Who Wouldn't Want To Be Put First?
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Who Wouldn't Want To Be Put First?

Imagine, for a moment, if you weren't.

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Who Wouldn't Want To Be Put First?
Newham London

Everyone likes to think that they are being put first. Whether it is your family or friends, it’s nice to think that you are being put above all else. But imagine if you, as a person, were not being put first. What if people pointed you out by your characteristics, rather than identifying you as a person first: “that awkward girl?" It doesn’t feel so great, does it?

If you are in a helping profession, such as Counseling, Rehabilitation or Occupational Therapy (to name a few), you know that what I am referring to is called person first language. In person first language, you are putting an individual before their disability. Instead of saying “the wheelchair-bound boy," say, “the boy who is in the wheelchair." Instead of “the autistic girl”, say “the girl with autism."

Even though it seems like a little flip of a sentence, you are making a huge difference in the individual’s life. You are empowering the individual and proving that they are more than just their disability. You are crushing the stigma that with this disability, the individual can only do so much. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that just because an individual has a disability, doesn’t mean they are limited. People with disabilities are able to do the same tasks as people without disabilities, they just do them differently.

According to World Bank, 15 percent, or one billion people, of the world’s population, are disabled, making person first language very important. Chances are, you will encounter someone with a disability every day for the rest of your life. Today it’s more common to see people with disabilities in the media than in the past. They are Olympians, models, news reporters and actors and actresses.

Many people do not understand what person first language is and its importance, but don’t worry, you are not alone. Big news stations, such as CNN, are still using headlines such as “United Airlines Apologizes After Disabled Man Crawls Off Flight”.

By educating yourself and others about person first language, a lot can be affected. By using person first language, you are slowly, but surely, making a difference in this world. You are combating the idea that people with disabilities are limited. Headlines across multiple news stations will be changed. Most importantly, you are empowering the individual.

Hopefully next time you encounter a person with disabilities, you’ll think twice about the words you use.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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