The JJs List Blog

What the Heck is Person First Language?

Posted by on March 31, 2017 - 3 Comments

Simply put, person-first language is a way of talking with or about disability that focuses on the person first and the disability second, if at all.  It’s easy! And it makes a difference in effectively connecting with your co-workers and employees who have disabilities.  

Fire Inspectors

Sometimes it’s called People First Language. It’s about dropping words like “retard”, “handicapped” and “disabled”, and using “people with disabilities” instead. It’s about making the shift from saying “wheelchair-bound” to saying “person who uses a wheelchair”. It’s about shifting our mindsets to putting people first.

In a survey of 627 workers who built person-first language skills at a recent Disability Awareness Training, 92% said they will use newly learned person-first language in their workplace.  “Awesome! I think having the training done by individuals with first-person experience is so valuable,” said a trainee at Aurora Regional Fire Museum.  “The examples of the person-first language will stick with me because it’s important to respect all people,” said a trainee at Lake View High School

March was a busy month for teaching staff of companies and organizations how to use person-first language skills. The Disability Awareness Players went to eight different locations in the Chicago area, including several schools and repeat Trainings for two organizations.  The Players also worked for the first time with professors at Truman Community College in

Truman Community College

Chicago, which was our first time training an institution of higher education. Another unique opportunity for us was a trip to Peoria, Illinois to train fire safety instructors and inspectors from all over the state during the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance convention. 

We look forward to continuing to train businesses and organizations how to be disability aware!

Village of Wilmette receives a Disability-Aware Trained Certificate



Matthew Lachapelle says:
Apr 11, 2017

it sound like fun i read a lot and also i learn what you did. Wow great new there

John Doetsch says:
Apr 18, 2017

when i was at the disability awareness training i learned about person first language, and person first language is talking about the person first and the disability second

Adrian says:
May 08, 2017

The events done by the players are definitely fun, entertaining and informational. I will admit that my first time as one of them, was kind of a nervous time for me. However, it worked out well; better than I thought. It was worth trying and will continue to be worth it.

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