Thursday, March 26, 2009

He is Down Syndrome - not

When I first heard of people first language, it seemed a too politically correct. However, the further we get into this journey the more it makes sense.

This morning, I talked with a gentleman with an older child with DS. He said "my daughter is Down Syndrome." And then talked about someone else who "is Down Syndrome." It bothered me, a lot.

Driving home, I got to thinking about people first language and how someone isn't a label and that they are so much more than a label. Nick isn't Down Syndrome, he's Nick. But, I'm also guilty of not using people first language. Nate has a friend who's bipolar, or rather has bipolar disorder. We have another friend who is dyslexic, or rather has dyslexia. Both of these children are so much more than their disorders or disabilities.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Our Nicky doesn't have an "explain all" diagnosis, which means it's not as easy to stick a label on him and think you've told people something. But I catch myself up sometimes wanting to say something but not wanting to -- "he has a speech delay."

But the thing that caught me first when I saw your post is that recently we were talking about our Nicky's delay, and it really seems like he doesn't have a first language -- English is something he's learning as most people learn their second language. Not completely, but a lot of his grammar mistakes make more sense when you think he's translating from some inner Nicky speech which doesn't have the same conventions.

I hope our Nicky's can meet up sometime. Or, really, I hope WE can meet up sometime and hang out while we watch the Nicks and the other kids play.