Monday, August 4, 2008

Autism and Disability

The statement that autism is a disability can stir controversy, all the more so because the grammar of the word disability is itself imprecise. That imprecision notwithstanding, let me offer two observations I think shed some light on the subject:

  • There are many autistic individuals who are not, have not been, and will not ever be disabled.
  • There are many autistic individuals who are currently, have been in the past, and/or will be in the future disabled.

Those two assertions suggest that discussing the concept of autism alongside the concept of disability makes perfectly good sense, but that predicating the concept of autism with the concept of disability is far less precise—if not downright fallacious. We do not know what produces disability in certain autistic individuals—attributing that outcome to autism itself is only an assumption, and in my eyes, not a very good one.

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