Why is it so important?
Because autism - and by extension autistic people, are demonised every day when our neurology is referred to as a sickness or a disease and we are called a burden and a curse.
Because autistic children and adults are tortured by 'therapies' and 'treatments' claiming to help us.
These therapies force autistic people to suppress our harmless, and often beneficial, unique thoughts or behaviours. They force us to pretend to be someone we are not, telling us that who and what we are is fundamentally wrong.
These treatments try to eradicate the autism inside us, as if we can be separated from our own neurology, as if the disease can be cut out and a 'normal' person will suddenly appear.
Illustration by Meredith K Ultra at Ink And Daggers
Because autism is misunderstood and disabled people are mistreated in our society. The idea that we are 'less than' is perpetuated when the language we use suggests that being disabled, autistic, or neurodivergent is something to be ashamed of - that these conditions are something you wouldn't want to be a part of you.
Our words are only one of the many things that need to change before we can have a fair and inclusive society.
But at Identity-first Autistic, we believe that a positive change in language is the catalyst to a positive change in our thoughts and actions. If you can change just one thing to help create a safe and welcoming world for all people, chose your words.
[Photo: Disability and youth rights advocates protesting aversive electric shock "treatment" outside the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Silver Spring, Maryland in January 2013. Hand-drawn signs have slogans "No compromise on torture," "people not experiments," "Ban the GED" with a list of minor infractions shocks are used to punish, "stop the shocks," "disability rights are human rights," and "torture not treatment." From left to right: Diane Engster, Lydia Brown, Shain M. Neumeier, Kathleen N. O'Neal, and Patrick T. Ayers. Photo by Taylor C. Hall, T.C. Hall Media.] Sorce: Autistic Hoya