Lessons from Autistic Hoya

Lessons from Autistic Hoya

This fall I started my teaching licensure/masters program in Special Education. I am in a program, at the University of St. Thomas – Minneapolis, called Collaborative Urban Education (CUE) . As a graduate of the CUE program I am required to be proficient in person-first language (identifying the person before the disability). While person-first language is generally accepted, a blogger I follow, Autistic Hoya, has opened my eyes to a critique of person-first language.

After perusing Autistic Hoya’s blog a bit more, I found a really interesting piece on ableist language. What I found most intriguing was a list of insults that were NOT ABLEIST. Often times we are told, or tell others, of things we canNOT say.¬† Although I feel wrong getting excited over insults, it is refreshing to see that someone has worked hard to provide a list of alternative language. It is helpful having replacement language for words that are so rampant in our society. When confronting a person about abelist, or insulting language, having an alternative can make it easier for both parties.

If you find yourself in need of an insult:

Non-ableist language:
Always respect an individual person’s preference for identifying or describing xirself.

For insulting people:
Asinine
Extremist
Ignoramus
Ignorant
Inane
Incomprehensible
Insensible
Insipid
Irrational
Obtuse
Overwrought
Petulant
Reckless
Ridiculous
Solipsistic
Unbelievable
Unconscionable
Unintelligent
Unthinkable
Unthinking
Vapid
Vile

Here are examples of person-first language:
For describing people with disabilities/disabled people in general:
Disabled
Has a disability
With a disability
With a chronic health condition
Has a chronic health condition
Neuroatypical
Neurodivergent

For describing people on the autism spectrum:
On the autism spectrum
Autistic
With autism [if preferred by individual]
Aspie [if preferred by individual]

For describing people with intellectual disabilities:
With an intellectual disability
Has an intellectual disability
With a cognitive disability
Has a cognitive disability

For describing people with sensory disabilities or impairments:
Blind
Low vision
Deaf
Hard of hearing

For describing people with physical or mobility disabilities:
With a physical disability
With a mobility disability
Uses a wheelchair
In a wheelchair
Uses crutches
Uses a cane
Uses a walker
Has [specific condition here]

 

What are you thoughts on person-first language?

Did you find this list of insults helpful?

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5 thoughts on “Lessons from Autistic Hoya

  1. Blake says:

    Those mostly seem like SAT words to me; I can’t help but feel like there is a huge class component involved here.

    Like

    • sonyakuzy says:

      Blake, totally agree. I had to look some of these words up. However, I do appreciate Lydia taking time to research the history of ableist language and importance of linguistic microaggressions.

      Like

    • Lydia Brown says:

      I’ve actually recently revised and expanded the list, as several folks pointed out the class and education privilege in the original list. Thanks!

      Like

  2. safialaura says:

    This is so great! I work with people with developmental disabilities, and am actually constantly on the lookout for this kind of stuff. So interesting. And I also love the list of insults! I really appreciate how smart they are, and it’s a big reminder to check the language we use on a regular basis and how that might be affecting people. Thanks for this!

    Like

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