Letter: Put the person before the disability



Thank you for the very nice article about John and Lizzie. (A special bond/July 1) What a great story!

I would like to draw to your attention the verbiage used regarding people with special needs. I am the parent of a 30-year-old person with special needs who went to HSE and received her certificate of completion in 2002.

We need to put the people first, not the disabilities. I always speak of my daughter as “a person with disabilities,” not a “disabled person.” She is not a “special needs” case and was never a “special needs student.”

If you look at your article, you will see that most times, the disability precedes the reference to the person. I would just ask that you consider changing your awareness to place the person ahead of the disability. These folks are not disabilities attached to a person, they are people who struggle with physical and mental challenges that typical folks don’t experience.

Thank you for your time,
Judy Ireland


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