Language is powerful.

I am so over the way we use language around kids, especially kids with disabilities. I am a really picky parent at IEP meetings, and make them reword things to be more respectful of my child. If I never hear any of these terms & phrases again, it will be too soon —

  • behaviorally challenged
  • severe kid
  • highest functioning / higher functioning
  • low kid
  • low-functioning
  • low intelligence
  • emotionally disturbed
  • intellectually disabled
  • he knows what he’s doing
  • bad
  • brat
  • he’s nonverbal
  • obsessive, ritualistic, rituals

Terms I prefer (some of them more than others):

  • person-first language (child with a disability)
  • with significant delays
  • developmentally young
  • prefers structure & routine
  • special interests
  • child with challenging behavior
  • he has difficulty with (lagging skill, environment)
  • child with (name the mental health concern explicitly!)
  • requires a high level of support

And what I really love:

  • Child with (strengths!)
  • Child with (needs!)
  • Child with (talents!)

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