NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

While reading through NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman I come across a section where he talks about a group of people with autism, who like people in the deaf community, want to be identified as being autistic instead of being called people with autism, because autism is not something that one should be ashamed about, nor something that you can separate from a person. They want autism to be seen as something that is a strength and not a deficit.

This idea brought me back to when I was training to be a library technician. We were told that a person is always a person first. They are not their disability. There for we should say: a person who is blind, not a blind person; a person with diabetes, not a diabetic; etc.

Reading about the autistic people in Silberman’s book made me rethink how we should approach how we refer to people. Is it really possible for a person to be separated from their disability? If we call someone a blind person or a diabetic or autistic are we really implying that they are only their disability or medical condition?

I do not have the answers to this questions they are only thoughts, but they are something as librarians and a as society as a whole need to consider.

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