Why Can’t You Be Normal for Once in Your Life? by Judy Singer
Individuals at that end of the spectrum believe that their condition is not a disease to be treated and, if possible, cured but rather a human specificity that must be respected as such. Their being unlike “neurotypicals” derives in their view from a brain “wiring” that is different but not abnormal. Such identity claims manifest what the activist Judy Singer (1999) has called “neurological self-awareness.”
Indeed, autistics’ identitarian claims have gone hand in hand with the cerebralization of their condition. As we shall see, the “person-first language” generally supported by the disability rights movement is not always well received within autism self-advocacy groups, for whom the expression “person with autism” suggests that the condition is not constitutive of the individual.9 The neuro- prefix and a usually imprecise neuro vocabulary serve to construe autism as a positive attribute and to demonstrate the legitimacy of the autistic experience. Cerebralization, which as we saw is driven by a quest for causality and “objectivity,” thus sustains subjectivation.