There’s a discussion going on about how a person should be addressed in this age of fluid labeling. Gone are the labels of Ms. Mrs. and Mr. How old-fashioned!

Now I have to make sure that I’m not offending someone by referring to “that girl” or “this boy.” I though I could go with “child” but apparently some people prefer “offspring” and thus, I am offending that group.

Heaven forbid I use clothing as a way to describe a person. The “girl” with the pink shirt might prefer to be called “individual.” The “boy” in the pink shirt might not be happy with “boy” as a descriptor either. He seems to prefer “man.”

In the Autism (there I go again!) community, people are both claiming and denying the labels. Personally, I go by Autistic. One of my children prefers Aspie. The other prefers no one knows. Then there are the “people with Autism” who are all in with the person first language. Me, well, I’ve been a person longer than I have identified with Autism.  The order of your speech doesn’t affect my life.

But your attitude does. How you treat me does. How you speak with me does. Your words tell me how you feel/believe. Be kind.

Ask me if you don’t know and are worried about offending me. I’ll tell you. Not everyone is as open about their lives, so some may consider your question intrusive. I think the majority will be grateful you asked.

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