FAQ's and TL;DR 

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Shouldn't the individual decide what they want to be called?

Yes. It is always down to the individual how they wish to be addressed, whether they prefer person-first or identity-first. Their personal preference should be respected. 

What do words matter?

Language and the meanings we attach to words very much impact, influence, develop, and change the attitudes that we have toward the subjects of discussion. The question of person-first language is definitely important and cannot be disregarded. The way we use language affects those around us -- in our immediate communities and in society at large. Trends of language have the power to transform ideas and attitudes. To dismiss this as "a silly semantics argument" denies the power of language.

But people with autism are "more than just autistic."

Identity-first does not mean identity-only.
When we talk about someone who is Jewish, Ethiopian, vegetarian, a sister, a ping-pong player, we don’t dismiss other parts of their identity. When it is relevant to mention that a person is autistic it is safe to say 'Autistic person' without discounting all other facets of their personality or other identities they may have.  We are all more than autistic.

What about Asperger's Syndrome?

Many people with a diagnosis of of Asperger’s Syndrome refer to themselves as 'aspies' or 'Aspergian' and many of us are comfortable with 'autistic' since we accept that there is no shame or inaccuracy in Asperger's Syndrome being on the autism spectrum.  Aspies and autistic people may also go under 'Spectrumite', 'Neurodivergent', Neuroqueer', etc. There are many creative names to use in place of 'person with autism' but 'autistic' covers them all. 

What about low/high functioning Autistics?

Regardless of an autistic persons abilities or disabilities, autism is the way our brains our structured and it affects every way that we think and experience the world.  None of us are more or less autistic than each other; we are all just affected by our autistic neurology differently. See Identity-First Autistic's views on functioning labels

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© Identity-First Autistic 2016                                                                                                                                                                identityfirstautistic@gmail.com

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