What are we supposed to say?: Exploring language preferences when referring to the autism spectrum

Many debates and discussions have arisen in the field of developmental disabilities, particularly regarding autism spectrum disorder (autism) and certain terms used when referencing the diagnostic label and other related characteristics. Previous research has looked at identity-first versus person-first language and has shown differences in use of this language from non-autistic stakeholders, and clear preferences from the autistic community that has begun to shape how others refer to those on the autism spectrum.

We would like to see if these previous findings continue to hold, and also seek to go beyond identity-first and person-first language to determine preferences for a wider variety of terms relating to autism so we can identify divergences in preferences from these differing groups, and also so we can advocate for the preferences of autistic individuals in language that is used to refer to them.

How can you get involved?

If you are 18 or older, speak English, and have a relationship to the autism community (including being autistic), and would like to help us understand your comfort with various terms associated with autism, you may be eligible to participate!