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