“Autistic adults” or “adults with autism”? Whom are they/we researching?

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

Annnnddd here we go… Research on autistic adults (that uses the terms “autistic” or “autism”) has actually been more voluminous than that of adolescents. I suspect that the use of Aspergers for teens had partly to do with that. But it also begs the question — if so much research has been done on autistic adults, all these years, why are we still struggling? Why indeed?

Here’s another view of the numbers:

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

Again, having the two lines be the same weight does tell a more balanced story, but even so, it’s very clear that in research circles, person-first language is preferred. Maybe that’s what gets funded. It’d be interesting to know how many research proposals were submitted with identity-first language. But I don’t have access to that data.

I find this so interesting — again — because it shows very clearly where the sentiments lie – in the realm of person-first language. And even though in 2013, there was a relative jump in the use of “autistic adults” (likely in response to the deprecation of Aspergers and our surge in conscious, deliberate “autism pride”… still, the use of person-first language really outnumbers the identity-first terminology.

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

When you consider how many adults are getting diagnosed, these days, and how much more visibility there is, I expect the 2017 numbers to jump, actually. I’ll have to re-visit them at the end of the year / next year. Then again, there is some sentiment that if autistic adults have been “managing” all these years, there’s not so much need to extend support and services to us.

Again, that’s another extended conversation for another time.

For now, let’s just look at the numbers…

Advertisements

What do you think? Share your feedback - and feel free to share this post!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s