People First Language Proclamation
| PEOPLE FIRST LANGUAGE PROCLAMATION
“Person First Language” refers to language that is respectful and promotes dignity. It places a person ahead of a disability he or she might experience. For example, instead of referring to your “disabled neighbor”, you might refer to your “neighbor with a disability”. Consider though whether you even need to refer to the person’s disability. You might think it odd if I tell a story and mention my “blonde daughter”, my “short friend”, etc. So ask yourself, does a person’s disability need to be mentioned? If it’s in the context of services that may require an accommodation-yes, if not-no.
We are all people. We differ in gender, race, education, etc. as well as ability levels. Still we really have more in common than not. As a society, the way we talk affects the way we think and in turn affects our attitudes towards others, thus perpetuating the cycle in a positive or negative way. You are more then the outward views other people have about you-you also are a Person First.
For more information about People First Language, go to http://www.disabilityisnatural.com/peoplefirstlanguage.htm