Identity First Language - Autistic Child not Child WITH Autism

Why You MUST Stop Saying “Child with Autism”

Identity First Language - Autistic Child not Child WITH Autism

I write this waiting for the “You can’t tell me what I can and cannot say!” comments.

Well, listen here. Yes I fucking can! That’s what activists and advocates do. We call out the bullshit and incite change. That’s how this works. That’s how it has ALWAYS worked.

So let me tell you why I say this…

Autism Speaks (and other organisations) have done a spectacular job at creating and perpetuating fear around Autism. It’s been called this big scary *thing*.

We must cure the *thing*
We must eradicate the *thing*
We must stop this *thing* from taking our children.

And then you have ABA, essentially Autistic Conversion Therapy
Daily/weekly sessions of where you work on changing this *thing*

And then you have Autism Moms™ who believe they have earned the right (or just do so because they think they can) who co-opt the *thing* and use it in their “warrior name”.

And not forgetting:

We also WALK for the *thing*
We are TOUCHED by the *thing*
We are AFFECTED by the *thing*
Parents LIVE with the *thing* and FIGHT against the *thing*
Apparently we SUFFER from the *thing*
And sometimes the *thing* is even an INTRUDER.

And if that isn’t enough, we also say this *thing* must be solved.
We must figure the *thing* out until all the pieces of the *thing* fit.
We use a missing puzzle piece to represent the *thing*

What the ever loving fuck is this??

Calm the fuck down and just for a moment, Listen to Autistic People.
Not just me, you bunch of whiners, the Autistic Community.

When you say “Child with Autism” it reaffirms that it is this separate undesirable *thing*.

WE are saying Autism, is part of who we are.
It is part of our identity.
Autism can’t be separated or walked with or left at home.


So think about what message you are sending to the child?

Think about every time you say “with the *thing*”  – the *thing* being an integral part of who they are, it reminds them:

“Oh yeah… that’s right. The *thing*. The bad *thing* I must stop doing that *thing* otherwise I won’t be loved…”

This isn’t even a *thing* !!

It’s part of us. It’s part of your child.
There is nothing wrong with being autistic. What is wrong is how society has made everyone FEAR autism. And this all leads to harmful therapies (ABA) and discrimination and abuse of autistic people.

It’s like being overweight. Society has us starving ourselves and having surgery because we’ve told being fat is the worst thing in the world you can be. Is it really?  The focus should be HEALTH and not SIZE, don’t you agree?

(And no whiny people, I’m not comparing being autistic to being overweight. I’m using it as example of how society has told us this is undesirable.)

So please, rethink about how you refer to autistic children and autistic adults.

It’s not a *thing* It’s PART of who we are and I’m tired of listening to the world tell my children and I, that who we are, isn’t enough. Because fuck you, it is.

❤ The Bullshit Fairy


F is for Fear of Autism - Autism Acceptance Month










3 thoughts on “Why You MUST Stop Saying “Child with Autism”

  1. This. A thousand times this.

    You, sir or madam, deserve a huge round of applause from me, your fellow autistic subscriber, for this passionate post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words Cristina ❤

      My pronouns are she/her but thank you for not assuming my gender 🙂


  2. THANK YOU for writing this!! Booooy the AutismMomsTM will be PISSED, but perhaps that’s a GOOD thing 🙂 I’m with you all the way!!


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