The “people-first language” rule
Barrier-free communication has a simple rule: we should choose words that recognize the person first and foremost as the primary reference and not their traits or characteristics. That is, when talking about someone, we should refer to the person first, and only then mention his or her traits (if we need to mention them at all). Examples of people-first language include such phrases as “a person with a disability”, “a person with cerebral palsy” or “a person with Down’s syndrome”. When we use phrases such as “a disabled person”, we narrow down the person’s whole existence to one single trait. Of course, each and every one of us is much more than a diagnosis or any other single characteristic.
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