The way we talk about autism matters.
Using different words changes how other people treat us.
An Non-autistic people who want to help autistic people. All sorts of people can be allies. is careful to talk about autism respectfully. They pay attention to their words.
Talking about autism respectfully isn’t just about using the right words.
But there are still some words that are important to say or not say.
There are also some ideas that help us and some that hurt us.
Here are some tips for how to talk about autism respectfully.
Ask autistic people how we want you to talk about us.
Ask us if we want to be called “autistic”.
Ask us if we want to be called “someone with autism.”
Don’t use pictures of puzzle pieces to mean autism.
Some people think that autism is a big mystery.
They see autistic people as puzzles that need to be solved.
So, they started using puzzle pieces to mean autism.
Someone did a study about autism and puzzle pieces.
They talked to people about autism.
They showed people puzzle pieces to mean autism.
Then they asked people what they thought about autism.
They found out the puzzle pieces made people think autism is bad.
Autistic people don’t like it when people use puzzle pieces to mean autism.
We are people, not puzzles.
Sometimes, people will say that someone is “low-functioning”, or “high-functioning”.
They will say that someone has “severe autism”, or “mild autism”.
Do not do this. Remember, these words aren’t helpful.
We talk more about this in Chapter 1.
Instead, just say what you mean.
If you mean that someone is People who don’t talk with their mouths., say that.
If you mean that someone has an intellectual disability, say that.
If you mean that someone has certain The things autistic people need help with., say that.
Never say that anyone is “retarded” or a “retard.”
This word gets used to hurt people with Disabilities that affect how you learn and think. People with intellectual disabilities might learn more slowly..
You should never say this word to anyone.
Some people say that “everyone’s a little bit autistic.”
Some things that autistic people do are things that everyone does.
For example, everyone stims. But Moving in the same way over and over again. Everyone stims, but autistic people stim more than other people. is more important for autistic people.
Saying “everyone’s a little bit autistic” can hurt us.
People use it to say autism isn’t really a disability.
So people might not help us get what we need.
It’s okay to talk about things that everyone does.
But don’t say “everyone’s a little bit autistic”.
An ally makes sure their words don’t make autism seem bad or sad.
An ally makes sure their words don’t make autistic people seem broken or scary.
That’s already what a lot of people think about autism.
An ally’s job is to change how other people think about autism.
An ally always remembers that autistic people can hear them.
When you say bad things about autism, it hurts us.
An ally talks about autism like there is an autistic person standing right behind them.