Hello friends! I’m sharing this article because the writer explains what happens to also be my reason that I don’t use the “person-centered language” I was taught 20 years ago in special education classes when referring to my child. You may have already noticed that I consistently say “my son is autistic” instead of “my son has autism”.
I have often been corrected by kindhearted, well-intentioned people so it is clear that more information is generally needed about the reasons for these deliberate language choices.
The bottom line is that individuals decide the language used about them. My son (and most of the autism community) proudly claims “autistic” as one of many appropriate descriptors so that’s that.
As the writer states, there are disability communities (Down Syndrome is mentioned) where person-centered language is preferred and so I would advise to just stay connected and always defer to the preference of the community.
Please click here to read this excellent article by Kaylene George.
If you’re interested in reading more, the same writer previously went into some depth about some similar ideas here.
And since I have your attention, please don’t support Autism Speaks. There are many better advocacy organizations that have autistic people in leadership and that actually aim to support instead of change autistic people. The ones closest to our family that could use your dollars more are The Iowa City Autism Community and the Autism Society of Iowa.