Wednesday, September 14, 2011

People first language

September marks the beginning of the school year here in the northeast.  I wanted to take this time to speak about an issue that is dear to my heart.  It is called people first language.  It is a way of speaking that places the person before the disability: the student with CP, the child with Autism, the little girl with blond hair who has Down syndrome.  It may seem like a subtle change, but to the child and their parents it is huge.  

"People First Language (PFL) represents more respectful, accurate ways of communicating. People with disabilities are not their diagnoses or disabilities; they are people, first."
-From the website Disability is natural

As you enter the schools with your children this year, listen to the way people are talking around you.  Many adults are not even aware of this movement.  Maybe this is a small change you can make in the way you speak.  And once you do, then your children will follow.  And think of how wonderful our world could be if we all started to think of people before their disability, color, religion, age....whatever other way in which people are discriminated.

p.s.  The Deaf community generally still prefers to be know as Deaf, not as a person who is Deaf.  This is due to the strong community and cultural ties they have in the Deaf culture.
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