In the following blog post, our featured author Darrius Frazier, a member of the Autism Society of America’s Council of Autistic Advisors, uses person-first language.
Because Autism and the experiences of living with Autism are myriad and unique, and individuals who self-advocate have preferences about how to describe their identity, we always recommend asking an individual what their preference is. The Autism Society honors and recognizes that both identifiers are valid for individuals, our practice is to start written materials with person-first language and use identity-first language as a secondary reference after the opening use.
As a person of color within the Autism spectrum, currently residing in central Illinois, (a rural part of the state), I am fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to network with organizations that specialize in providing services for people with various types of disabilities and help them find employment. For nearly a year, I worked with one of these organizations, which helped me find a job at a national pizza chain. However, I was not satisfied when, only ninety days later, the company stopped providing all the support services I was receiving.
One thing I wish our employers would know is that many accommodations do not cost anything, like sensory considerations, communication preferences, and scheduling. Also, many states offer subsidized support for job coaches and other support people to help train and support if needed. Many employees with Autism are loyal, hardworking, and eager for the opportunity to work.
The way we can best support employees with Autism is to provide them with network opportunities with different businesses that are willing to provide accommodations and support for people with disabilities when necessary. When assisting in helping people with Autism find gainful employment, have them create a resume if they haven’t done so already. In doing this, you will be able to find the strengths of the prospective employee and direct them to the business that would help them grow as an individual as well as an employee.
Read Darrius’ Bio here.
Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are a reflection of the author’s personal experiences or preferences and do not reflect the opinions of the Autism Society of America.