So, I changed up how I’m looking at the data on identity-first (“autistic”) vs. person-first (“with autism”) language. And I’ve added in some data for what I consider neutral language — “on the autism/autistic spectrum”. It seemed more accurate to me, to include that, so here’s what I found after a number of hours, yesterday.
Above. you can see the overall percentages of terminology, relative to each other. References to “with autism” (PFL) far outweigh references to being autistic or being on the spectrum. This is a review of scholarly literature, so that’s to be expected, I suppose.
Above, you can see the overall trends in terminology. I find it interesting that the “with autism” dropped around 2013, while “autistic” seemed to jump a bit. Aspergers references dropped slightly, after a minor surge in 2013 — probably because it was deprecated and removed from the DSM-V in 2013. References to Aspergers may have been replaced by references to “autistic”.
I like the line chart above, because it shows the rise in “with autism” language. I may go back to the timeframe before and after the legislative appeal to use person-first language. I suspect it would show some interesting results. Maybe another day. Or week. Collecting this data takes time. Plus, Google Scholar was blocking me, because my very efficient link generator apparently set off some alarms about me being a bot.
Ha – if only…
I also looked at overall trends of PFL (“with autism”, “with Asperger’s Syndrome”, etc), IFL (“autistic” sans the references to “spectrum”), as well as neutral language (“on the autism spectrum”). There seems to have been a surge in neutral language from 2013 on, I guess when people couldn’t refer to Aspergers anymore, but they maybe didn’t want to call people “autistic” because of the ramifications or perception of it being a slur.
Here’s another look at that data, which shows the overall amount of talk about us. I find it so interesting that all this research as more than doubled in the past 10 years… as well as looking at how researchers refer to people like me. I believe there’s more research being done on what different areas are being researched, but I don’t have insight into that initiative.
Now that I have numbers I’m happy with — had to back up and rethink things, when my results were looking questionable — I can start digging into this some more. We all feel differently about how we’re referred to, and what we’re called — I just find it so interesting to study the people studying me and others like me, to get some insight into what they’re actually up to, how they conceptualize people like me, and exploring ways that we might actually address inequities and injustices which are sometimes unintended consequences of science.
It’s all so very interesting…