The Mighty Logo

Imagine If the Doctor Said One of These 14 Words Instead of 'Autism'

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Autism. The word strikes fear in the hearts of parents. But bear with me if you will. Imagine you go into an office concerned about your child. He/she seems a little different from other children. After three hours, the doctor comes back with a sorrowful look on their face and says:

“Miss/Mister (your last name), I have some unfortunate news for you. Your child has been diagnosed with… ”

Add any of the below:

1. Being different

2. Creativity

3. Uniqueness

4. Stubbornness

5. Focus

6. Energy

7. Imagination

8. Organization

9. Logic

10. Practicality

11. Honesty

12. Strangeness

13. Abnormality

14. Resourcefulness

Now what do you think? Because each one describes people on the autism spectrum all over the world.

Not to belittle the struggles people with autism face living in a neurotypical world, but they can live happy lives. They can live productive lives. People with autism have friendships, degrees, jobs, spouses, sex and children.

This isn’t my first rodeo. A year and a half ago my sweet Buggy was diagnosed. And I was terrified. They made me think my child would have no future.

But just because something isn’t typical doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

Please, my friends and readers, hear this — there is something you must learn this autism awareness month: Autism isn’t a sentence to a bad life, it’s a different path to a good one.

Every single autistic adult I have ever talked to will tell you they wouldn’t change anything about who they are. They don’t want a cure. They don’t want to be fixed. They’re fine. There are hard things in their life but every diamond is formed under pressure. This is what you can expect of your child.

My sons, K and Buggy, both have autism.

Let’s give children and adults with autism support to be the best they can be. Let’s help them reach their full potential, as aided by their autism. Let’s accommodate sensory needs, support development and be cheerleaders.

Maybe their life will be completely conventional, “normal” as we like to call it, with just a few quirks. Maybe they will need help caring for themselves. But I guarantee autism will not limit the most important things life holds.

These things are:


True Friendship



And really, what else is there?

Autism is always seen as a negative, but look into history. What amazing famous people who changed the world would today have been diagnosed with autism?

Don’t let them tell you what your child can do. Nothing is more heartbreaking for a child than when you believe more in a stranger than you do in them. Please, this autism awareness/acceptance month of April, try to see the beauty in autism.

Let’s stop scaring parents. Sure, let us know there is a rough road ahead, but tell us there is hope.

Tell us how to support our child and keep them safe. Don’t just leave us floundering in terror.

Tell us of successful people with autism. Tell us of the success stories you know.

Stop saying “autism” the same way people say “cancer” or any number of things that are actually deadly. Autism isn’t a disease or sickness, so stop treating it as such.

Stop making us terrified and start actually educating us on what autism is for the adults living with it, on both sides of the spectrum .

And parents, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Look in the eyes of your child, because I know when I do, I’m reminded autism is beautiful.

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Originally published: April 21, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home