Does Language Matter? Identity-First Versus Person-First Language Use in Autism Research: A Response to Vivanti

Monique Botha, Jacqueline Hanlon, Gemma Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In response to Vivanti’s ‘Ask The Editor…’ paper [Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 50(2), 691–693], we argue that the use of language in autism research has material consequences for autistic people including stigmatisation, dehumanisation, and violence. Further, that the debate in the use of person-first language versus identity-first language should centre first and foremost on the needs, autonomy, and rights of autistic people, so in to preserve their rights to self-determination. Lastly, we provide directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021

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  • person-first language
  • identity-first language
  • rights-based approach
  • autism
  • stigma
  • discrimination
  • human rights
  • Person-first language
  • Autism
  • Identity-first language
  • Rights-based approach
  • Stigma


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