How do you talk about Down syndrome? In this world of politically correct oversensitivity, it seems every time you turn around there are new rules for what's ok to say, and what's not! How do you keep it all straight?
When you're talking about people who have disabilities, it's pretty easy. It's called "People first" language.
If you remember the person comes first, and not the disability, you're gonna be ok! When I talk about my child, she is just that...a child. Her disability, while it is a part of her, it does not define her. If I were to stand her in a group of her peers, you would not be able to pick her out. She is a person first, her disability is not the the first, or even the second or 3rd thing you see. (well, I guess this depends upon who you are, because I just don't see it anymore.)
Here are some common comments, and their "people first" counterparts.
"I have a Down syndrome child who is 14."
"I have a child with Down syndrome who is 14."
"My sister has a Downs baby! He is so cute!"
"My sister has a baby with Down syndrome! He is so cute!"
"I hear you're adopting a Down syndrome child. Where are you adopting from?"
"I hear you're adopting a child with Down syndrome. Where are you adopting from?"
"I teach special education and have lots of Down syndrome students in my classroom."
"I teach special education and have lots of students who have Down syndrome in my classroom."
"Disabled students should have the same rights in school as all other students!"
"Students who have disabilities should have the same rights in school as all other students!"
"Downs kids are so sweet and loving!"
"Kids who have Down syndrome have the same range of emotions as everyone else."