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Preferred Language Guide - National Down Syndrome Society



While the bulk of our work is with the elderly, we have many times assisted individuals with special needs.

A friend of mine posted this information on the preferred language for referring to Down Syndrome and people with Down Syndrome, which I was grateful for.  A lot of times people do not mean to be disrespectful, but do not know the best way to refer to a person with special needs.

See some of these facts and more on the National Down Syndrome Society's website:

  • 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.

See more at: http://www.ndss.org/Down-Syndrome/Preferred-Language-Guide/#sthash.80jWixMf.Wo2PDfob.dpuf

 

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