People First Language

1522 words 7 pages
To achieve
and Freedom
for people with disabilities,
we must use

People First Language A commentary by Kathie Snow

The difference between the right word
and the almost right word
is the difference between lighting
and the lightning bug.
Mark Twain

The beginning of wisdom is to call things
by their right names.
- Old Chinese Proverb -
Who are "the handicapped"... the "disabled"?
Society's myths tell us they are:
• people who "suffer" from the "tragedy" of "birth defects"...
• paraplegic "heroes" "struggling" to become "normal"...
• "victims" of diseases "fighting" to regain their lives...
• categorically... "the
…show more content…
A person who wears glasses doesn't walk around saying, "I
have a problem seeing. "She would say, "I wear (need) glasses." Recognize that a "problem"
is really a need.

The real problem is attitudinal barriers.
There have always been people with disabilities in our world
and there will always be.
• If educators - and society at large - perceived children with disabilities as individuals who
have the potential to learn, who have the need to the same education as their brothers and
sisters, and who have a future in the adult world of work, we wouldn't have to fight for inclusive
• If employers - an our society at large - believed adults with disabilities have valuable job skills
(because they received a quality education), we wouldn't have to fight for real jobs for real pay in
the real community.
• If business owners - and our society at large - viewed people with disabilities as consumers
with money to spend (because they're wage earners), we wouldn't have to fight for accessible
entrances and other accommodations.

Many people who do not now have a disability will have one in the future
Others will have a family member or friend who acquires 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!
Using People First Language is a crucial issue.
If people with disabilities are to


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