We should avoid any discrimination against disabled people, even if it’s avoiding the ableist language in research papers. The CDC has estimated that about 2.1% of adults are on the autism spectrum, this was the first estimate carried out earlier this year. The researchers who have autism have been talking and writing about the use of ableist language for a long time, but the researchers who don’t have autism are probably not familiar with their work. So, an effort should be made to make sure all researchers understand the importance of avoiding ableist language.
The ableist language can be simply defined as any language that marginalizes disabled people. Examples of such language could be referring to disabled people as a burden or having a disease. The context in which the words are used is of extreme importance too and determined whether the language is discriminating or not.
The autism researchers need to consider this issue and must understand that they might be hurting disabled people’s sentiments. They need to ask themselves questions to see if their language is ableist or not. They should ask themselves, will they use the same language if they were talking to an autistic person, do their language somehow shows autistic people to be inferior to non-autistic people, and do their language suggest that autism can be fixed.
The researchers shouldn’t use specific words or phrases just because it’s a tradition in their field, especially if any autistic person objects to the use of such language. The goal of their research should be to promote behavioral control and normalization.
They should make little efforts, so they can avoid hurting disabled people. If they will write, talk, and communicate in a way that’s not ableist, the ideologies about autism might shift. This could be a big step in reducing the marginalization of disabled people. The professionals who are hired to help disabled people often get guidance from the researchers, and it’s meant to be helpful. But, it won’t be of much help if it aligns with the ableist ideologies.