“It’s my ‘me!'” Identity, language and autism

YennPurkis

Today I had a particularly unpleasant exchange on Facebook with a  woman who said my use of the term ‘autistics’ was ableist. I responded by saying that many autistic people us the term Autistics to describe our culture, our tribe. Unfortunately it got less pleasant and blocking  wasn involved.… Anyway, the upshot of this is that it is another chapter in the thread of my life involving  difficult interactions with people autism and identity.

Apart from the feeling of being attacked, my issue with the exchange today was the concept of someone who isn’t me telling me how I should identify and how I should described my tribe.

Telling people how they should identify is sadly quite common. To my mind it is on the list of Highly Uncool Things to Say To An Autistic Person. The most common issues is around ‘person first’ versus ‘identity first’ language. Person first…

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