There are two different camps when it comes to how to refer to us autistics. Person first is how most professionals refer to us. It means you are a person with autism instead of an autistic person. They think it is less offensive and there are people on the spectrum who agree with them. For myself and many other autistics I have met, we prefer identity first language. Identity first is saying someone is autistic rather than they have autism. Saying you “have” something sounds like a disease you are trying to cure. You don’t say a person with gayness instead of a gay person or a person with tallness instead of a tall person. Why should autism be any different? In fact, it pervades every inch of my life. It literally affects my fucking neurological system.
I think neurotypical people focus on labels a lot and how they might offend people. I personally think either way is ok and I wouldn’t correct you if you said I have autism. But when I write and advocate, I will always use identity first language. I am autistic and so proud to be.