“Autistic” or “with autism”? How do scholars discuss us?

IFL vs. PFL Language Incidence in Google Scholar Results (w/ citations)
IFL vs. PFL Language Incidence in Google Scholar Results (w/ citations)
A 10-Year Retrospective

I’m doing some data gathering and crunching around the use of person-first language (PFL – e.g., “person with autism”) and identity-first language (IFL – e.g., “autistic person”). I’ve searched Google Scholar for the number of incidences of the words “autistic” vs. “with autism”, and I found that the latter has been trending up, while the former has been trending down.


Here’s a sample link for the queries I’ve been running, so you can see for yourself:


I’m not sure what happened in 2014 that cause the downward shift in identity-first references. I suspect this is “delay” effect from a lot of research that was kicked off several years prior. Maybe people got funding for studies, and they stuck with the titles they chose, when they first applied for their funding.

This is the first of many charts / graphs I’ll be generating over the coming weeks, as part of a study I’m doing about the prevalence of IFL vs. PFL as regards autism. I’ll have more details about the methods I’m using, the terminology I’m searching on, my content sources, etc.

I’m pretty wiped out from the past week, so I can’t get into discussing this in-depth right now. Just check out the graph above… I find it fascinating.

Aside from my general exhaustion, I’m clear about where I need to go with my job situation. I seem to have gotten “un-stuck” from some flaws of logic that were weighing me down.



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