Frequently Asked Questions



Why do you use the term “autistic” when describing people with autism?

We use “autistic” because many autistic people feel that autism is a defining characteristic essential to their identity. In the community of autistic people and their families we’ve gotten to know, “autistic” is the overwhelming preference. Some data on this point are available from a recent study of nearly 3500 people with a connection to autism in the UK–most autistic adults and family members/friends preferred “autistic.” A really thoughtful explanation of why one autistic adult prefers this identity-first language can be found here. Finally, there is some evidence that the use of person-first language (i.e., “person with autism”) can further stigmatize disabled people. Of course, we recognize that folks have different perspectives and preferences. And we believe that when one has the chance to ask someone how they’d like to be referred to, that’s the ideal situation—because then you can refer to them in the way they prefer. 

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Who makes sure that the studies are ethically appropriate?

All studies taking place in the Jaswal Lab have been through a rigorous review process by UVa’s Institutional Review Board, which consists of a panel of University and community members. This panel carefully evaluates proposed studies involving human participants before they begin (and at least once per year after initial approval) to ensure that the research is ethical, and handles any comments or complaints about the research.

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I have a concern about my child’s development. Can you help?

The Jaswal Lab conducts basic research in child development, and we do not offer individual evaluations. If you have a particular concern about your child’s development, please contact your pediatrician or visit one of the links below.

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Where can I find general information about child development and/or autism?

Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families
U.S. Department of Education, site for parents
Blue Ridge Care Connection
These links are provided for informational purposes only, and are not affiliated with the laboratory or UVa.

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