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People First Language

posted Mar 7, 2014, 12:01 PM by Ezra Lockhart   [ updated Mar 7, 2014, 12:05 PM ]
Language is foundational and of utmost importance. Language is the way in which we reason and formulate our thoughts. Language is, additionally, the vehicle in which we transmit thoughts to others. In knowing this, cultures are formed, in part, by language, which leads to communities assembling around language. Language is culture; language is community. As a result, we gain insight into the individual and cultural perspective of the speaker. Their perspective is deeply embedded in their language and the words they choose.

There is significance in choosing to use respectful language regarding disability. It demonstrates that the speaker is not ignorant of the experiences of those with disabilities. It, additionally, demonstrates that the speaker identifies those who experience disabilities as members of the speaker’s community; in doing so, this creates an inclusive community which recognizes, dignifies and humanizes these individuals. I assert that People First Language is genuinely important in shaping the way we think about people and their experience of disability. It is my hope that the utilization of these principles will continue to perpetuate and become widely use in all communities.

Visit Disability is Natural to learn more about People First Language.