I've derailed another thread already, and seeing that we have a spelling/grammer vent thread - I thought a thread about People First Language was long overdue
People First Language is about recognising that people are people first and foremost.
It's not about Political Correctness (just thought I'd get in first) it's about being respectful and at least polite - it's about manners. It's about being positive.
It's not a fad, it's not the new hip in-words - it's about remembering always that people are people
For many people, attitude makes life harder than a disability can, especially when the attitude is about someone else's extra challenges in life
With the right attitude from everyone, disabilities and challenges can be overcome.
A disability is a medical diagnosis
So, we say - the girl with ADD, the child who has print blindness, a man who is a double amputee WHEN the disability is requried to be discussed - otherwise we talk about the girl, the child or that man over there...
www.disability.wa.gov.au/.../putting_people_first_(id_169_ver_1.0.2).docPutting People FirstWhy use positive language?Disability and Appropriate Language – A Guide
Language reflects and shapes the way we view the world. The words we use can influence community attitudes - both positively and negatively - and can impact on the lives of others.
How we write and speak about people with disabilities can have a profound effect on the way they are viewed by the community. Some words, by their very nature, degrade and diminish people with disabilities. Others perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes, removing entirely a person’s individuality and humanity.
Over the years, people with disabilities have had to endure a variety of labels that serve to set them apart from the rest of the community. Even today, people with disabilities are still identified by their disabling condition – all too often, we hear ‘a paraplegic’ for a person who has a paraplegia; ‘a cerebral palsy sufferer’ for a person with cerebral palsy or ‘a Down syndrome baby’ for a baby with Down syndrome.
This labelling influences our perceptions by focussing only on one aspect of a person – their disability – and ignores their other roles and attributes, for example they may be also a parent, a lawyer, a musician or a sportsperson.
This guide aims to promote a fair, accurate and positive portrayal of people with disabilities. “Putting People First” is a simple rule of thumb – acknowledge the person before their disability.
· Don’t define a person by their disability. We are all individuals with abilities, desires, interests and problems – some of us happen to have a disability.
· Avoid focussing unnecessarily on a person’s disability. If it is not necessary to
acknowledge that a person has a disability, then don’t mention it.
· Portray people with disabilities positively by recognising what a person can do rather than focussing on their limitations, for example, the person walks with an aid, not that he or she has limited mobility.
· Recognise that many of the difficulties facing people with a disability are barriers created by community attitudes and the physical environment. We can all help to break down these barriers by using appropriate language – to be labelled in a derogatory way serves only to perpetuate these barriers.
· Be specific about a person’s circumstances and avoid stereotypes, generalisations and assumptions based on limited information.
· Avoid any word or phrase that has a negative connotation – for example, ‘confined to a wheelchair’ instead of ‘uses a wheelchair’ – or that implies people with a disability are suffering.
· Avoid labels; say person with a disability; put the person first and be specific