This book uses certain words to talk about autistic people, and we use these words for good reasons. We use words that respect autistic people, and words that autistic people chose to talk about ourselves. Some people use words that make autism seem like a bad thing, so we use words that show what autism really is.
“Person-first” language and “identity first” language
There are 2 ways that people talk about disability: Putting the word “person” before the word for a disability. “People with autism” is person-first language. So is “People with disabilities”. and Putting the word for a disability before the word “person”. “Autistic people” is identity-first language. So is “Disabled people”..
Identity-first language means that you say the disability first, then you say the word “person.”
“Autistic people” is an example of identity-first language. We say “autistic” first, and then we say “person.” “Disabled people” and “Deaf people” are other examples of identity-first language.
Person-first language means that you say the word “person” first, then you say the disability.
“People with autism” is an example of person-first language. “People with disabilities” and “people with Disabilities that affect how you learn and think. People with intellectual disabilities might learn more slowly.” are other examples of person-first language.
People can choose the words they like to be called. Many people with intellectual disabilities like using person-first language, and they’ve used person-first language for a long time. They want others to know that they are a person, and that their disability is only one part of them.
A lot of Deaf people and autistic people like identity-first language. They feel like their disabilities are a big part of who they are, and want others to know that their disability is important to them.
This book uses identity-first language to talk about autism. This book calls autistic people “autistic people”, and not “people with autism”.
The words we use might not seem important, but they are very important. The words we use change how we think. Person-first language gets used to hurt autistic people. It says that autism is only a small part of us, and doesn’t make us who we are. But autism is a big part of our lives, and is an important part of who we are!
Not every autistic person uses identity-first language, but a lot of us do. Different people use different words for different reasons. You can use whatever words you want to talk about your disability!