Person First is an initiative to combat ableism & promote inclusion and kindness by putting people first.
What is ableism?
Ableism is the discrimination of and prejudice against people
with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior.
What does ableism look like?
Ableism can look like talking to a person with a disability like they are a child, talking about them instead of directly to them, or speaking for them.
Ableism can look like using the accessible bathroom stall when you are able to use the non-accessible stall without risk of injury.
Ableism can look like holding a meeting or event at an inaccessible venue, therefore excluding some participants.
What does ableism sound like?
"This is lame."
"You're acting so bi-polar."
"Are you on the spectrum?"
"That girl is insane."
"They suffer from a disability."
"Are you off your meds?"
Phrases like this imply a disability makes a person less than and that disability is bad, negative or a problem to be fixed, rather than a normal, inevitable part of the human experience.
How can you combat ableism?
Words are powerful tools to combat ableism and promote inclusion. Use your words to make sure everyone feels seen, heard and included. Here are somethings you can do everyday:
Don't speak on behalf of someone with a disability unless they explicitly ask you to.
Know the difference between person first language and identity first language:
Person first language says “a person with a disability.”
Identity first language says “a disabled person.”
People have different preferences when it comes to person first language and identity first language. If you don't know what someone prefers, ask.