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What do you think - 'autistic child' or a child 'with autism'?

(165 Posts)
everynameistaken Tue 27-Aug-13 23:23:04

Not posted for a while. But just asking this as I sometimes come accross this at work. I prefer to say thay my DS has autism rather than DS is autistic.

Taking over some work from a colleague and all over the paperwork is says 3 autistic children and it kind of gets my back up a bit. I want to start as I mean to go on and say 3 children with autistic spectrum disorder.

Without sounding too AIBU, am I being unreasonable??

Am I overthinking this? Is it just me it upsets?

zzzzz Wed 28-Aug-13 00:46:49

I like child first then disability, but I do have slight misgivings. When I read "child with autism" it does somehow sound like an illness. confused

Sorry, not really helpful

Lampshadeofdoom Wed 28-Aug-13 00:50:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thornrose Wed 28-Aug-13 00:53:23

I say my dd has Aspergers but then inevitably end up saying "she's autistic" when I see this face confused

BeeMom Wed 28-Aug-13 03:29:56

I try to use "person first" language myself, but don't generally correct others.

Because I work with Special Olympics, putting the person before the disability is at the forefront, so it is likely more of an issue in my mind than most. I will admit, I bristle a bit at phrases like "Down Syndrome child" or "CP kid" but instead of pointing out the difference, I just use it the other way and hope that they pick it up.

I'd rather have it seen that Bee "has" her disability or diagnoses than she "is" her disability, kwim?

PolterGoose Wed 28-Aug-13 07:42:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

salondon Wed 28-Aug-13 09:55:35

I personally use 'has autism'/'has a diagnosis of austim'/is non-verbal etc.

I dont correct others becuase when they say 'is autistic', it automatically tells me how they think. On the weekend a top paediatric nerologist said 'so x is autistic' and corrected herself looked very embarrased. That told me she comes from the dark ages. (She was more concerned about statement than looking at my child's MRI!)

ArthurPewty Wed 28-Aug-13 09:59:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MovingForward0719 Wed 28-Aug-13 10:24:16

I say he has autism. I don't like it if people say he is autistic but I don't really take offence, as it is possibly something I may have said before my life was affected.

SummerRain Wed 28-Aug-13 10:32:12

I use both to be honest. Ds1s ADHD and ASD are integral parts of his personality, like it or not, so saying he 'is' them is accurate in a sense.

I'm not as keen on 'the autistic/downs/cp child' being used as a descriptor though as that does sound off to me but I don't think I'd correct anyone unless the statement was accompanied by other language which indicated a mindset of only seeing the disability instead of the child.

zzzzz Wed 28-Aug-13 10:39:10

Funnily enough now you mention epilepsy, I always say dd has epilepsy and never she is epileptic. I think I have my "stance" on this as a result. If ds ever gets an ASD dx [exhausted] I will say ds has ASD. thanks

Iwantacat Wed 28-Aug-13 10:58:36

A child always comes before the disability! My child's name is x who has autism, not autistic child who's name is x!! It actually drives me potty!

post Wed 28-Aug-13 11:05:27

I actually prefer 'is autistic' for ds, although I use both. I suppose it feels more like 'who he is', rather than 'has a condition' although it's been a gradual shift for me ( he's 14 now), I used to say 'has autism'.

But I certainly have no judgement or preference for what anyone else uses. Just for him, with his awareness and curiosity about who he is, about who else is 'like him', about why is he brilliant at some things and finds other stuff hard, it feels more 'out and proud', iyswim?

I think preference among autistic adults who are able/ wanting to say what they prefer varies, too.

RippingYarns Wed 28-Aug-13 11:08:42

I much prefer DD 'with autism', but describe certain behaviour as 'autistic'

She is a person first and her traits are an add on

post Wed 28-Aug-13 11:27:24

Yes, and I'd agree that among professionals the ones I've encountered who say autistic rather than 'has...' have actually tended to be the ones I liked less!

But, and I'm not arguing at all here, I'm interested, and questioning myself, too, as I try to find my own path, I describe my other dcs and myself as 'being NT' not as having nt traits, etc. Is that because we don't think that there's anything 'wrong' with being nt, but there is with being autistic?

I find I'm nervous as I ask this smile . Again, I'm not too invested in this; I'm just really welcoming the chance to discuss it rather than making it up by myself.

RippingYarns Wed 28-Aug-13 11:37:59

That's a very good point, post.

I think it's to do with pre-empting a person defining my DD by her disability, that they would see or look for her autism before her as a person

post Wed 28-Aug-13 11:47:06

Yes, I get that. And because so often that is the thing that's hurtful or unhelpful then it makes sense to pre-empt it.
And come to think of it, that might be why I still use 'has autism' sometimes; it's when I'm trying to do just that with people who I don't trust to see HIM. Whereas when I'm talking to ds, or to people who know and love him, it feels good to celebrate, or at least not to play down, one of the things that makes him him.

PolterGoose Wed 28-Aug-13 11:48:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 28-Aug-13 11:58:38

Person first, though I admit it has taken experience and practice myself and even still I sometimes slip up.

Almost always now when I hear someone else say it, it grates a bit, but nothing like my own guilt if I say ds is autistic. It somehow feels disloyal.

Also, I don't like labelling in that way. I see ASD as a bit of variable and moveable thing. DS won't ever be without it, but how it affects him changes. If I say he 'has it' it feels more like he is 'affected by it', rather than it IS him.

HisMum4now Wed 28-Aug-13 12:17:26

Or maybe it is very simple. If we are comfortable with the fact we should be comfortable with the word. For example: "this DC is generous", "this DC shows generosity". Do we have strong feelings about the different use of words in this example?

ArthurPewty Wed 28-Aug-13 12:23:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArthurPewty Wed 28-Aug-13 12:27:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Wed 28-Aug-13 12:29:52

The two things ( "this DC is generous", "this DC shows generosity") don't mean the same thing to me.

I do think it is about my perception of the attribute (which is rather a revelation to me, and I'm not urge what to do with it IYKWIM).

IS left handed, bright, good looking, diabetic, nervous

HAS ASD, epilepsy, hyper-mobility, cancer, a short temper


zzzzz Wed 28-Aug-13 12:31:07

Sure! Not urge.

ArthurPewty Wed 28-Aug-13 12:31:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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