characteristics associated with autism. For example, you can describe someone as having “sensory sensitivities,” “strong attention to detail,” or “excellent problem-solving skills.” This way, you acknowledge the individual strengths and challenges of autistic individuals without resorting to potentially stigmatizing language.

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3. How can I promote understanding and acceptance of autism without using the term “high functioning”?

Language plays a crucial role in promoting understanding and acceptance of autism. Instead of focusing on function levels, it’s more effective to shift the conversation towards embracing neurodiversity. You can talk about how everyone’s brain is wired differently and how this diversity brings unique perspectives and talents to our world.

It’s also important to educate others about the broad spectrum of autism and emphasize that each person’s experience is different. Encourage people to listen to autistic individuals, respect their needs, and provide support based on their individual strengths and challenges. By promoting a culture of acceptance and inclusivity, we create a more supportive environment for everyone.

4. What are some respectful and person-centered ways to talk about autism?

When discussing autism, it’s crucial to use respectful and person-centered language. Instead of using labels like “high functioning autism,” focus on the individual’s unique strengths and challenges. You can talk about their specific interests, talents, or areas where they may need support.

For example, you can say, “This person has a keen interest in trains and has excellent attention to detail,” or “They may need extra support with social interactions but are incredibly creative.” By emphasizing the individual’s abilities and challenges, you create a more inclusive and respectful conversation.

5. How can we encourage positive and inclusive discussions about autism?

To encourage positive and inclusive discussions about autism, it’s important to educate ourselves and others. Learn about the experiences and perspectives of autistic individuals, and share this knowledge with empathy and respect.

Focus on dispelling myths and stereotypes by portraying autism as a diverse and valuable part of our society. Encourage open dialogue, provide platforms for autistic voices to be heard, and advocate for inclusive policies and supports. By working together, we can create a society that celebrates neurodiversity and embraces the strengths and contributions of all individuals.

Why We Should Step Away from Functioning Labels & What to Say Instead, Ep. 36


So, what can we say instead of high functioning autism? It’s important to remember that every person is unique, so it’s best to focus on their strengths and individual qualities. Emphasize their talents and abilities rather than using labels that may not fully capture their capabilities. Instead of saying “high functioning autism,” you can say “a person with a lot of skills” or “someone who has special talents.” Let’s celebrate diversity and appreciate everyone for who they are.


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