People First Language – Part Two
The risk in writing this post is that people will become so flustered or overwhelmed that they will not talk to or about people with disabilitites. The risk in not writing this post is that people with disabilities will continue to be defined entirely by their disability and made to feel broken. Language matters. It communicates respect and value. People first language is not a vain attempt to sound politically correct. People first language is exactly what is sounds like – put the person first. She’s not that Downs girl. She’s a girl with Down Syndrome. A diagnosis is something you have, not who you are. My son is not confined to his wheelchair because it gives him freedom. Aidan uses a wheelchair. Here’s one that was new to me: deaf or hard of hearing is acceptable. Hearing impaired is not. And please hear this: The “R” word is being written out of legislation. Don’t use it. Just don’t. You used it or heard it in 3rd grade on the playground so walk away from it as an enlightened adult. Kathie Snow has said it much better than me so please read this article. Then, print out and share the pledge. I double dog dare you. Let me know if you do.
“Your Words, Attitudes, and Actions Impact My Life More Than My Disability”