Who are the so-called “handicapped?”
Society’s myths tell us they are:
- “People who suffer from the tragedy of birth defects.”
- “Paraplegic heroes who struggle to become normal again.”
- “Victims who fight to overcome their conditions.”
- “The so-called disabled, retarded, autistic, blind, deaf, learning disabled, and more.”
Who are they, really?
- Moms and dads
- Sons and daughters
- Employees and employers
- Friends and neighbors
- Leaders and followers
- Students and teachers
They are people! They are people, first.
Using People First Language is a crucial issue.
People First Language puts the person before the disability! The Disability Rights Movement is following in the footsteps of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the Women’s Movement of the 1970s. While people with disabilities and advocates work to end discrimination and segregation in education, employment, and our communities at large, we must all work to eliminate the prejudicial language that creates an invisible barrier to inclusion in the mainstream of our society.
Examples of People First Language:
|People with disabilities||Handicapped or disabled|
|He has a cognitive or intellectual disability||He is mentally retarded|
|She has autism||She is autistic|
|He has Down Syndrome||He is Downs or Mongoloid|
|She has a learning disability||She is learning disabled|
|He has a physical disability||He is a quadriplegic or crippled|
|She is of short stature or she is a little person||She is a dwarf (or midget)|
|He has an emotional disability||He is emotionally disturbed|
|She uses a wheelchair||She is confined to a wheelchair|
|He receives Special Education services||He is Special Ed|
|Typical kids or kids without disabilities||Normal or healthy kids|
|Accessible parking||Handicapped parking|
|Accessible restroom||Handicapped restroom|
|ADA accessible hotel room||Handicapped hotel room|
Unique to the disability community is that it is the only minority group that any American can join in the split second of an accident.
If it happens to you, will you have more in common with others with disabilities or with your family, friends, and co-workers? Many people who do not now have a disability may have one in the future. Others will have family members or friends who acquire a disability. If you acquire a disability in your lifetime, how will you want to be described? How will you want to be treated? Disability issues are issues that affect all Americans!
“Disability is a natural part of the human experience…”