Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.
“Hi, my name is Khylil Robinson and I am autistic.” When it comes to introducing myself to others about my disability, I never really know how to express myself. Whenever I describe myself, I usually just use the direct term (identity first) rather than person first term. Although really, I don’t really keep track of how I say things most times. Sometimes if I’m too wrapped up in a conversation, I just use the “identity” without the “person” language at all. However, whenever I do a presentation or something more formal, then explaining myself to others, or about others, I may use a little different language.
I think I just say certain things because to me, I guess they just “sound good.” For example, when I was talking about my experience with CAPS, I wrote that “I am a CAPS” and not “a CAPS worker.” So, in a similar way, I would be more comfortable when I announce my autism/Asperger’s, that I would say that “I am autistic” MORE than I would say “person with autism”. This is simply because I think that it just “sounds better” to me. I don’t really think of saying “person of…,” or “that person has…,” unless it’s in a more professional setting or written word-for-word in a documentary, book, or movie analytic.
When it comes to describing others, I guess that I’ve never really thought about it before. As I mentioned earlier, I use both descriptive and direct terms interchangeably and I don’t have a problem using either one. Maybe I should take the time to think about it more when I describe others, but I think because the direct format has been the more dominant way I describe things, doing that would be extremely hard in the moment for me to do.
As for myself, even though I say “I am autistic,” I really don’t mind what anyone else says about me (“He’s autistic” or “He is an individual with autism”). So, however you describe my Asperger’s/autism is really up to you!
How I See It is a new series on PAAutism and ASDNext. In each installment, we ask people in the Pennsylvania autism community – individuals, family members, professionals and more – to share their thoughts on a particular topic.
This month’s topic is identity – specifically, identity-first vs. person-first language. Is someone autistic? Are they a person with autism? That’s what these writers will discuss.