What is the difference between Person-First Language and Identity- First Language?

Today I finally got to get a glimpse of one of my classes. Admittedly, it is quite an interesting lecture about Autism Spectrum Disorders

As the lecture went on, there was one question that really caught my attention and that is what was Person-First Language and Identity- First Language.

If I had not been to the lecture, I would have no idea what it actually meant. Although the name itself is quite explanatory, I would have guessed wrong. So, What is Person-First Language and what is Identity-First Language?

Person- First Language

Person First Language is a way of addressing or emphasizing the person before the disability. 

Basically, you begin to address the person first and then the disability after. Phrases you use include “ A person with Autism.”, “ A person with an intellectual disability.”  or “ A person with a disability.”

Identity-First Language

On the other hand, Identity-First Language emphasizes disability as a part of one’s identity such as a dyslexic person or an autistic person.

Identity- First Language is a way of showing that there is nothing wrong with the person. It is just their identity and that it is what and who they are.

They are no more or less than the rest of us. We are just wired differently and that it is just a part of us. 


According to CDC, it is said that Person-First Language is used to appropriately and politely addressed people with a disability; however, one of the blogs I was advised to read before my lecture argued that an individual with Autism should be addressed as an Autistic person as it is a part of their identity. 

Having read his blog, I felt so relatable. I understand why he does not want people to use Person- First Language to address him.

I have also gain more understanding with regard to the distinction between people with autism and autistic people. 

If anyone of you has any other suggestions and comments, please let me know. I would really love to learn and discuss more about this.


Have a great day.