Person first Language

Chat with others about dyspraxia and share your experiences.

Which term do you prefer?

Person with dyspraxia
Dyspraxic person
Don't care
Total votes : 30

Person first Language

Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:27 pm

I've been reading about the debate within the autistic community about whether to use the term "people with autism" or "autistic people" and I was wondering what people on DT think about it.

Person-firt language is making sure that the word "person" always goes first when talking about diabilities. Eg. "a person who is deaf" instead of "a deaf person", "a person with quadruplegia" instead of"a quadruplegic", "a person who communicates non-verbally" instead of "a non-verbal person." The idea is to combat the de-humanisation of disabled people by emphasising humanity. There is a good website about it here:

However, some people believe that this language denies the fact that disabilities/impirments are part of who people are.

Jim Sinclair wrote:Saying "person with autism" suggests that the autism can be separated from the person. But this is not the case. I can be separated from things that are not part of me, and I am still be the same person. I am usually a "person with a purple shirt," but I could also be a "person with a blue shirt" one day, and a "person with a yellow shirt" the next day, and I would still be the same person, because my clothing is not part of me. But autism is part of me. Autism is hard-wired into the ways my brain works. I am autistic because I cannot be separated from how my brain works.

Read his whole article here: ... m_Sinclair

Then there are people who think the whole debate is a waste of time. I agree that there ar emore imortant issues, but langauge is important because it shapes how people view others. Degrading language leads to degrading attitudes, which cause degrading behaviour.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby Steph » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:38 pm

Personally I refer to myself as a dyspraxic and autistic person and I will usually refer to my friends with these conditions in this way. However, at work, everyone has to use person first language. At first, I thought it was just pedantry but then a member of staff explained during a training session that it's not fair to describe our students as epileptic because the packets of the medication they are on are often emblazoned with labels saying, "Anti epileptic drugs" and, as this member of staff said, "We're not anti the person-we're anti the seizures!" In fairness, if there was a drug packet emblazoned with "anti autistic drugs", my opinion would be different in terms of how I refer to myself. Nobody wants to feel like other people want to get rid of them. This probably doesn't make much sense because I'm really tired but it makes sense in my own head.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby Steph » Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:40 pm

Also at work, instead of non verbal, we refer to students as pre verbal if they don't use speech as it indicates that they may still be capable of speech in years to come whereas non verbal sounds like they have been written off. I'm not sure I agree with that but that's the ethics of the workplace.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby fraser » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:59 pm

I respect that some people will feel differently, but I have to admit that personally, I don't mind. I do think, though, that since it might offend some people it's better to err on the side of caution.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby Cynamon » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:09 pm

I personally don't care how I'm referred to in that respect. I did have a big thoughtful answer planned... but I forgot it once I started writing. :oops:

Re: Person first Language

Postby Creative » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:05 pm

When I went to a support group for people with aspergers syndrome then sometimes they said they had aspies instead of aspergers.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby Ben Jackson » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:06 pm

I voted for the 3rd (on list of choices),
Another one that people with Dyspraxia could be is some one with learning disability.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby Brian » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:41 pm

Once they are not offensive I couldn't care less.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby k9ruby » Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:31 pm

I really do not care. I don't really care for OTT PCness.

Dyspraxic vs person with dyspraxia = same.

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Re: Person first Language

Postby parnassus » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:42 am

I prefer 'dyspraxic person', but only because it is more concise and I don't see the point in using three words where you could use two.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby C » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:41 pm

I don't really mind either, to be honest.
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Re: Person first Language

Postby Alice » Tue Jun 16, 2009 7:31 pm

The way I see it, dyspraxic pepole have poor fine motor skills and therefore usualy very slow, labourious hadwriting. The irony of putting "person with dyspraxia", which has 4 unnecessary letters in it, is on a par with putting an "s" in lisp. As a dyspraxic person with a slight lisp, I feel this is too much irony at my expense.

Seriously though, I don't really care. I think pepole get themselves too tied up in the politically correct way of saying things. I genuinley do just go with whatever's easier to say/write for most things, and it's not just because it's hard to write too much, I just don't understand why pepole have to constantly watch everything they say when everyone already knows there not being derogatory.
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