Person-First Descriptors

In one of my education courses, we learned about “person-first descriptors”. Example: I am not the lupus-woman, I am the woman with lupus. She is not the disabled student, she is a student with a disability. Subtle but significant.

You are not defined by your disability. You’re a kaleidoscope, a butterfly, whatever- you are NOT just your disability. Don’t get mired down in that nonsense. Do not define yourself as “the arthritis girl”, “the always-exhausted lady”, the “disabled guy”. No. You’re the girl who’s in school and crochets and sucks at singing; you’re the guy who’s smart in politics, is a lightweight drinker, and still calls his mom “mommy”.

You are not just your disability. Develop yourself as a human being- I volunteer, babysit, have craft hobbies, travel, foster kittens…

All those motivational speeches at pep rallies still apply, disability be damned. Go out and do stuff.


One thought on “Person-First Descriptors

  1. K Royal @HeartofPrivacy December 20, 2015 at 7:22 pm Reply

    This is so right. Charis is currently in the process of competing in pageants. She, who is disabled and advocates for the disabled, had not learned of the person-first descriptions. I learned of it 15 years ago or so and am usually very conscious of how I describe people and myself. It is absolutely about the person first who has a disability, not being defined by your disability.


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