I hate people first language. I hate when I’m talking about some autistic issue such as the Judge Rotenberg Center shocking children or how just because a person is non-verbal doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent and someone interrupts to say, “Don’t say autistic person or autistic, say person or people with autism.”
Don’t tell an autistic person what they can and can’t call themselves. It’s fine if you want to say you’re a person with autism but to me it sounds clunky. It does nothing to affirm the personhood of autistic people. Autism Speaks is fond of such language and I am NOT fond of them or their attitude about autism or autistic people.
Obviously person first language is not helping them to realize that autistic people are thinking, feeling human beings, so acting as if they break up families won’t crush their souls if they don’t have them, right?
I prefer autistic person because my autism is a part of me. So is my blackness. So is being a woman. Folks would not say I am a person with blackness or a person with womanness. It implies that somehow autism is a bad thing that must be separated from me even though how I view the world is through the lens of autism.
Though challenging the attitudes about autism and how people think about it is another huge challenge.