Effort to curb offensive language against the disabled underway

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A local organization is sparking a movement to get people to focus on person-first language when addressing the disabled.  Children’s Therapeutic Language Center, or Children’s TLC, located at 3101 Main Street in Kansas City, MO, is sponsoring the “Label Me Able” campaign.  They want people to begin addressing those with special needs as a person first rather than addressing them by their disability.

“It fosters respect in the community and when we all see each other as humans, we’re able to move forward and not have stereotypes or dehumanize each other,” said Deniece Crutcher, an ABA Implementer and therapist with Children’s TLC.  “They definitely are stereotyped a lot, and when they’re labelled as their diagnosis first, people then tend to see them as not being able to achieve as much as they actually are able to achieve.”

For example, many people might say “He’s an autistic child” or a “Special needs child”.  Crutcher said that type of language can be offensive when you say their disability first. She says instead, you should call them “A child with autism” or “A child with special needs”.

“No one likes to be labelled as anything.  We all want to be seen as human beings and being labelled as a child or an adult versus being labelled as a condition or a diagnosis,” Crutcher said.  “It holds them back from thinking they are like anybody else. And if a child can see themselves as another child that might be more typically developing, then they see that they can achieve the same things as that other child is achieving.”

Children’s TLC serves around 300 children ages 12 months to 8-years-old by offering educational classes and therapy.  They are asking everyone to support this new person-first language campaign on facebook by liking their “Label-me-Able” page, or by using the hashtag #labelmeable on Twitter.

To find out more information on this campaign, you can go to childrenstlc.org .

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