Dear Self-Respecting Media. As a parent of a child with a disability and a lifelong advocate for many individuals affected by disabilities, I implore you to use first-person language when presenting your news stories. I see at least one a week and most recently two last week that used the phrase “special needs _____.” You need to know that the extent of the need does not define the person and in fact it enriches and affects everyone who comes into contact with them. The correct way to present these individuals when you choose to feature them to inspire others is to say that the person is affected by ______. This is an equalizer, because as I said, the disability affects everyone who interacts with the individual.
My daughter and the people I serve in my job deserve to grow up in a world that will see what they have to offer. Do them a favor and set an example by not defining them first by what they can’t do.
Kristi Young, Boise