Person-first or Disability-first language

Let’s start this post with an example of both languages.

Disabled person is disability-first, as it describes the disability that the person has before the gender.

Person who has a disability is person-first, as it puts the gender/fact that they are human before the disability.

Different people prefer different usages. Disability-first, to me, means that a person is defined by their disability, whereas, person-first means that a disability is part of a person.

This all goes back to validation, something I’ve covered in previous posts. Make us feel accepted, not different.

I personally prefer disability-first language, as it acknowledges that I have a disability and says that I view it as an integral part of myself. So I prefer “disabled person” over “person with a disability”, but that’s just me. And yes- this preference changed on Oct 9, 2019.

If you’re not sure which we prefer, ask. That helps combat awkwardness, validates us, and removes a possibility triggering situation.

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