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Why we use people first language

April 2nd, 2019

Categories: News

At Little Dreamers, we come across many different individuals, with many different qualities, abilities and circumstances.

How we identify people is not defined by their disability or illness, and although we’re continuing to learn, we’d like to share something we find extremely important.

Why do we choose to identify with people first language?

People first language involves identifying the person before the disability or illness they have.

Rather than disabled person, the term becomes person with a disability.

Autistic person becomes person with Autism.

Downs person becomes person with Down Syndrome.

And so on.

We believe that people first language allows individuals to not be bound by their situation. It creates a layer of perspective: They are not a disability or illness. They are a person with a disability or illness.

Just as people without a disability wouldn’t use ‘non-disabled’ as a defining quality, we believe those with a condition should not be pigeonholed as such.

People who have disabilities and illnesses are, first and foremost, people with individual likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies and quirks. We believe these are the things that define them most, as much as they define a person without a disability or illness.

People with disabilities happen to make up the world’s largest, most unique, and diverse minority group. It’s a beautiful, fascinating and often unexpected population that we love to support and learn more about each day.

It’s also true that disability is not an inherent negative. We’ve encountered so many people with disabilities and their carers who wouldn’t change a thing.

We’re extremely proud of how far society has come in accepting disability, mental and physical illness, and addiction. However, long-lived stereotypes are difficult to dispel.

We believe that using the right words demonstrates respect and understanding and encourages others to look beyond what they may be first conditioned to see.

By placing the person first and the condition second, we are no longer confining an individual to their disability or illness or allowing it to define them as a person.

And, if you’re not sure, it never hurts to ask!



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