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The Power of Words for Families

A Thought from Cara….Words are powerful! The disability field is full of labels and language. A lot of the old words like “retarded” and “handicapped” are offensive, and worse is that they make people feel badly about themselves. Currently, the term “disability” is probably the most current and accepted.

Person First Language is when we talk about people first and disability second. It is important that your sons and daughters are seen as people, not by their medical diagnosis. We would never call someone a “cancer” person, so why label someone as a “disabled” person? Sue has a disability. John has a disability. They are people first and foremost!

As families, you are teachers’ everyday to the community around you. People watch and listen to how to you refer to your sons and daughters. They copy how you talk.   They learn from you!

Cara Milne owns M-Powered Planning Ltd a company that provides training and consulting to staff and/or families who support people with disabilities. For further information on training and workshops contact her at: