What is autism? Autism Definition

Autistic Voices Education’s 3-Part Definition of Autism

Autism Family Help and Support

There are many definitions of autism, and it is difficult to pinpoint one as exactly correct. At AuEdu we have a 3-Part Definition:

  • Autism is a naturally occurring neurological condition that causes people to sense, perceive, and experience life in a different way than people who aren’t autistic
  • Being autistic is an integral part of a person
  • Autism is a disability according to the social model of disability

This definition is not complete and might change in the future. While AuEdu’s definition is unique in its wording and format, it is not unique in the basic ideas it expresses, and is similar to the definitions by other autistic advocates.

How do you know you’re autistic?

Autistic people show lots of autistic traits.

Autistics, like all people, are unique. But our neurology (the way our brain is wired) causes us to share similar characteristics and traits. 

Autistic traits are commonly called symptoms. Calling them symptoms, however, makes it seem like they’re bad.

Autistic traits are not inherently bad OR good. They can be either, or neither. We choose to call them traits in order to show this.

But wait – some people’s autistic traits do have negative, harmful, or unpleasant expressions. We don’t mean to discount that at all.

However, when we call these symptoms, our brains talk about treatments and cures. When we call them traits, the language then becomes understanding and support. Understanding and support are the best foundation from which to make parenting decisions about how to best help a kid with a lot of support needs.

Author: Rosemary Bloom

Scientist, artist, Earth child, and a fire breathing dragon. I share photographs of adventure, muse about Spaceship Earth, ponder thoughts deep and small.