Before beginning this segment I want to address one issue. These terminologies and languages are generally what is preferred by the autistic community. It is not always what is taught in education for people like teachers. It also may not be the language that is preferred by every autistic person. If you are unsure ask the person you are talking to what kind of language they prefer. 

Important Terms and Words

Autism Spectrum - The official term for autism. Autism spectrum disorder. This spectrum is referring to the wide variation of experiences caused by autism. Specifically the neurological disabilities that an occur. 

Sensory Processing - This is a subconscious neurological process. You receive sensory information from your brain and you process, organize and respond to that stimuli. This effects all of your senses. Sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste, vestibular, and proprioception. 

Vestibular System - Otherwise known as the sensory system. This is the system that gives balance and spacial awareness. This is what allows us to coordinate movement. The receptors for this system are fond in the inner ear. 

Proprioception - This is otherwise known as body awareness. An awareness of internal bodily experiences like pain and hunger. 

Sensory Overload - When there is too much sensory stimuli going into someones brain they may sensory overload. They are unable to fully process information and so their brain just stops processing. Sometimes refereed to as a meltdown.

Sensory Diet - A sensory diet is a reasonably new term. This refers to a practice of planning out your sensory needs with an occupational therapist. From planing in time for specific sensory activities to planning what items you may need to bring for every day overwhelming stimuli.

Stimming - This is a behavior that is often repetitive. It is used to alleviate stress and often happens when autistic people are overwhelmed. It is however, found in many neurotypical people as well. Some examples of this behavior are clapping, pacing, rocking back and forth, or chewing on items. 

Echolalia - This is a stimming behavior that is known for repetitive sounds, words or phrases. This can be due to multiple factors from the way the word sounds or the way the sounds make your mouth feel. 

Neurotypical (NT) - This term is generally used a lot in the autistic community. It refers to someone who is not autistic or doesn't have any other atypical brain functions. Generally referred to as the "normal" brain. At least from a neurological perspective. 

Disability Language

One of the most common points of conflict autistic people have with the way they are addressed is in the language that has been used for a long time. While things change overtime it can take a long time for people to adjust and sometimes the language just doesn't change. Even if the autistic community at large is ask for it

Person First Language (Person WITH Autism) - Many people feel that this phrasing is not correct. The conversation around this revolves around two main points. The idea autism is some kind of tragedy or disease that should be removed. Such as when people say person with cancer. Then there is the idea that by saying person WITH autism you are not allowing the person to affirm themselves. For many autism is just as important to their identity as their gender and race. They see it as saying a person with whiteness if you use person first language. It is not something that is just attached itself to you. It is a part of who you are. 

Identity First Language (Autistic Person) - While for years we have been taught not to say this it is often what the autistic community prefers. They find it to be empowering. You are acknowledging their ability to grow change and affirm themselves as autistic. This person is different and it's not a bad thing. It is something to embrace and not see as lesser or shameful. 

Ableism - Ableism is a very real issue faced by anyone who is not neurotypical. Ableism is the discrimination and prejudice against anyone who has disabilities, specifically because they are believed to be lesser than a neurotypical person. This phrase generally comes from the mindset that disabled people are broken in some way and need to be fixed. 

Internal Ableism - This is when a disabled person discriminates against disabled people in favor of those who are able bodied.

Disabilities - It is generally not preferred to use terms such as afflicted with, suffers from or victim of when referring to a persons disability. One of example of this would be wheelchairs. A wheelchair user may not be fond of wording like confined or bound to a wheelchair. This makes it sound like a negative when it is not, the wheelchair is a very positive tool that allows them to go out in the world. The term disabled is also often debated on. Many people chose to use terms like special needs it has even become ingrained into society at this point as it is a term often used in movies, television, social media and even some teachers are using it.  For many people this wording gives the idea that disabled is some sort of taboo or bad word. 

Invisible Disabilities - It is important to recognize that not every disability is visible. Some disabilities are also not a constant. For example there are many people that may be capable of walking but do still need the aid of a wheelchair. In fact 96% of people living with a chronic condition are considered to be in the category of invisible disability.