Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day Five -- "People First" Language

Just when I think I don't have as much "oomph" or guts or bravery as I would like, I realize I can write a fairly good email. This is not as good as making one's point in person, but sometimes it is pretty efficient. I had met with the editor of a local magazine about its new "Special Family" editions, and we talked about her desire to do stories on families and showcase kids doing activities, etc. It was a good meeting. Several months later, it came out. It was full of phrases like "autistic boy" and "Downs girl". I had to whip out my trusty laptop and fashion a thoughtful email about "People First" language.

I don't remember what I said, but it appeared to be received well. I gave reasons why the child comes first (because he/she is a child first) and then the disability. I gave examples of "boy with autism" and "girl who has Down syndrome", and she thanked me. It keeps me humble to remember my first lesson in "People First" language. It is such a subtle rearrangement of words, yet significantly important.

Who taught you "People First" language and who are you still trying to teach?

No comments:

Post a Comment