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For the Benefit of Humanity

"To be nobody-but-yourself" in an allistic world…

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"

And more:

"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.

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