I'm redoing the disability section of my website (enter at your own risk it's very unruly) and I wanted to write an intro just about the whole broken record subject, which I think you know what I am referring to. Usually when I am writing about this I just get incredibly bored and what I have written so far is very boring except for the end, which I like:
I will just tell you about a cool exchange I had with someone once.
Me: My friend has cerebral palsy.
Other person: Oh, how does it affect him?
The reason I thought this was cool is because I think it's often not useful to talk about disabilities in terms of "mild," "moderate," and "severe." I mean, sometimes it's necessary to use those terms as shortcuts I guess, but when you're talking about an individual I think it makes more sense to say whether they can walk, whether they can talk, and if so what is the way they walk and talk like? What is hard for them? What is something that they've learned to do on a regular basis, but it still kind of tires them out? What are they good at? What do they like to do? Do some things make them upset that wouldn't make a non-disabled person upset? Can other people tell they're disabled? How does the disabled person feel if other people can tell? How do they feel if other people can't tell? Do they ever take steps to try to keep people from "reading" them as disabled? What is their social life like? How are they at academic stuff? How are they at handling transitions? Are they clumsy? Do they make noises sometimes? Do they want to be in a relationship and if so how's that going for them? Do they live on their own? Can they eat lots of different foods and can they tell time?
I just think that, although the terms ASD and autism may seem overly broad to you, it is much better to use a broad term and then fill in the specifics than it is to act like autism exists in two distinct types, especially when there are so many stereotypes associated with each type. I'd rather someone just find out what I am like by knowing me instead of demanding that I tell them my diagnosis or my level of "functioning" or whether I am "mild."