Preferences for Person-First Language and Identity-First Language in Autistic Communities




identity first language, person first language, autism, culture, disability model


The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe the preferences for identity-first language (IFL) and person-first language (PFL) in autistic individuals and their parents or caregivers. A 25-question online survey was distributed via REDCap to identify preferences for these terms and further understand the characteristics of respondents and their perspectives regarding these two terms. The 53 respondents who participated in the survey represented a range of ages from 16 to 58. Findings indicated that most autistic individuals and their parents preferred IFL over PFL. However, the responses from the parent group were more heterogeneous, with greater acceptance of PFL. Additionally, many autistic individuals stated that they had no desire to reduce, alleviate, or cure their symptoms associated with autism. In contrast, most of the parent group expressed the opposite view. Thematic analysis was used to analyze and discuss other traits and factors that were identified as possible influences on terminology preference. Autistic individuals and parents of autistic children prefer identity first language. These preferences can be influenced by age of diagnosis, gender, and perspectives on autism.


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How to Cite

Smith, M., Horton, R., & Fitzgibbons, M. (2023). Preferences for Person-First Language and Identity-First Language in Autistic Communities. Journal of Critical Study of Communication and Disability, 1(2), 106–140.