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Has Autism or Is Autistic?

Does Ryan have Autism, or is Ryan Autistic? That is the question.  Having Autism suggests an illness, something that can be medicated or even cured. Having Autism indicates an illness or condition that has occurred during Ryan’s life or something he has caught.

A friend has depression. She wasn’t born with it. It is something that has occurred and she takes medication to help manage her condition.  Dadi Skilts has Type 1 Diabetes. He wasn’t born with it; it is a condition that developed when he was 30 and he takes medication to manage his condition.

Now I would not say my friend is depressive, but I would say Dadi Skilts is diabetic and I would say and do say Ryan is Autistic.  I absolutely believe Ryan was born Autistic, it is not something that developed after he was born, which is why I choose to say Ryan is Autistic.  It is part of him, part of his ‘make-up’, part of who he is just as his brown hair or blue eyes, or being right or left-handed. 

The reason I say Dadi Skilts is Diabetic is that it has changed his make-up. It can’t be cured; it is now part of who he is. Those that have type 2 diabetes are different though because it can generally be cured with very careful management of diet and/or tablets.

Another question: Does one suffer from autism? Ryan finds life exceptionally difficult to cope with, he has certainly suffered from discrimination, bullying and abuse; but don’t we all suffer at some point in our lives?  I have Hypermobility syndrome. I have suffered and do suffer greatly from pain, injury and the abuse, bullying and disbelief that it is even a real problem/condition.  My friend I am sure would agree that she suffers from her depression. It can be truly debilitating and she has suffered dreadfully from stigma and ignorance of the condition.

From Ryan

Either sentence would work for me. It doesn’t bother me at all which either one is used to describe me. Do I suffer though? No. It is not a suffering. I don’t generally tell people about my Autism, because they don’t need to know, but if they want to know I will tell them. I didn’t know my friend was Jewish until we took him to McDonald's and he said he couldn’t eat pork. 


  1. Interesting concept well explained

    1. I am so sorry I did not reply to your comment I have only seen it today for the first time. Thank you for your kind words. As always, I love Ryan's perspective on the topic.

  2. I like your essay. My kid has Autism because I don't want to have him think he can't overcome some of the challenges. Unlike my son is 5'2". Can't be overcome. He would always be 5'2". Although my son will always have autism, it doesn't make him who he is. But it is a good discussion topic.

    1. Thank you Holly for taking the time to read our blog and comments are always welcome. My own argument is flawed as I would say Ryan has blue eyes or brown hair and they are as much genetis as has autism. The aim of our blog is to get people talking about the subject and raising awareness. Thank you for joining our journey. x

  3. I heard this on the bus the other day: "He has autism" - like it's some kind of disease. Maybe I've made the same mistake when describing my brother, but fact is, he is autistic, extremely so, and if it is a disease, it is incurable. But is it such a burden? A friend of mine has 4 kids, Fragile X, ADD, ADHD, behavioral disorders, autistic, aspergers, you name it, one or more of them have it. Do they "suffer" for it? No. One is a very popular and very talented singer/songwriter. Another is showing signs of being a talented artist. Another of being an actor or performer. They are the cutest kids I've ever met being brought up by a mum whose had all of what you've had with the authorities including the threat of having one or more taken off of her for being a "bad mother". She is successfully home schooling two of them and after being subjected to poor education in the mainstream, including being bullied, they are happy kids. Suffering? I think not. In fact, it's probably about time we started seeing those that are autistic as not "abnormal" but as people who fit into society in different way - they have just as much to give if not more - it's just that they don't fit into society in the way that others may see it. (Fiona Caroline Messenger)

    1. What an fantastic comment Fiona, thank you. Really interesting thoughts and I absolutely agree everyone is different and fits into society in their own ways. Thank you for sharing your story.


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