Down Syndrome & People First Language

Today's lesson is about language and words. #1 People First Language

Would you believe I didn't even know about how effective and awesome "People First Language" was until about two years ago when my uncle explained it to me? I know - - - seriously!

So, the specific example at hand is this: a person is not a Downs. A mother doesn't give birth to a Downs baby.

No, instead consider that child may be born with Down syndrome. My son has Down syndrome. He is not a Downs.

Do you see the difference? It's subtle. Again, I admit, this was pointed out to me. Thankfully, because it really makes a world of difference. And, like a former smoker, I've become pretty vigilant about it.

The R Word Evolution

I’ve heard people use the term retarded, retard, or ‘tard in casual conversation and when I register it, it feels like a pinprick to my sensibilities. I try not to feel offended. One time, however I worked with someone who tossed the word retarded around anytime she made an error or became annoyed by someone else. I took it in stride as an idiosyncrasy of hers. One day, however, she made an error or forgot something and instead said “Call me Corey,” something something… Suddenly it was all different to me, when she spoke of retarded she meant a person with Down syndrome. Wait a minute. That’s not a casual disregard, that’s hurtful and wrong. That’s not cool.

2015-02-24T18:39:41-06:00Categories: Grown Ups & Downs|Tags: , |3 Comments
Go to Top