Autism is an important part of who our son is, it’s not something he has. While I respect the person first language, it feels more natural to me to use identity first language. Personally I find saying “autistic person” suggests it’s an important part of his being, rather than “a person with autism” that suggests he has a problem that needs to be fixed. In all honesty, I don’t overthink it and occasionally use the terms interchangeably. Once he is able to state his preference, I will follow his lead.
When officially diagnosed by specialists in 2017 his diagnosis was “Autism Spectrum Disorder accompanied by language impairment requiring very substantial support (Severe) for social communication and very substantial support (Severe) for restricted repetitive behaviors.”
Though he has grown substantially over the years, I would say this diagnosis still stands.
The most recognized symbol for autism is the puzzle piece. This never resonated with me because I have never seen my son as a puzzle, I’ve always felt quite connected to him and think I understand him relatively well.
When I was creating my website I had the help of Millson + Main who suggested the infinity symbol. We agreed that it is a more hopeful and optimistic representation of what autism means. I truly believe if we can meet people where they are, and do our best to help them grow, their potential is infinite.
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Autism is a complicated diagnosis that only a specialist can give. If you’re concerned about your child, here are some of the less obvious signs that you may want to investigate further.