An autist or autistic

Super Saiyan

Senior Member
Cantonese
Hi, a child with autism is called ‘autist’ or ‘autistic’ as a noun? Or both are fine? e.g. He is an autistic. Thanks
 
  • Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    I think one aspect of PC language is to prefer adjectives to nouns when talking about diabilities. Disabilites are one aspect of a person they do not define the person.

    I see. So it’s offensive to call someone who is autistic an autist as a noun.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I wouldn't say it's an insult, just that I've never come across "He's an autist [noun]."(let alone "He's an autistic [noun]."), only "He's autistic [adjective]."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As a noun "autistic" and "autistics" are relatively common but mainly found in academic papers and writings.
     

    Aguas Claras

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I wonder if it is becoming more common to say a "person with autism" rather than an "autistic person", in the same way as it is now considered preferable to say a "person with a disability" rather than a "disabled person". This link: Guidelines for Writing and Referring to People with Disabilities – REACH, Inc. says:
    "5. Emphasize the individual not the disability. Rather than using terms such as disabled person, handicapped people, a crippled person, use terms such as people/persons with disabilities, a person with a disability, or a person with a visual impairment."
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    There are two separate issues here. One is that the noun 'autist' never was in common use. We say or said 'an autistic person', with an adjective. The second point is, on top of this, it is now considered preferable to talk about people with X rather than X people - the condition X shouldn't define the person. But that is minor, in this case, compared to the fact that 'autist' always was a rare word compared to the alternatives.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Since I haven't heard the word before, my natural reaction to it is that it coincides with something like violinist, or soloist or artist.

    It sounds like he is a practitioner of some art form.
     

    Dictatortot

    Member
    English - American South
    "Autist" is indeed a word, with plenty of precedent--I've seen and used it before. However, some English-speakers consider it a trifle blunt, and would rather hold the term at arm's length by substituting a lengthier phrase. This has probably become general among younger speakers.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Since I haven't heard the word before, my natural reaction to it is that it coincides with something like violinist, or soloist or artist.

    It sounds like he is a practitioner of some art form.
    Yes, or something like arsonist, extremist, etc.

    Autism, and expecially autist, is a misnomer anyway. A person on the spectrum in question is not full of themself or uninterested in other human beings, and autism is not caused by emotional problems or parental issues.
     

    LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    Hi, a child with autism is called ‘autist’ or ‘autistic’ as a noun? Or both are fine? e.g. He is an autistic. Thanks
    The information you need is already supplied in the discussion above, but I fee the need to summarize it. Neither of your choices is idiomatic English or the correct term to use. A child with autism is called a child with autism.
     
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