Function Labels: Psychology’s Most Cringe-Worthy Language

Whenever you watch an old movie or sitcom, you likely cringe at what was socially acceptable for the era—racist jokes, misogynistic epithets, blatant xenophobia… and you should cringe.  For most people, it’s entirely obvious how offensive and dehumanizing it would be to tell a Black or Brown person, “Good job on talking so white.”  You’d never tell a woman, “Stellar work on that court case.  You held your own like a real man today.”


Why Adult Aspies Aren’t Being Diagnosed: A Human Rights Crisis

I’m an aspie—an insider term to describe a person with Asperger’s Syndrome.  It’s a label which underscores and is inextricably connected to every facet of my identity.  The only tragedy related to my neurotype is that I spent the majority of my life in the dark about it.

As a teenager and young adult, any time I read an article from a magazine or an op-ed piece about personality or lifestyle, I would experience consummate confusion.  I’m wired to constantly self-evaluate and examine—ad nauseam—every thought and belief I have; so, when I would encounter absolutes about how people are and what people want, I was left wondering what was wrong with me that I just never seemed to fit the category of “people.”  I looked like them, I almost sounded like them, but what I ultimately came to believe about people was that I wasn’t one of them. 


Asperger’s and Empathy: Shifting Away from Dated Misconceptions

One of the dominant characterizations of people on the autism spectrum is that they lack empathy or are empathy-disrupted.  This is based on the paradigm that autistic people aren’t able to intuit the emotions and needs of others, or that people on the spectrum aren’t willing to respond to the emotional needs of others.  The truth, which seems to be entirely missing from the literature of behavioral science, is that the only people being considered in the “others” piece of that definition are neurotypical (non-autistic) people.