Today I saw a tweet about the Educator's PLN group "Autism", I'm assuming in the hopes of getting more people to join the group and engage in discussion about students with autism.
But something bothered me immensely.
And, although I LOVE the shout out and am glad that this group is being supported, we were called...
"Educators of Autistic Students."
I KNOW they are only words. But the words matter.
Why not refer to our students as students WITH autism?
I would rather teach a boy.
I would rather teach a girl.
I would rather teach a child.
I would rather teach a person.
Instead of "that Downs boy" or "those autistic kids" or "you know, that little flapping autistic girl," couldn't we say "the boy with the big smile and huge heart that happens to have Down syndrome?
OR the girl with the beautiful brown curls that has autism?
OR the tall boy with the freckles in your class?
Because they are people FIRST.
They are children FIRST.
And maybe they are just words.
But words matter.
Labels, Be Gone... http://mlkolis.blogspot.com/2010/07/labels-be-gone.html
Spread the Word to End the Word- http://www.r-word.org
People First Language- http://staff.bbhcsd.org/kolism/category/people-first-language/
And here's another opinion from the Washington Times- http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/autism-unexpected/2010/aug/2/autistic-or-person-autism/