Monday, October 17, 2011


because it is down syndrome awareness month i thought i would write a little on interacting with someone with down syndrome, or any disability for that matter. so here are the formalities:

what is people first language?
when speaking to or of someone with a disability it is important to remember that they are people not their to break it down, camden (the person) has down syndrome...instead of the down syndrome boy or downs child. i try my hardest to remember this, but as most people i wasn't ever introduced to this until i had camden, so please know with all of these formalities i never take offense...but as a parent of a child with down syndrome i do try to educate, especially since many people do take offense and it's best to try and be educated when talking to someone about a subject. with is also important to remember that people with down syndrome are just that...people, that they experience every human emotion, not just happiness, and quite frankly my toddler is getting really good at throwing tantrums that might end the world as we know it.

down syndrome vs. downs syndrome...
in the united states it is considered politically correct to refer to camden as having down syndrome, not downs syndrome or downs...however in the united kingdom and other places throughout the world it is still known as downs syndrome. the reasoning behind this difference is that down syndrome was named after john langdon down, the british physician who discovered it. in britain they note is as downs to show possession. and in the u.s. we have removed the possessive form: "In 1975, the United States National Institutes of Health convened a conference to standardize the nomenclature of malformations. They recommended eliminating the possessive form: 'The possessive use of an eponym should be discontinued, since the author neither had nor owned the condition.'"
(again i am not ever offended, just a formality to me really, however it is the preferred language)

the "r" word...
so i know i was guilty of using the word retarded in my youth, and probably even right before i had camden...because i didn't ever really think about it. however, the word retarded is a medical term that has gained a negative meaning because of the slang use of the word. so...of course i would love to never hear the word again...but i know that i will, and all that i can do is advocate against the use. personally i don't take offense when i hear it in the slang use, because i know that it isn't meant for camden, and really, because i don't personally think of camden as retarded...even if the medical community does. but i do back the movement to end the slang use of the word and hopefully one day we, as a community, will think before we speak in general, and not just when using the word retarded but any word that has a meaning for someone else that might be taken as offensive.

and finally...i know i am not a good teacher when it comes to this, since i choose not to capitalize anything on my blog, and really try hard to ignore good use of sentence structure in general...but, the proper way to write down syndrome is to capitalize the d and use a lower case s....Down syndrome.

so there you go...what i know about the try and incorporate them! and ps...i know i am guilty of being uneducated when it comes to other things and how to speak about or approach other topics that might be sensitive to others, because i haven't ever been in their shoes, but i do cheers to making ourselves more aware of others and their unique situations, but i promise you don't have to walk on egg shells over here...because i know that the best way to combat ignorance is education.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post. Another great one! (and you taught me somethings so for that - cheers and thanks1)


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