Our words are powerful. There is no doubt about that! Have you ever noticed that we so often remember the negative things that have been spoken over us?
When I was a teenager, I had “bird legs.” Who am I kidding, I still have birds legs but I so clearly remember someone making fun of me when I was about 14 and I still get a little self conscious about my legs sometimes!
Person first language was created as a reminder to us all that we are not what has happened to us. We are not to be known by a diagnosis or label. We are people, created with purpose and there are no limits to what we can achieve. Doesn’t that inspire you? But what if that wasn’t what you heard most of the time?
Many individuals with special needs hear things such as;
An Autistic Child
He’ll never read
He can’t talk
That deaf girl
People first language puts the person first, above any diagnosis
So, the autistic child would be a child who has autism. The blind boy would be a boy, who is blind.
It seems so simple but it really makes a difference! So often we forget that people who have special needs, are people! They have feelings. Much of the time they understand much more than they can communicate.
Let’s remember to always put people first and use words that encourage and build up, instead of tearing down.