08 May 2013

What is a shiny Aspie?

I use this term, but I haven't found a good definition of it anywhere online (maybe I didn't search hard enough if one exists?) so here's a brief explanation:

A shiny Aspie is an autistic person (who frequently identifies themself as a person with autism, a person on the spectrum, a person with high-functioning autism/HFA, a person with Asperger's, or, as the name implies, an Aspie) who strives to achieve normative "success" within a conventional model (i.e. dating, going to college, having a job, marrying, etc.) while appearing as non-disabled as possible as much as possible. They are routinely tokenized by more mainstream autism and disability organizations, and often pride themselves on learning "skills" like small talk, eye contact, and not stimming in public. Conversely, they may claim to be very proud of their neurological wiring, but simultaneously believe that "those poor low-functioning people with autism" should be cured. They may be prone to writing inspiration porn style autobiographies or blogs, and easily fulfilling the model of the self-narrating zoo exhibit.

The term shiny Aspie is also sometimes used as a pejorative to refer to any proponent of neurodiversity. With this use, it implies that anyone who opposes a cure for autism is "just a high-functioning person with Asperger's."

Things to know.