Today I am going to share a few things about the preferred language surrounding DS. I have made it very clear that I'm not affected much by the language of other people, but there are families and individuals out there that are. And maybe someday Tera will be affected by the language of other people too and so for everybody else, I want to share a guide of preferred language from the NDSS. If you feel so inclined to share something from this month with others about DS awareness, I just ask that you consider including this guide. People with DS are just that: people first.
So here it is and I promise I will return tomorrow with something more creative.
USE THIS LANGUAGE WHEN REFERRING TO DOWN SYNDROME AND PEOPLE WHO HAVE DOWN SYNDROME:
- People with Down syndrome should always be referred to as people first. Instead of "a Down syndrome child," it should be "a child with Down syndrome." Also avoid "Down's child" and describing the condition as "Down's," as in, "He has Down's."
- Down syndrome is a condition or a syndrome, not a disease.
- People "have" Down syndrome, they do not "suffer from" it and are not "afflicted by" it.
- Down vs. Down's - NDSS uses the preferred spelling, Down syndrome, rather than Down's syndrome. While Down syndrome is listed in many dictionaries with both popular spellings (with or without an apostrophe s), the preferred usage in the United States is Down syndrome. This is because an "apostrophe s" connotes ownership or possession. Down syndrome is named for the English physician John Langdon Down, who characterized the condition, but did not have it. The AP Stylebook recommends using "Down syndrome," as well.
- While it is still clinically acceptable to say "mental retardation," you should use the more socially acceptable "intellectual disability" or "cognitive disability." NDSS strongly condemns the use of the word "retarded" in any derogatory context. Using this word is hurtful and suggests that people with disabilities are not competent.