Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Do You Put People First?

I don't often call people on political correctness stuff because I know we all make mistakes and often, we spend our days trying to retrain our brain not to say phrases we've been saying since childhood.


When it comes to intellectual or physical challenges, it's an entirely different ballgame. I'm tired of reading articles, studies and blogs classifying people as their affliction rather than as a person.

Say I want to write a story about a brave young man who has AIDS. I want to tell you about some of the incredible fundraising he does, how he's changed perceptions of AIDS patients and how he's left a mark on the world. Do I call him an AIDS kid? Heck no. He's a boy, a boy who happens to have AIDS.

Or maybe, I want to tell you about the 20-something young man with Down Syndrome I talk to on the bus everyday. Do I call him a Down's kid? Again, heck no. He's a wonderfully entertaining and bright young man who is affected by (or with, depending on your view) Down Syndrome.

Yet everyday, I read stories about this autistic boy or autistic girl. So I ask, why are we labeling him or her as a problem first, then a person?

He or she is a person first, no ifs, ands or buts about it.

My son has autism. My son is affected by autism. He is not autism itself and I will never allow it to come before him.

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