Person First

I’m not sure where and when it happened along my journey of being an advocate for kids with special needs, but it happened and it has really stuck with me whenever I hear people talking about others with challenges.

It’s the whole ‘label’ thing and it really makes me perk up and want to speak up!

There is a strong tendency to label a child with special needs; that autistic kid, the aspie, the cp child, the down’s child….that adjective may describe what is happening medically, but it is not who that person is…they are a child first and that is what I want to talk about a bit.

Some may say it’s just a case of semantics, that it’s just a way to describe a child and their needs….but I would like to encourage you to be aware and a bit more conscious about the use of those labels.

Think about it….think of a dysfunction that you have. We all have them. Put that adjective in front of your first name.  Is that how you want to be addressed? Whether it is shy, overweight, underweight, abrasive….whatever the negative label. That is what is being done to a child that has a special need.

They are being identified by that dysfunction, not the fact that they are a person first.

What can you do differently? A child with Autism can be called just that….A CHILD with Autism. Or better yet…get to know them and call them by their name.

They are a child first, with the same passions, desires and dreams that every other child on this beautiful earth has and wants to achieve.

This is an encouragement to think before you speak….just a change in the order of how you phrase the person you are talking about and being more cognizant of what you are portraying to others. Because really, you don’t know who is listening…you may be encouraging your own child to be thoughtful in how they speak about others that may be different from them.

Modeling this to the world can be life changing….for them and the  ones to whom they are speaking.

Just think about it.

Leave a Comment