Wednesday, February 20, 2013

People First Language

This is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. People First Language - putting the person before the disability. I have read about this on almost every blog I have come across. At the beginning, I wasn't particularly bothered by one's lack of knowledge on PFL. I heard it countless times..."Down's kids, "These kids", "Ds babies". I think you get the point. Medical professionals are the worst about this. They feel a need to clump my son into a group that is defined by its diagnosis. He is no longer Camden...he is a Ds child. As more time goes by, the more I understand why this is a problem. The more I hear it, the more defensive I get. I don't want people to see my son as a diagnosis. Camden may have Down syndrome...he is NOT Down Syndrome. Something I read on a blog a while back (I wish I could remember which one so I can link it) explained it well. When a child is diagnosed with leukemia you don't refer to them as "the leukemia boy/girl". You simply say the child with leukemia. The same applies here. Ds does not define Camden. He will have his own personality, abilities, strengths and talents just like a typical child will. I am not naive, I know that Camden having Ds will make things more difficult for him. I know he will have to work harder (much harder) just to achieve the things you and I take for granted. I know that there are health risks involved. I also know that he is a person first.

Now please do not think that you have offended me in any way. Don't try and go back and remember if you have said the wrong thing to me. I am only trying to educate. I will be the first to admit that I am quite certain I have used the phrases I mentioned above. I have taken care of many children with special needs (including those with Ds) and I know I have probably said the wrong thing many of times. So, for future reference, Camden is NOT:

-Down syndrome
-A Down's baby
-A Ds kid
-One of these kids

Camden is just Camden, and he happens to have Down syndrome.

On a side note, a few people have told me that they couldn't comment unless they were signed in to some sort of acct. I think I have fixed this to where anyone can comment, hopefully!


  1. You truly are inspiring and I hope nothing but the best for you and your PERFECT little family!!! I hope Camden continues to do better!
    much Love, Shae Glover.

    1. Thank you Shae! I'm happy that you guys are in our lives and I know that Camden will learn a lot from Jacie and Keetin. See you soon!