Autistic, Allistic, Neurodiverse, and Neurotypical: Say what?
Hi all and welcome back to an everyday life of an Aspie. If you’re new I welcome you all. I’m Aspie and I’m all about creating mental health and awareness and sharing my life story with Aspergers Syndrome and the like along with advocating, educating you all based on this and more.
So, it has been bought to my attention right now as read Autistic, Allistic, Neurodivergent- Say What?!! as a topic today. I wanna address to you right now, because obviously at this point of time, many of us Autistics get labelled as different things as well as normal people out there that doesn’t have Autism. And, I wanna hopefully just clarify up a bit so that hopefully in saying this that we don’t get any confusion or misunderstandings between the autistic community and the community out there that ain’t autistic. So, that hopefully, we can respect one another’s differences of opinions. So, as we know basically, like now and again we tend to question ourselves what’s the right way to address ourselves and the Autistic community right? I’m sure that many of us autistics have that same sorta question to ask ourselves as well as maybe just you normal people around us when it comes down to it. I want to like I said hopefully that in hope we can be familiar with all this because there has been a lot of questions raising above this like terminology that gets so confusing once in a while, here say as well by it all. So, perhaps like I said it’s about time, I’ll address it to you guys that are new or has been with me, journeying with me so that we can just accept one another’s differences of opinion hopefully, here say as well. Assuming at this point, while you’ve been journeying with me however, that you should know the term, so well about Autistic that has come out, what it means in a general way for people on there as well as the terminology Autism Spectrum Disorder that I clearly address- What is Autism Spectrum Disorder which will be linked above me while you’re doing this. So, feel free to click that before continuing on watching this if you wish.
Yet, some of you guys not all of you guys, I am not going to prejudge yas may still have bascially or hold some form of misconception about the everyday life of an autistic, you know – how they live their life and how they may label it but it’s all in due course we’re in the learning process together- be it Autistic or not, here say I reckon. You may have heard many of us Autistics or have been reading/watching some Autistics voices either here on the blog I have got also on WordPress or even just maybe through YouTube if you’re know some that are supporting and admiring right now. I’m just hoping right now, hopefully just while teaching you or educating you today we can learn from it and also in saying this that it will matter. Because, obviously many people may say, “Say what, Kerrin!” or shall we say, “Say what, Aspie?Are you nuts right now? Who cares! You’re the only one that cares about it and that I hear about it by many people saying to me time and time again via out on the street or while I get some of the comments listed below. As you’re aware that Ihave been using the terminology or word Neurotypical or as it is abbreviated down to NT.Which stands for neurology Typical or NeuroTypical depending on what context that you’re using it in- past or present here say. Which is a neologism that has been widely used in the Autistic community for quite sometime now as a label for people who are not high on the autism spectrum here say. And just to bear note also, I am now trying to consider after doing my research that I’m hoping to address to you all even though it’s running of late about basically autism and camouflaging.
Autism Spectrum Condition to be used so that we can hope for the best we don’t offend anyone that feels of any Autistics out there of that word “disorder” to the point where they may offended or rattle some feathers. So, forgive me on this one but back to this one now though. So, for this, NT in its original usage, usually it is referred to certain person obviously with not Autism or what have you. Right? So, you are probably thinking well what’s the case here? Because obviously in saying this its original usage was basically referred to anyone who is not autistic or a cousin with an autistic like trait or autistic like brain however in this case. But, this being said is the latter.
Coming into the neurodiversity movement, there are some terms that a new person might not be familiar with. I’ve been seeing a lot of questions about some of them,
and some misunderstandings about them as well, so it is perhaps time for writing something on these terms.
If you are reading this blog, I’m assuming that you know what Autistic means in a general way. Some of you might still hold some misconceptions about autistic life,
but I believe that to be a part of the learning process. You are reading Autistic voices either here or on the blogs of other Autistics, hopefully learning from it,
and that is what matters.
Neurotypical or NT, an abbreviation of neurologically typical, is a neologism widely used in the autistic community as a label for people who are not high on
the autism spectrum. In its original usage, it referred to anyone who is not autistic or a ‘cousin’ with an ‘autistic-like’ brain;[he term was later
narrowed to refer to those with strictly typical neurology, that is, without a defined neurological difference.
In other words, this refers to anyone who does not have any developmental disabilities such as autism, developmental coordination disorder,
‘or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The term was later adopted by both the neurodiversity movement and the scientific community.
In recent times, people with any sort of mental disability, whether congenital or acquired, have also sometimes been excluded from the neurotypical label.
In this sense, the term is now contrasted to neurodivergent, ND, or neuroatypical, an umbrella term inclusive of people with diverse mental and behavioral
disorders, such as mood, anxiety, dissociate, psychotic, personality, and eating disorders. The conditions themselves, following the neurodiversity
and social construction of disability models and in distance from the hegemonic medical model of disability (otherwise known in the neurodiversity community
as the “pathology paradigm”), are often referred to as neurodivergences—that is, neurotypes that are divergent from a given social and medical norm.
Neurotypical, as a specific term for its original purpose within autistic communities, has been replaced by some with allistic, or “nypical”,
which has roughly the same meaning that “neurotypical” had originally. These terms refer to those who are not autistic and who do not possess another
pervasive developmental disorder, even if they may be neurologically atypical in some other way, such as having dyslexia.
The National Autistic Society of the United Kingdom recommends the use of the term “neurotypical” in its advice to journalists
You’ll notice that I use “autistic” rather than “person with autism” throughout. This is intentional. The basic idea is that my being is autistic-
the patterns my brain form thoughts in, the essentials of the way I perceive and learn from the world are autistic. Autisticness is, for me
and many others, an essential part of what makes me, me. It is who and what I am as a whole. It is as I’ve shared so many times before known as the difference of wiring in the brain and how I connect to the world as well as seeing it as a different pair of eyes to you guys. As you know, I’ve used term Aspie alot in most of my writings as well as through my videos. I am a person with Aspergers Syndrome. On the other hand,
saying I am “with” autism denies this reality.
There are many brilliant writers who have addressed Autistic vs person first language in more depth. Jim Sinclair, one of the Autistic community’s elders,
wrote a piece in 1999 on the issue which you can read on Cafe Mom. Many others have echoed and expanded upon Jim’s thoughts since then. Lydia over at
Autistic Hoya has written a number of posts on identity first language vs person first, including “The Significance of Semantics: Person-First Language:
Why It Matters” which ends with a list of links to other writers on the issue.
Some people’s constructions of how they phrase their identity are very personal, others political, and a good number both.
I have a mixture of phrasing for myself. My own preferred construction is “
Allistic, on the other hand, means “non-autistic.” (Some people use “neurotypical” this way, but I”ll get to why I disagree with that usage in a moment.)
That is all it means. It doesn’t mean someone is intrinsically better or worse, and it doesn’t indicate ally-hood or opponent-hood.
\It just means that someone is not autistic.
Allistic is a term that members of the autistic community came up with. While the earliest mention I can find (Zefram, Fysh.org, 2003)
is constructed to work in a parody, the word construction makes a lot of sense. So much so, in fact, that Zefram’s work isn’t known to many community
members now using the term. In Zefram’s postscript, it is explained that the construction is based on the way that the word “autistic” is constructed:
The word “allism”, invented for this article, is intended to precisely complement “autism”.
It is based on the Greek word “allos”, meaning “other”, just as “autos” (in “autism”) means
This explanation of “allistic”‘s construction continues to be in use. As some might note, the relative constructions of “autistic”
and “allistic” are not dissimilar to the relationship between the words “transgender” and “cisgender.” Even if the alternative was developed to suit
the needs of politically charged parody, allistic is linguistically a more accurate term than some of the alternatives.
Neurotypical is often used interchangeable with allistic, but I would argue that it isn’t actually interchangeable. Neurotypical is short for
“neurologically typical”- within the typical range for human neurology. Obviously it wouldn’t make sense to say that someone with definitively atypical
neurology was neurologically typical just because their atypicality wasn’t that they autistic. Indeed, the Neurotypical/neurodiverse terminology has been adopted
by certain segments of the Mental Health consumers/survivors communities for this very reason.
On-going usage aside, from what I recall the initial usage was one that is synonymous with the current “allistic.” However, between the acceptance of autistic
cousins (those who aren’t autistic but who have similarities, including those with ADHD) and the penetration of the term beyond the initial communities it swiftly
became used more diversely. Eventually, the more diverse (and in my mind accurate) usage meant that a more accurate term for non-autistic was needed.
(Which brings us back to Allistic!)
Neurodiverse can have two meanings depending on what it is talking about. When referring to individuals, it simply means that the individual(s)
in question have neurologies that are neurologically atypical. AKA, that they aren’t neurotypical. Generally speaking this usage is not used to just
talk about Autistics, but is inclusive of other people whose neurology is atypical.
When discussing a population sample, though, it can mean that the neurologies represented are diverse. In this usage, the people in question include
more than one type of neurology, and may even include members with individually typical neurology in some instances. This is the less common of the two usages
that I’ve seen, though.
I hope that this was useful. For those interested in more information about the origins of certain aspects of autistic culture, I recommend you read
Jim Sinclair’s History of ANI, which documents the early days of the autistic culture movement through the establishment of Autreat.