Tuesday, October 2, 2012

People First Language

"Just because she's a Downs we don't just ignore the issue."

This statement was made to me by Claire's doctor as we were following up on her liver issues last month.  See the problem with it?? 

Claire is not a Downs.  She is not a Down syndrome child.  She is not Downsy. She is not high or low functioning.  

She is Claire.

First and foremost she is a feisty, independent, funny, and loving two year old.  She adores her sister and taking care of her babies.  Cheese and veggie straws remain at the top of her favorite foods list.  If it was up to Claire, Signing Time would be on the TV all the time at our house.  She rarely sits down to watch anymore, but loves having Rachel as background noise.  Claire can't get enough of talking on the phone, especially to Grandma.  

That is Claire.  No mention of Down syndrome is needed to tell you about the awesomeness that oozes out of her.

Think of it in another way....would you ever call someone cancer man, or diabetes woman instead of using their name?  I doubt it.  If you wouldn't use those words to describe someone else, please don't do it to Claire. While it may seem like a silly request to some, it all comes down to respect.  Claire deserves respect just like everyone else.

If you define Claire by Down syndrome alone, you miss out on *her*.   


  1. Excellent post. I doubt that the doctor meant any harm. I think it is just an awareness issue...people say stuff and don't think. Until you had Claire and I started following you on this blog, I might have said the same thing, unknowingly. The good thing is that you are making us aware and then we can spread that onward.

  2. And I hope you said a thing or two to that doctor. And totally agree with the post. :)

  3. You would think that a doctor would be more well read and sensitive on this issue. Although I know a few doctors when have had terrible people skills and can image they might act the same way sadly.

  4. I personally would have more of an issue with his grammar. "A" Downs? Really?

  5. It annoys me to no end but sadly I never say anything. I love your last sentence, so eloquently put.

  6. An what a beautiful CLAIRE she is!

  7. Lovely post! She IS Claire and I'm glad to be meeting her through you! My daughter Jessie has some pretty strong opinions on the use of language too! http://dsbutterfly.blogspot.ca/2012/10/3121-jessie-flips-about-people-first.html


Thanks for stopping by! I love to hear what is on your mind.