Best Practice

Using positive language to support Autistic children

Inclusion SENCOs
The language we use when working with Autistic students is important and is one of the most common areas of practice with which speech and language therapist Emily Lees supports teaching staff...


The advice I give most often to educators is about language – namely the power of language to effect change. I like the simplicity of this message.

Changing our language is one of the easiest things we can do to reduce stigma about Autistic* people – and it’s free!

We all have it in our power to change the language we use on a daily basis, and this can make a significant difference to the Autistic children in our care. We also have a duty not to perpetuate the oppressive narratives that can exist in wider society.

It is easy to dismiss the language we use and regard this as less important than our actual practice, but language shapes our beliefs and attitudes and is one, simple, practical way we can start to dismantle the ableism and stigma we see in society which views Autistic people as being “failed neurotypicals”.

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