Autism Journal Club

“It Defines Who I Am” or “It’s Something I Have”: What Language Do [Autistic] Australian Adults [on the Autism Spectrum] Prefer?

Demi Young will be presenting paper by Bury, Jellett, Spoor & Hedley (2020) Zoom details: 812-298-9629 Abstract There has been a recent shift from person-first to identity-first language to describe autism. In this study, Australian adults who reported having a diagnosis of autism (N = 198) rated and ranked autism-terms for preference and offensiveness, and explained their choice in free-text. ‘Autistic’, ‘Person on the Autism Spectrum’, and ‘Autistic Person’ were rated most preferred and least offensive overall. Ranked-means showed ‘person on the autism spectrum’ was the most preferred term overall. Six qualitative themes reflected (1) autism as core to, or (2) part of one’s identity, (3) ‘spectrum’ reflecting diversity, (4) the rejection of stigmatising and (5) medicalised language, and (6) pragmatics. These findings highlight the importance of inclusive dialogue regarding individual language preference.