Autistic people, however, have repeatedly expressed a preference for identity first language. For some reason, nonautistic people who think they know better continue to ignore our (loudly and oft-stated) preference. To those people I say, “If you truly believe we’re people, first or otherwise, then listen to what we’re saying and respect our preference.”
Autistic is not a dirty word. When you act like it is, you aren’t helping autistic people. You’re contributing the very stigma that you pretend to abhor.
Or blind, or…, or single, or married…or male, or female, or ???
The problems with person first language have been talked about extensively in the autistic community. Many autistic people have expressed a strong, explicit preference for identity first language. And yet, we’re still treated to comments like this one (paraphrased from a comment on another blog):
I work with children with autism and I always say child with autism because they’re children first and autism doesn’t define them. Also, I say typically developing child instead of normal, because normal has negative connotations. Words are important–they reflect how you think.
My first reaction to reading that type of comment is always, “aren’t the typically developing children also children first?”
Or do we just not need to be reminded that they’re children?
If you don’t use normal because it has negative connotations, does the same logic apply to the use of autistic? Or does autistic exist in some special category of word…
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