Wednesday, October 1, 2008

People First Language

The first order of business is to get us all on the same page linguistically speaking.

People First language is a movement to help improve the representation and acceptance of babies, children and adults with physical, mental or emotional challenges. By stating who they are first and what condition they have, second, it retains their integrity and value.

For Instance: Lauren is a child with Down Syndrome. She is not a "Down Syndrome baby" nor a "Downs Child". She is a CHILD first and she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.

This may seem petty to you but it bugs the heck out of me (and lots of other people raising children with differences). I know that when people say something like Downs baby that they aren't trying to be insensitive but it would be nice if Lauren and others like her were recognized as children first.

You may be surprised how often you don't use People First language in other areas of your life.

Instead of saying: Did you see the way that ditzy blond cut me off? say instead, "Did you see that woman with blond hair make an irrational choice in switching lanes?

Give it a try - it's easier than you think!

2 comments:

Roy said...

Good thought. I had a similar post a while back about the "Overuse of adjectives" which is what you are describing. Viewing people as people without modifiers can really change one's perspective

Renee said...

I had a lady in the dentist officewaiting area hollar across the room to me "Hey is he a Downsie?" I had never heard the term so I replied very honestly with "uhhh whats that?" She laughed at me and said "You know sweetie, is he downs?" I of course said "He has Down Syndrome if thats what you mean" She says "We have one of THOSE in my family too". I just smiled and ignored her. Thought I am not doing this in front of 30 people I do not know and my two girls whom are 6 and 9. They were devestated and thought the lady was poking fun at their brother.


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