My quibble with this Autism in Adulthood commentary on alternatives to ableist language technically isn’t with the commentary itself, per se, so much as with how “on the spectrum”—a term I dislike—is defined.
In the (just shy of) four years since my diagnosis, I’ve come to eschew the idea of there being a capitalized, singular Autism Spectrum onto which you can place at some specific point any given individual autistic person. Instead, I favor thinking of each autistic person having their own, individual spectrum of autistic features. Think of it like the spectra of individual elements.
You can’t set me down on the continuous spectrum at "violet”, or “orange”. You instead have to think of me as Helium, or Nitrogen. What’s more: one’s individual spectrum of autistic features varies not only over the course of one’s life but sometimes even over the course of a given day.
- “Where are you on the autism spectrum?” is a nonsense question. More reflective of the autistic experience would be, “What’s your autism spectrum?” Not that it can be answered in any sort of concrete sense. It’s just that there isn’t an Objective Spectrum; there are subjective spectrum experiences.