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PEOPLE FIRST LANGUAGE

People First Language is putting the person before the disability.  It is eliminating old, prejudicial, and hurtful descriptors that move us in a new direction. Once a person/group has been identified this way, it makes it easier to justify prejudice and discrimination.

People First Language is not political correctness; instead, it demonstrates good manners, respect, the Golden Rule, and more—it can change the way we see a person, and it can change the way a person sees themselves!  Our language shapes our attitudes; our attitudes shape our language; they’re intertwined. And our attitudes and language drive our actions!

Here are a few quick tips:

— Do not label people by their disabilities (ex: autistic, epileptic). We have disabilities, but it does not define who we are. We are people first and should be appreciated for our individuality.

— Avoid negative words that imply tragedy or pity, such as afflicted with, suffers from, victim.

— People with disabilities are not abnormal or unhealthy.

— People use wheelchairs to allow them to have more mobility and freedom.

— If you are not sure of the correct term to use, just ask the person with a disability

For more information on person first language and new ways of looking at disability, visit http://www.disabilityisnatural.com.