Neologisms are really hard to define. This is likely to be amongst the most niche and self-indulgent of my glossary entries. Probably even more so than ketchup!

I’m only including this here because my own diagnosing psychologist made reference to my use of them as a child as being relevant in her autism report. I believe she was referring to the fact that I had a made up language – also known as idiosyncratic speech. I used to ‘present TV programmes’ in my language of choice, to an invisible audience. I used my languages because they felt nice on my tongue and they sounded nice in my ears. That will sound really weird to anyone else who hasn’t experienced the same.

I still use neologisms now – I have made up words that I sing out when I’m happy that have been with me for years and years or if I want to describe something and I don’t have a real word that works as well: rivaldy, for instance – a surface that has more than bumps but less than waves. I’ve never known someone not understand what I mean when I say it!

My parents used to speak to each other in a made up language too. They tried to teach it to me; I do understand the logic behind it (it has consistent rules for each letter) but I can’t speak it fluently like they could. They were able to talk privately in public – I think that’s what the appeal was to them – I do remember translating some very rude words as a little girl!

This isn’t the most widely discussed aspect of being autistic, but it’s out there if you do the research. Sadly, there’s still a tendency to describe neologisms in terms of ‘low functioning‘ autistics.

Beyond the autistic use, neologisms are only considered neologisms, once they are incorporated into an official dictionary – which seems a bit of a contradiction. Aspie would be an example, ADHDer is on Wiktionary, which doesn’t really count. You get the idea – made up words that enter common usage.