My offering was not meant as a chastisement, per se, but more as a cautionary statement. The most recent change in the medical world with regard to autism is removing a number of the various "old syndrome classifications" in favor of the unified label, "autism spectrum disorder," as there are certain base similarities that have been recognized for decades as being common features of autism, even if their respective severities vary, and since having a medical diagnosis or educational label is critical for being able to receive various services from medical insurers or educational institutions.
I find the "difference versus disability" conversation tedious, personally. Everyone knows that the term "disability" covers an awful lot of territory that ranges between mild and severe. Those who ascribe to "difference" would scream bloody murder were they unable to receive necessary support related to their condition, if any is needed, because they were not classified as having a medical condition or educational disability. These classifications exist to allow access, and those at the mildest end of the spectrum seldom reject access to services they want.
After having been working in the world of disability since 2000 and am thoroughly convinced that those who engage in these "difference versus disability" debates are splitting hairs and fooling themselves. You cannot "define away" what the world of people who do not have disabilities consider to be disabilities, and that is who defines them. You must be atypical in some significant way to be considered to have what we now term a disability. No matter what terminology might be used, and it has changed over the years, you cannot "define away" what will be viewed as a disability.
It's also pretty much a given that "the focus" when dealing with disability is on the "dis" part. A person with a disability doesn't need, nor do they generally want, assistance or services related to things that they can do completely independently and/or that don't affect their ability to operate "within normal limits" in the world at large. I have always loved the medical term "within normal limits" because it recognizes that there is a bell curve of proficiency and everyone recognizes, with some fuzziness at the end points of "normal," what falls within them.
Those of us who regularly deal with people with disabilities are not at all unaware of the myriad abilities and gifts they do have, and do not presume that they are helpless, unable to express their thoughts on how to proceed in treatment (and otherwise), etc., etc., etc. That is, however, because we have had enough experience with those individuals that "the surface dis" isn't all we see. When dealing with the general public "the surface dis" is likely all they see, or what they assign the most significance to, and any individual with a disability is going to have to learn, and early, how to be their own advocate and to dispel the misperceptions that are likely immediately formed by the uninformed, because they are unfamiliar and uninformed. It's a simple fact of life with the cards they've been dealt.
Brian AKA Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134
In a modern society where everyone thinks their opinion deserves to be heard nothing annoys me more than individuals who mistake their personal preferences for fact.
~ Commenter TheCruyffGurn on the The Guardian website, 8/13/2014