[Ads-l] Another no-word-for

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 3 06:54:37 UTC 2017

No word for autism


"At the time I had not heard of autism before," she says. "I struggled
[with] the whole process because 'autism' is an unknown word in the Somali
language. It was a condition no one knew about and [that] meant it came
with stigma and barriers at every level.”
The idea seemed alien to her. Feeling confused, she chose not to engage
with health services. “All the language they used meant nothing to me. They
did explain, but I didn't really understand what they were trying to say.
Like I said, back home there's two things – normal people and not normal

“When I went to my mother she said, 'I've never heard of autism,' and that
was a really difficult time for me because Zaki was different from my
sister's children and I knew that there has to be something wrong.
“One of the biggest problems people face is there's no word for autism, and
so it's hard to communicate with family and friends,” she says. “Even when
they do tell, they get a lot of resistance and people telling them not to
worry and not to seek help. Often people are told not to go to the doctor.”

She adds: “It hinges on the difficulty in communicating even within
families. Quite often the mother knows the child needs help but the father
won't accept it. It’s bound up in the stigma about mental health and
disability in general, and not just the lack of a word. As Nura says ...
and other interviewees said, the understanding is there’s either ‘normal or
not normal’, and there's nothing in between.”

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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