The importance of respecting ND language as diverse and poetic

April 13, 2016 § 3 Comments




(A photograph of a broken doll’s hand. Something I’m planning to work with in my studio. One click…) 

The internet is a tricksy beast. One click and your most immediate thoughts and responses become potentially global. We have the power to appear imperiously on each other’s timelines on almost any platform you chose to name. I am as guilty as any other of the sin of quick comment without true consideration, but never more. Censure or correction takes this a step further. I too have been there. But I won’t be going back now that I’ve experienced it from the other side.

The other day, having posted a poem about my experience as an autistic woman, I received the following correction on Twitter for the title for my piece.

Twitter respondent: “No such thing as “a school for autism.” A school for autistic PEOPLE, perhaps?”

Sonia Boué: “its a poem so not intended to be about a real institution.”

Let me expand.

Because this is a poem there is no such thing as this school of which I write. Except conversely there was such a place because it was the school I went to, or the school of life, or being schooled as an undiagnosed autistic, or any such allusion you care to name – all of which are correct because this is poetry and it is my lived experience; a blend of imagination and memory. Imagination is free.

Ironically the poem is about silencing and correction – of sitting on my pulse as people told me that my way was wrong and I must do it their way. In the poem I describe this as a cage.

After this experience I understand even more the need to be particularly sensitive about correcting other ND individual’s use of language. Otherwise things can quickly become one way or no way. This is also a cage.

A piece of creative writing, a soul piece about an authentic experience expressed by an ND person needs space to breathe and to be allowed to exist – just as we are asking wider society to allow us to breathe and exist.

All my life I have been corrected and I have often felt like a ghost in my own life story, walking in the shadows as a result. I won’t now be silent. I won’t now sit on my hands or quiet my pulse. I will use the language of my choosing.






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§ 3 Responses to The importance of respecting ND language as diverse and poetic

  • I am surprised and saddened at the same time, for exactly this phenomenon, that of the “language correcting” troll, has come upon me, completely out of the blue, with no consideration that my words, however chosen, are *my* words. I am surprised that someone would “correct” you, Sonia, because you consistently reflect sensitivity in your writing, and have certainly helped me to understand “the language”. I am saddened that this practice continues. But I write on, too, un-followed, on mute, whatever, because I, too, have decided to use “the language of my choosing.”


  • Bah! That commenter completely missed the point!

    Am just about to give a workshop to programmers in Bristol next week about how to develop better engineering skills by working on (or should I say playing on?) their artistic skills & perception. Basically get yer hands off the keyboard and onto a paintbrush – or pen – or any other media you want to!

    One of the main points I will be making is one of AMBIGUITY. Fixed thinking can only help us deal with what is, not what could be, i.e. what we could create. To me, poetry, because of its ambiguous nature, allows us the go beyond the fixed and into the creative.

    Livingness is Ambiguous.

    As I said at the beginning:

    Liked by 1 person

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