'People First language' treats everyone equally

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:48 AM

Natisha Miles


I am a student at Utah State University in Logan, and I am participating in an Interdisciplinary Disability Awareness and Service Learning class. In this class I continually learn about policies, history, and appropriate treatment towards those with disabilities.

I have learned in this class about “People First Language.” For example instead of saying, “that blind girl” or “the autistic kid” or referring to someone as “handicapped.” We would say, “she is visually impaired” or “he has been diagnosed with autism” or “people with disabilities.” (Attached are further examples of people first language that have been very helpful to our class in learning this concept).

I recently read an article in the Standard-Examiner that did not follow this criteria. First of all it was entitled, “A map for including disabled students in sports.” The People First Language way to phrase it would be, “A map for including students with disabilities in sports.” This recognizes them as students first, rather than the disability. There were four other times in this same article that this language could have been implemented in placing students or athletes before the word disabled.

This letter is simply to inform you of this important language that is used to treat others the way we all want to be treated, equally and with respect. I ask that in the future the Standard-Examiner can be more aware of People First Language when writing and distributing articles about people with disabilities.

Natisha Miles


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