Image description: Illustration of five zebras, one rainbow-colored
"To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody but yourself — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting." - e.e. cummings
The conversation around person-first language — "person with autism" vs. "autistic person" (the preferred nomenclature of actually autistic people) — is absurd.
If autism is the exception, and "allism" (or neurotypical) is the rule…let's flip the script:
"I have allism" vs "I am autistic"
"People suffering from allism" vs "People suffering from autism"
"People with allism because allism does not define them"
"You don't look allistic"
"I've heard people with severe allism can be very challenging"
"Person with allism — person first, because we need to be reminded that they're people, that's important"
"Let's find a cure for allism spectrum disorder"
In case you struggle with understanding sarcasm — the above is sarcastic, and meant to illustrate the illogical use of person-first language, as well as the stereotyping of autistic people.
The overwhelming majority of autistic people prefer identity-first language —and we need to listen. While autism is an invisible disability, autistic people still need supports: validation, accommodations, trauma-based therapy, and boundary-setting, self-advocacy, mind-body connection skills - all of which are social skills - to help them be as successful as possible, in a world that insists on the hidden codes of conformity.