angry-bear6…trumps neurotypical parents’ right not to cringe.

During last Wednesday’s meeting, one subcommittee member, who I believe is the parent of an Autistic child, and an Autistic self-advocate expressed disagreement over the terms. Feedback from one of our members suggested changing “ASD individual” in our report to “individual with ASD.” The Autistic self-advocate sitting beside me, who also has an Autistic brother, voiced her objection to use of the term. “I disagree,” she said as the suggestion was read aloud. “I’m not a person with autism; I am Autistic.”

Immediately, a mother sitting next to her responded, “I come from a time where that word, ‘autistic,’ had — still has — a negative meaning. It’s offensive. When someone refers to my son as ‘the autistic,’ I cringe at that word; I get ready to defend him.”

no, mommy, you do not get to define your son. cringe away and get used to referring to your son as autistic. check your privilege and your gimp phobia. you refuse to identify your son as autistic for the same reason a homophobic father refuses to talk about his gay son.

But why are we self-advocates so opposed to this terminology? Aren’t we all about de-emphasizing and correcting inaccurate, misleading, and harmful stereotypes and attitudes? Right? From that other perspective, you would think we would support the use of person-first language, because we want to be seen as people with equal rights, value, and worth to non-Autistic people. But we don’t. Because when people say “person with autism,” it does have an attitudinal nuance. It suggests that the person can be separated from autism, which simply isn’t true. It is impossible to separate a person from autism, just as it is impossible to separate a person from the color of his or her skin. (my emphasis)

person-first-language implies a need to separate the individual from their autism, as if autism were some sort of shameful disease. newsflash – it is not. it is a neurological variation.

it is interesting that ‘person-first-language’ is mostly used by neurotypicals, don’t you think?  it is a great example of how neurotypicals dominate the autistic narrative and use their privilege to deny and demean us through the way they speak about us. their insistence on using person-first-language is offensive and abusive and it is a way by which they assert their perceived right to define us.

It is impossible to affirm the value and worth of an Autistic person without recognizing his or her identity as an Autistic person. Referring to me as “a person with autism,” or “an individual with ASD” demeans who I am because it denies who I am. (my emphasis)

neurotypicals have no right to define us. they have no right to separate us from our autism. in fact they have no right to speak for us or advocate for us, unless they do it in our words, using our definitions of ourselves.