Language is a powerful tool. Beyond a word or phrase’s literal definition, the way people use language can often include all sorts of stereotypes and subtle messages.
This is why it’s so crucial for a person to be aware of his language and recognize how it might affect another person.
Person-first language is the idea that society should focus on the essence of an individual—the fact that he is a person—and not more irrelevant factors like a person’s cognitive or physical abilities. A person with Down Syndrome versus a Down Syndrome person perfectly encapsulates this point; why should this individual who might be funny, smart, creative, ambitious, and/or athletic be limited to one simple aspect of his identity? Recognizing that a person is a person first and foremost allows society to focus on the many things that that individual can contribute to those around him—the fact that he might have Down Syndrome is just one part of it!
I PLEDGE TO USE PERSON-FIRST LANGUAGE
Now is my chance to enter a raffle where prizes will be drawn weekly!