Monday, February 28, 2011

People First Language

"A person with Down syndrome." It seems like an easy thing to say, but many times the person in that sentence is forgotten and the diagnosis becomes the label.

Here are some basic guidelines for using People First Language from the NDSC:

Put people first, not their disability
  • A "person with a disability", not a "disabled person"
  • A "child with autism", not an "autistic child"

Use emotionally neutral expressions
  • A person "with" cerebral palsy, not "afflicted with" cerebral palsy
  • An individual who had a stroke, not a stroke "victim"
  • A person "has" Down syndrome, not "suffers from" Down syndrome

Emphasize abilities, not limitations
  • A person "uses a wheelchair", not "wheelchair-bound"
  • A child "receives special education services", not "in special ed"

Adopt preferred language
  • A "cognitive disability" or "intellectual disability" is preferred over "mentally retarded"
  • "Typically developing" or "typical" is preferred over "normal"
  • "Accessible" parking space or hotel room is preferred over "handicapped"

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