What are the Words?

board-1106649_1920Language matters! The words and phrases used to describe your children matters. Person First Language is when we talk about people first, and their need or label second. It is important that your sons and daughters are seen as people, rather than by their medical or developmental diagnosis. Too often, the language we use causes the label to stand out, rather than the child.

We would never call someone a “cancer person”, so why label someone as a “disabled person”? Instead, we always want to acknowledge the child first, such as: Sue who has autism, John who uses a wheelchair and Greg who has dyslexia.

I remember meeting with a teacher who stated she had “two behaviourals and a Downs” in her classroom. Her statement clearly showed that the three children had become lost and devalued under their labels and stereotypes.

As families, you are educators every day to the community around you. People watch and listen how you refer to your sons and daughters. They learn from you. Let’s keep talking about Sue, John and Greg and make sure that their learning needs are just a tiny part of who they are!



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