Why I Prefer Identity First Language

This blog post explores the preference for identity-first language among autistic individuals, highlighting the significance of embracing this language to promote inclusivity, respect, and empowerment within the autistic community. #IdentityFirstLanguage #AutisticPride #InclusiveLanguage #AutismAcceptance #Neurodiversity #SelfAdvocacy #RespectfulCommunication #AutisticCommunity #Empowerment #NeurodivergentVoices #actuallyautistic


Language is powerful in shaping our perceptions and attitudes toward different aspects of human diversity. When it comes to discussing autism, it is crucial to recognize and respect the preferences of the community itself. One significant aspect is understanding the preference for identity-first language among autistic individuals. This blog post will explore the reasons behind this preference and highlight the importance of embracing identity-first language to foster inclusivity, respect, and self-empowerment.

Understanding Identity-First Language

Identity-first language places the identity or condition before the person. In the context of autism, this means using phrases like “autistic person” or “autistic individual.” Autistic self-advocates and many within the autistic community prefer this language, as it recognizes autism as an integral part of their identity. It emphasizes that being autistic is not a negative label or something to be separated from their being, but rather an inherent aspect that contributes to their unique experiences and perspectives.

The Autistic Identity

For many autistic individuals, autism is not merely a medical diagnosis or a set of challenges to be overcome. It is integral to who they are, shaping their thoughts, perceptions, and interactions with the world. Embracing their autistic identity allows individuals to embrace their strengths, talents, and the aspects that make them different from neurotypical individuals. It promotes self-acceptance, self-advocacy, and a celebration of neurodiversity.

Emphasizing Autistic Empowerment

Using identity-first language acknowledges the agency and self-determination of autistic individuals. It allows them to define their own narrative and assert their identity proudly. By using this language, we validate their experiences and recognize their autonomy. It creates a platform for self-advocacy and empowers autistic individuals to participate fully in discussions about their lives, needs, and rights.

Inclusive Language and Community Acceptance

Preference for identity-first language is rooted in the broader movement of disability rights and disability pride. It aligns with the principle of “nothing about us without us,” emphasizing the importance of including the voices and perspectives of those directly affected by a particular condition or identity. By adopting identity-first language, we foster an environment of acceptance and inclusivity, valuing the lived experiences and expertise of autistic individuals themselves.

Respecting Individual Preferences

It is crucial to acknowledge that language preferences can vary among individuals. While many autistic individuals embrace identity-first language, some may prefer person-first language, such as “person with autism.” Person-first language aims to emphasize the personhood beyond the condition. It is essential to respect and honor each individual’s choice regarding how they wish to be referred to, as personal preferences may differ.


Recognizing and embracing the preference for identity-first language among autistic individuals is a significant step towards promoting inclusivity, empowerment, and respect. By using language that acknowledges autism as an inherent part of an individual’s identity, we validate their experiences, empower self-advocacy, and foster an environment of acceptance. Let us continue to listen to and learn from the autistic community, ensuring that their voices shape the discussions surrounding autism and contribute to a more inclusive society for all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.