On Identity- First and Person- First Language

Our team is aware of the ongoing debate in both the autism community and the disability community more broadly about what type of language should be used and we respect that there are a variety of well-founded experiences and opinions driving individual preferences in this debate. We want to be transparent about how The S.T.I.M. Project has made our language choices and why we have done so.

The S.T.I.M. Project uses both identity-first (autistic/autistic people) and person first (person with autism/people with autism) language interchangeably. They are never used with the intent of harm, offense, or personal attack.

Current research shows that on average people with an ASD diagnosis prefer identity-first language over person-first language with recent studies showing this preference to be the case for between 82-87% of autistics [Source | Source]. Research also shows that 9 out of 10 people with autism are more likely to use resources that use identity-first language and that the same preferences are generally held among the majority of parents, siblings/relatives, autism professionals, and educators [Source].

We recognize that there is no universal label or term that can be used to refer to our community in a way that pleases everyone. This is true even among our team members who have varied personal preferences about language use. We hope that everyone understands that regardless of the language we use to refer to our community, we never intend harm or offense. While we will generally use identity-first and person-first language interchangeably, we will always be respectful of any indicated language preferences of an individual when talking with or about them.