Child with autism or autistic child?

Do you have a child with autism or an autistic child? Does it matter? Unfortunately, for those of us embarking on the autism journey as a parent, it can be challenging to understand which is the better nomenclature.

As with many other things, I have found myself learning far more from actually autistic adults than I have from parents of autistic children. While some people prefer ‘person with autism’, the majority prefer ‘autistic person’. The reason is that saying you have autism is like saying you have herpes or flu while saying you are autistic claims the diagnosis as a part of your identity. Deaf and blind people will say ‘deaf/blind person’ rather than ‘person with blindness/deafness’.

It is a good idea to ask someone you know well what they prefer, but don’t be too surprised if they haven’t figured it out for themselves yet.

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