Saturday, October 29, 2011

People Second

Do you know what People First language is?  I'd be willing to be a full 50% of people reading my blog don't know...and I consider that a good thing.  When you have a baby with Down syndrome you learn a lot very fast.  What it is.  What goes along with it.  Heart, thyroid, nose, ears.  Therapy.  And the proper way to talk about Down syndrome and people who bear the extra chromosome.  (Now I know I'm gonna shock some here)  I don't get it.  Why in the world do we need a set of rules about the proper way to talk about Down syndrome?  The theory is that it shows respect, but the way I see it requiring people to speak with "People First Language" puts the people second.  By making a set of rules that must be followed you are now putting more focus on words and language than you are on the human being you're supposed to be talking to or about.
By having a set of rules that must be followed in order for no offense to be taken you are going to make people so worried about saying the wrong thing that they will say nothing at all which really doesn't help with inclusion.  People first language basically has to do with grammar, and I really don't see how grammar can be insulting or demeaning.  It says that you should always put the person first and the diagnosis second.  Person with Down syndrome instead of Down syndrome person.  I really don't understand why its a big deal.  There are also rules about Down syndrome versus Downs syndrome.  And people get really uptight about it all.  I just have to fall back to what I said before...speak respectfully and in love and you can't go wrong.
The term Downs baby does not bother me.  That is what Reagan is.  And I don't want anybody to worry about us getting offended because they don't "know the rules".


Jenni said...

I am totally with you on this, and think you put it perfectly. We're so happy to have discovered beautiful Reagan as a new blog friend!
To answer your question - Grace has made some new sounds but the more obvious change is her reaction to sounds. It's a clear change. She's younger than Reagan though, and I've heard many stories of immediate changes in both hearing and vocalizations. Good luck! I'm sure it will go well, and it will be over before you know it!

Jennifer Scott said...

Amen. I don't get easily offended by what people say either. As long as they speak beautifully about & to my little man..... and to my daughter for that matter..... I don't give a rat's behind what they say.

Jennifer said...

She is so cute! I can't believe how big she's getting!

Linda said...

I'm not easily offended either. And I think your daughter is absolutely gorgeous!