I say, words are everything to me. They are the means by which I take raw experience and process it into a reality that I can understand, learn from, grow from.
In the same breath, I scoff at what I call “semantic battles.”
Words are my connection to this world. They are so much more than just descriptors of what is… they actually shape what will be.
Yet, I care little whether you refer to me using person-first language (person with autism) or identity-first language (autistic person), because the choice of lexicon has no bearing on who I am.
Which is it, kid? How do I reconcile this?
I don’t, yet, in theory. In practice, it is through words, through writing this, that I begin the process of reconciliation.
Perhaps therein lies my answer.