We need autism to be a part of the collective conscience. We need people dialoging all the time about autism. Those of us directly involved do that anyway. We need the others; the elusive and rare untouched among us to start talking. And you know what? When we fight within the community and get hung up on the semantics of it all; we scare them away.
I don't wish to diminish a person's right to be called 'autistic' or a 'person with autism' or a "free lovin' hippie" for that matter. You can choose your moniker in my view and you can relax when someone else chooses theirs. People can be afraid to talk about autism because they are afraid to offend someone. For the sake of the conversation could you allow these differences to live together for now? The divide within the community works against us. This isn't news, right?
I understand the power of language. I understand that words and phrases change meaning. I also understand that when you make the conversation controversial people will decide to stay out of it. They don't feel prepared to talk about it. They've heard or seen someone crucified for forgetting to use person-first language or they're timid to enter the conversation.
Now, I am the first one to call out someone for saying something rude or insensitive (on this blog anyway, because I am too chicken to do that in person) but I feel that we are placing this topic so far out of of reach of the average person when we assign strict and ridged rules to the discussion.
If someone is being kind when they approach the topic then they are doing it right in my book.