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Identity-first language versus Person-first language

Identity-first language says, “I am autistic.”
Person-first language says, “I am a person who has autism.”

I prefer identity-first language because it invites culture. Person-first language causes shame about one’s disability. Autism is not like an addiction to be shamefully recovered from. It is actually the way we were born and it’s an alternate perspective of the world with pros and cons to it. I believe you should accept yourself and embrace your strengths and your weaknesses. We say, “I am introverted” and that is not frowned upon. Why? Because there are strengths that go along with that weakness. We don’t say, “I am a person who is introverted.” Likewise, we might say, “I am a girl”. We don’t say I am a person that is identified as a girl. We accept parts of our identity as part of a whole. I am not just a girl. I am many other things. Ultimately, my identity is found in Jesus Christ but his strength is shown through my weakness. To say that I have no weakness is to be in denial and deceive my own self.

Neurodivergents have unique perspectives that neurotypicals have never thought of...like Temple Grandin who could visualize the emotions and visual perspective of the cow on its way to the slaughter house so that she actually made it a easier way for them to die without even knowing death is coming.

There is another view that says don't put me in a box and that there should not be labels. But I disagree. Labels identify a can of beans. Some people want to know what’s in the can first before they decide if they want it. It's because not all food is agreeable to every tastebud and so likewise there are personality clashes and clashes between the neurodivergent and neurotypical minds.

Besides, being autistic is not bad or shameful, there are many advantages to it. I see how my five senses can both overstimulate me negatively, and have me in such awe of what our God has created. I see the good qualities of childlike faith that it brings out in me and the special relationship with God who is my friend when I have none. I see the potential for genius in every autistic person whether it’s right brain, left brain, or both. I see the innocence we cultivate and the clarity of heart. I see the grit we can muster. I am proud to be called autistic. I am a part of a community and a culture that is wonderfully rich in depth. Just like a deaf person that is proud of being part of the deaf community, I am proud to declare I am autistic and to be counted as part of the group. I am wonderfully made.

Comments

I agree completely. Person first language always seems like it views autism as something shameful. You expressed it really well!
 
Personally, I don't tell to other people that I'm autistic, only my parents and my girlfriend know that. But I think that your point of view about the language is correct. Autism is not a problem, it's a neuro-diversity, so we should name this like something which characterise us
 

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Lilacleia16
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