Saturday, January 10, 2009

People First Language

Posting for my friends and family:

From the National Down syndrome Congress

The correct name of this diagnosis is Down syndrome. There is no apostrophe
(Down). The “s” in syndrome is not capitalized (syndrome).
An individual with Down syndrome is an individual first and foremost. The
emphasis should be on the person, not the disability. A person with Down
syndrome has many other qualities and attributes that can be used to describe
Encourage people to use people-first language. “The person with Down
syndrome”, not “the Down syndrome person.” A person with Down syndrome is
not “a Downs”.
Words can create barriers. Recognize that a child is “a child with Down
syndrome,” or that an adult is “an adult with Down syndrome.” Children with
Down syndrome grow into adults with Down syndrome; they do not remain
eternal children. Adults enjoy activities and companionship with other adults.
It is important to use the correct terminology. A person “has” Down
syndrome, rather than “suffers from,” “is a victim of,” “is diseased with” or
“afflicted by.”
Each person has his/her own unique strengths, capabilities and talents. Try
not to use the clich├ęs that are so common when describing an individual with
Down syndrome. To assume all people have the same characteristics or abilities
is demeaning. Also, it reinforces the stereotype that “all people with Down
syndrome are the same.”
Here are some basic guidelines for using People First Language:
1. Put people first, not their disability
• A “person with a disability”, not a “disabled person”
• A “child with autism”, not an “autistic child”
2. 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
3. Emphasize abilities, not limitations
• A person “uses a wheelchair”, not “wheelchair-bound”
• A child “receives special education services”, not “in special ed”
4. 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

1 comment:

Jill said...

my pet peeve is "Down's kids"
The other day in the dentist office, my husband had to fill out a form for our daughter. He noticed that one of the options to check was whether or not the person being treated had Down's Syndrome. He asked them to correct the form.
Thanks for putting this on your blog-good stuff!