Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 for 21: Guest Blogger on People First Language

In the blogging world (and Facebook world) you meet a lot of wonderful people and today, I am pleased to announce that my cyber friend Christie is guest blogging here on The Chronicles of EBB.

Christie from Welcome to Taylorville writes about People First Language.  Do not know what that is?  Then read on!

One of my biggest pet peeves since giving birth to my son is the inability some people have in referring to him a kid with Down syndrome. So what do these people call him?
1. Downs
2. Downs kid
3. Downs person
4. Downs baby
5. Down syndrome
Do you see the pattern here? 
So what is wrong with saying, "Oh, is he Downs?" Or saying, "He is such a cute Downs kid." Or how about, "I know a Downs person and they are so loving." I could go on and on, but, you get the picture. The problem with these sentences is the fact that, not once, was my child, Joseph, ever mentioned. He was never personified in these sentences. This is NOT people first language. 
For instance, if you had cancer, I would never call you "that sick cancer person" or "Cancer Cathy" or ask "Oh, are you cancer? That is just awful"... If I were to refer to your illness (or whatever) I would say, "Cathy has breast cancer" or something to that effect. 
So when you are out and about doing whatever it is you do each day and you are talking about a kid with Down syndrome, a baby with Down syndrome or a child with Down syndrome and you feel the need to bring Down syndrome into the equation be sure to put it in it's proper place and that would be as the secondary numerator's holding place and NOT after the equal sign. Yes, my son is a person first and the equation should look like this

Joseph + Down syndrome = Joseph 
and not like this
Down syndrome + Joseph = Down syndrome. 
Down syndrome is secondary in all things in my home, Joseph is Joseph first and always. We just got the added bonus of Down syndrome :0) 



  1. Excellent! Short and sweet and to the point, no confusion whatsoever. Great job to Christie!!


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