The terms we use

These are the terms and words that we use on our website.
We understand that everyone has their own preferences, but we feel that these terms and definitions are currently the most accepted ones in the UK.
We will regularly review the language that we use.

  • Identity first language – we use the term autistic person, rather than person with autism (which would be person first language). Although both are in use, identity first language is generally preferred in the UK by autistic people (Kenny et al., 2016). In case studies, interviews and direct communications, we will respect an individual’s stated preferences.
  • Gender neutral language – we endeavour to use language which is non-sexist, gender-fair and inclusive. In case studies, interviews and direct communications, we will respect an individual’s stated preferences in references to themselves.
  • Work or employment – we use these terms to encompass any activity which is meaningful to the person undertaking it and contributes to their wellbeing. This may be paid or voluntary, full or part time, undertaken independently or supported.
  • Neurodiversity – this refers to the diversity of human brains. A neurodiversity approach considers that diverse neurological conditions are the result of natural variation.
  • Neurodivergent – is used to refer to a person whose neurocognitive functioning is different from the typical i.e. predominant neurotype. Neurodivergent people include autistics, dyslexics, dyspraxics, etc.
  • Predominant neurotype – describes a person whose neurocognitive functioning conforms to the dominant type.
  • Social model of autism – this considers that if an autistic person has difficulties fitting into society or employment, it is because barriers have been put in the way which cause these difficulties and that these should be removed. For example, if using public transport during busy periods is a problem, allowing flexible working hours would allow someone to travel to work outside busy times and eliminate the issue. The social model values neurodiversity.
    The alternative, medical model, assumes that the problem lies with the person, not the environment or conditions it imposes and that the person themselves must change.

Please contact us if you have any comments or questions.


Kenny, L., Hattersley, C., Molins, B., Buckley, C., Povey, C., & Pellicano, E. (2016). Which terms should be used to describe autism? Perspectives from the UK autism community. Autism, 20(4), 442–462.

If you have any comments or suggestions for us, please contact us