About 54 million Americans, one out of every five people, have a disability. The language we use and the meanings we attach to those words mold the views of ourselves and others. Using a diagnosis as a defining characteristic is a form of prejudice and fuels negative attitudes towards differently abled individuals. People first language respectfully emphasizes the person before a diagnosis or disability. It eliminates stereotypes and generalizations by focusing on the person rather than the disability. Let’s lead by example and educate those who are unaware. What we say matters.
Amy Grant is a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Autism Specialist and Clinic Director of Therapy Center of Buda.
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