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People First Language

Words are very powerful. We can all learn to use words with more grace and improve our greater understanding of them. The subject I am covering today is one that is tender and dear to my heart. Today, I want to discuss Person First Language and how you can apply it in your everyday life. I’ll dive head into the phrase “Down’s boy”. Please stay with me, don’t turn away due to frustration with political correctness or defensiveness. I want to you to hear me out, so here we go; When I look at my brother, I see so many wonderful parts of him. His diagnosis is only a small spoke in the whole wheel of him. Addressing people as people first and their condition as a secondary part of them is the core teaching of Person First Language. David has Down syndrome. He is not a Down’s man, or Down syndrome person. He is a person with Down syndrome. Again, it’s one part of him.

Here is a list of examples from the family to family network page that I thought would be a helpful resources for you.

Examples of People First Language 

People with disabilities 

People with intellectual disabilities or he has a cognitive disability 

My son has autism 

She has Down syndrome 

She has a Congenital disability 

He is a person with a seizure disorder 

He uses a wheelchair 

She has a developmental disability 

He has an orthopedic disability 

She has short stature 

He has no speech 

She has a learning disability 

He is a person who has…. 

She has an emotional disturbance 

Typical instead of “normal” 

He has quadriplegia, paraplegia, etc…. 

She receives Special Ed Services

To conclude, my dear brother is made up of so many wonderful ingredients. Only one ingredient is that extra chromosome. I have worked with many children who have various diagnoses. I have learned more from them than I have taught them. They are multidimensional and I believe they have incredible gifts and skills, due to the challenges their conditions place on them. I feel fortunate to benefit from this wisdom they teach me. It might be patience, humor, care, concern, love, hope, faith, courage and also gratitude. Thank you for stopping by and learning something new with me today.

Xo Cyndi

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