Statement on language and participatory research

We recognise that there are differing perspectives and preferences of individuals in the Autism community when it comes to Autism identity language.

Our research shows that many people with lived experience of Autism prefer the use of identity-first rather than person-first language (Bury et al., 2020; Kenny et al., 2016). We do also acknowledge that some people with a diagnosis of Autism prefer person-first language. Where it is practical, we use each individual’s preferred language.

For more detail on OTARC research into language preferences, see Dr Simon Bury’s 2020 paper summary.

Language paper summary

In communications intended for a general audience, OTARC will avoid:

  • the use of ‘disorder’ and ‘condition’
  • using ‘deficits’ when describing characteristics and traits associated with Autism.

Examples of Language


  • Autistic
  • Autistic person


  • Person with Autism
  • Person on the Autism spectrum