The discussion of person-first language versus identity-first language continues. This popular discussion has been occurring via various avenues for quite a while. The education field has deemed person-first language such as, “an individual with autism” as acceptable, and many disabled individuals have argued for identity-first language such as, “Autistic,” stating it better suits how disabled individuals feel/identify. As the debate continues, personal preference seems to reign. An individual should be referred to as he or she wishes. Here, Adrian Smith, an individual with autism, shares why person-first language is important to her.
“I prefer person-first identity because I rather my intriguing personality be my identity, not my really frustrating autism! I want to teach others that yes, I have autism, but I am a person that is intelligent. I sometimes struggle with my body, but I am still a real person. Very hard to get much of my body to break its autistic, very frustrating movements. Its very draining teaching others typing is really my voice. Dying inside is someone anxiously trying to greatly get out, and find their voice. Teaching knowledge to others cannot only change the opinion of lonely individuals, but change the way that the rest of the world sees autism.”
Adriana Smith is 18 years old and has two older brothers. Her oldest brother Quinn, has Asperger’s syndrome. Her other brother, Noah, is nonverbal like her and also types to communicate. Adriana and Noah started typing in April 2016.