This discussion interrogates the continuing impact of the pervasive and persistent usage of debilitating metaphors perpetuating ‘historical’ superstitions, myths and beliefs surrounding disability. This article examines the real-life consequences of the power exercised through the deployment of derogatory metaphors and their very real effects on care and treatment decisions. The article illuminates how diagnostic categories and their associative metaphors work to situate boundaries of normality with pathologising difference. It concludes by demonstrating the catastrophic effect of the metaphoric dehumanisation of autistics that has recently culminated in murder being euphemistically referred to and condoned as ‘mercy killing’
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