Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
Hello friend, I’d like to reblog you post about communication with people with autism, but it really bothers me that the whole thing says “autistic people” is there any chance you could edit it to be person first language? (Person with autism) ((because they are a person first and the disorder second.))
I’m autistic, and that’s the language I prefer, so I’m not going to change it. A lot of autistic adults actually find person first language very offensive.
I wrote a post about autism language politics and history a while back that explains more about why. The short version is that many of us see autism as part of who we are and not separable from our personhood. (You don’t say “person with femaleness”, “person with Christianity”, “person with Britishness” or anything like that - it’s only use for stigmatized categories. We don’t want autism to carry that kind of stigma.)
I also want to address something else. Your ask said “they” about autistic people, which to me suggests that you’re probably not autistic and that you assumed I’m not either. It might be worth asking yourself why you made that assumption.
To me, autistic people are “we”, not “they.“
Autistic people are everywhere, and we have opinions. If you’re talking about autism, it’s a good idea to assume that there are autistic people in the room.
tl;dr It’s not wrong to say “autistic”. It’s a legitimate preference shared by a lot of autistic adults for important reasons. When a conversation about autism is happening, it’s good to err on the side of assuming that autistic people are part of the conversation. (And if they’re not, that’s a problem that needs to be solved.)