The cognitive dissonance of “person-first” references to #autistic people

I have just read this & realised there is no better way of expressing this important message.

Autistic Ultra

two people arguing, face-to-face, pointing fingers at each other What you call us matters. Please choose your words mindfully.

There seems to be a persistent tendency for people to use “person-first” references to autistic people.

That’s unfortunate. I’m sure the intention is to affirm the humanity of the person (separate from the disorder/condition), which I suppose is noble in its own way.

But what it really does is make us autistic folks out to be “suffering” from something that — if only it were eradicated and removed from us — would restore us to wholeness. Make us just like everyone else.

I’ll spare you my rant about that. Let me use another means to illustrate how person-first autism language makes me feel, as someone who considers autism my default mode, and who would be made less-whole, not more, if “it” were removed from my self.

Identity is a tricky business. We all have our perceptions of ourselves, our understandings…

View original post 295 more words

Published by autistsix

An autistic woman married to an autistic man trying to raise 4 autistic daughters in a neurotypical world

8 thoughts on “The cognitive dissonance of “person-first” references to #autistic people

  1. I was always trained to speak of the person first and the “disability” second. I’m sorry to use that term. My training was wrong and I have been using the term autistics. I’m so happy that I have found a community of autistics to set me straight. Keep educating everyone including the people who work in schools and support your community in other ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even we autistic people are divided amongst ourselves. I don’t mind except when people (therapists or bureaucrats) insist I use their language. Autism is so complex; it can be invisible but the actual brain is different, so the differences can be incredible. As long as people on both sides keep open minds things will continue to get better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m always on your side. Just tell me what you need. I appreciate hearing what is important to you. One of my students is non-verbal and I try so hard to understand him. Your perspective is very enlightening.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Something that has always worked with me and with the kids is acknowledging that you don’t always know the right thing to do. It is very empowering to hear and makes your relationship more of a partnership. You are not the powerful one with all the answers, the two of you are working together. I’m not sure it will work but I always think its a good start.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: