Autism in Greece and on the TAE project

In Greece, the field of autism research and provision is driven by medical professionals, and consequently the terms ‘disorder’(διαταραχή), ‘disability’(αναπηρία) and ‘impairments’ (ελείμματα) are very frequently used. In addition some terms such as ‘condition’ and ‘non-speaking’ do not translate well or at all into Greek. For example ‘condition’ in Greek is κατασταση, which also means ‘situation’. This also applies to terms such as ‘high functioning’ and ‘low functioning’.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma attached to autism in Greek society and the word ‘autistic’ is often used in the media in a derogatory manner, such as to describe someone who is in a unaware of other people or ‘in a world of their own’.

For those more in favor of inclusion, there is a tendency to suggest that the term ‘person with autism’ should be used in an effort to stress to the public the need to think of the person first.

In the Greek team of the TAE project, we have tried as much as possible in the materials to reflect the notion of neurodiversity, but to also indicate that some individuals can indeed be ‘disabled’ by their autism, with societal barriers contributing to that.  We also use the words ‘autistic’ and ‘person with autism’ interchangeably, and avoid using terms such as ‘high functioning’ and ‘low functioning’. 

Katerina Laskaridou. Team Lead for the Greek TAE team.