Person first language: puts the person before the disability or disorder; A person living with paralysis.

Identity first language: puts the disability or disorder first in the description; An autistic person.

As a person who lives with a physical disability, there have been times when it was difficult to discern where my disability finished and where I began. At those times I wanted the option to identify with a small community of people who I knew could understand and relate. I wanted to identify as a disabled person. Further on in my disability journey I need the option to create some distance between me and my diagnosis and identify as someone living with a spinal cord injury.

As an advocate for inclusion and humanism, I see people first. From the view of an advocate, disability is like a shadow. The person must exist before their shadow can be thrown. With this in mind it is empowering to remember that you are a person before you are a diagnosis.

As the sibling of someone living with an intellectual and physical disability, I am never sure what I want. The advocate in me wants to show the world how brilliant my brother’s abilities are. The little sister in me wants to protect him from judgment and misunderstanding and that side of me wants to scream “HE IS DISABLED”.

There are some heated debates going on around this topic at the moment. One of which is surrounding a name change to an international non-profit organization. These debates are…



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To read the rest of this article please visit the original post as this is only an excerpt as the original article is currently not available for full republication.

This article excerpt was sourced from the website Diversability blog (summary only) and the original article can be found at Person first language versus identity first language: Does it have to be one or the other?.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I personally think too much stock is put into words rather than the intent of the words but words are indeed powerful.

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