Autism Awareness versus Autism Acceptance

This infographic is a summary of how the language used in the push for “Autism Awareness” contributes to the negative dialogue around Autism, and how the move toward ACCEPTANCE of Autism counters that.

I am happy for people to share the image, but please credit me and link back to this article, or to my Facebook page when you do. If you wish to print the image or otherwise reproduce it for your own use, please click here for access to the downloadable PDFs.

The is an image description following the image.

Image title: Autism Awareness versus Autism Acceptance 

Copyright statement:

©Michelle Sutton * *Please credit when sharing *Do not reproduce without written permission

On the left in a blue box a group of words titled “Words typically used when people are aware of Autism“. The words in the box are: epidemic, struggling, symptoms, lost, syndrome, behaviour, deficit, disorder, tragedy, tantrums, suffering, challenging, therapy, burden, cure, hopeless, treatment, puzzle, compliance.

On the right in a green box a group of words titled “Words typically used when Autistic people are accepted“. The words in the box are: diversity, support, value, community, strengths, belong, identity, achieve, accommodations, competence, advocacy, self care, love, celebrate, unique, understand, worth, goals, respect.

A question at the bottom of the page reads “Which words do you use when speaking about Autistic people?”


2 thoughts on “Autism Awareness versus Autism Acceptance

  1. Uncle Jamie says:

    Could you please add the word “condition” to the acceptance box?

    I made very sure that my diagnosis was written as “Autism Spectrum Condition” and not “Autism Spectrum Disorder” since the former is an neutral word that reflects both the positives and negatives of the condition while the latter is clearly negative in outlook. Also, as a diligently-tidy visual-thinker the word “disorder” makes me feel that I am disordered in some way, and then this makes me feel that I have to tidy myself up somehow.

    Thanks for your efforts on this issue though, it really is much appreciated.


  2. privatepersonblog says:

    Disorder, Condition, Disposition;
    I find the first has a derogatory connotation,

    the second has a medical overtone,

    whilst I’ve come to prefer Disposition as it is not value laden but relates to a person usual temperament.

    It reflects the innate nature of Autism rather than appealing to an external referential.

    Possibly clumsily put, but that in itself reflects the difficulty with finding appropriate language by using terminologies coined by a non-autistic culture.

    Language, concepts and culture are intertwined.

    We, autistics are in process of forming our own cultural appropriate language.


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