One of the many topics that come up in social media groups is how people want to be identified as when it comes to their diagnoses. That is to be an Autistic person or a person with Autism. While the majority of the special needs population considers using the person first language is best, the thoughts within a decent amount of individuals on the Spectrum is to have the diagnosis first. It personally does not matter on an individual level which one someone chooses to prefer, but what message are you sending people unaware of your condition.
Saying that you are Autistic falsely puts people on the edge of their seat, since most people envision the worst about this different-order. It can also put yourself at a disadvantage to being the best you can be in this life. Ever hear of the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Well it says if you think about something so hard and so long, it will be so. So how will someone ever realize their full potential if they want their deficits to be in the forefront of who they are in life. This is not to say that their are not positives to being a person the Autism Spectrum, there are. I still have this issue of saying "Why try this or that, your Autistic." at times in my life and guess what, those are the times I will not even try because I do not think I can change. That the process will always repeat itself and it does because I am too afraid to even try. However the times I just push through end up being some of the best things that have happened in my life.
I like to be referred as a person with Autism. This is because even though being an individual on the Spectrum, many of my feats in life are more important to my character as a person than something that was a diagnose that I got sixteen years ago. So with all that time has passed and all the work I have put in gets diminished the second someone hears that of my diagnose and fail to see the person I am and who I have become in my short life. I am so much more than a diagnosis. I am: highly educated (3 hrs away from Masters degree); a member of a lifetime fraternity of brothers that I could trust with my life; a certified personal trainer; a certified scuba diver (though I might need a touch up class if I want to go in the future); well traveled;a movie and TV show connoisseur; a countless varsity Letterman in high school sports (track, football, soccer, and swimming), and a scarred and tatted up person that can the history behind all of them. Out of all of these things, being a person with Autism falls way down on the list. Thinking about having this different-order would not have allowed me to find who I truly am.
When it is all said and done for me in this life, I will not be known just as that Autistic person but as this person that did so many things despite his starting diagnosis.
Mark Fleming- Person on the Autism Spectrum