Let me pose you a riddle: When is a noun not a noun?
Here’s a funny dog cartoon for you to look at while you consider the answer…
Who doesn’t love a good cartoon about dogs, hey?
Anyway, I’m sure you’re just dying to know the answer to the riddle: When it’s autistic!
The Unmasked Autistic wasn’t even my first choice name for this blog. Problem was that the domain name for each of my other choices – names that included The Autism Chronicles and Autistic for a Day – had already been taken. (They aren’t being used mind you – they’re just taken. For safe keeping, I guess.)
My hesitation around using the name I have now come to actually love was, that’s right, the use of autistic as a noun. I had never before seen it used as anything other than an adjective: ‘autistic person’, ‘autistic traits’, ‘autistic brain’.
Let me pause here for a moment because you may be asking yourself, Why is Glenn boring us with a grammar lesson? If I wanted a grammar lesson, I would have gone to a grammar site! Why is he practically begging me to click away from his already heavily ignored blog site?
Well, I used to teach English to international students at a couple of universities, and then I went on to teach English to international health professionals seeking registration in Australia. I loved it. And some of the classes my students seemed to respond to the most were my grammar classes.
Point is (yes, please Glenn, do get to the point!) language is important to me and, while I liked the sound the name The Unmasked Autistic made in my head when I said it, I wasn’t convinced by the use of autistic as a noun. (Really I was worried that someone with far more knowledge and experience of autism itself would give me s*hit about it.)
Solution? Pick my wife’s brain and comb the World Wide Web for answers!
As a lover of language and a former English language teacher, I am, and have been, exceedingly fortunately to have an incredibly knowledgeable, extremely experienced, absolutely gorgeous linguist living with me. And the Web – well, it’s everywhere!
Here’s how things went down on the WhatsApp chat I had with my wife.
ME AGAIN (before she had time to respond):
THE REST OF THE CONVERSATION (me in green, my wife in white):
So, I think what this WhatsApp conversation clearly demonstrates is how annoying I can be, and how I’ll essentially go my own way despite the learned points and common sense displayed by my wife. (By the way, I found the discussion on Reddit a fascinating one. It’s well worth checking out by clicking on the link above if you have time to peruse it.)
The most important thing to consider here, however – the takeaway, if you will – is that in the end I went with my wife’s recommendation: The Unmasked Autistic (consider the omitted ‘person’ at the end of the title implied in this case). And that ultimately, no matter what anyone else thinks, was definitely the correct decision.
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