Person First Language

DSI-Person-FirstWords can create barriers and reinforce stereotypes. Down Syndrome Ireland strongly believes in the importance of ensuring that correct language is used when talking or writing about individuals with Down syndrome.

A baby born with Down syndrome is not a “Down’s child” or a “Down syndrome baby.”

When describing an individual with Down syndrome, it is preferred that you say, he/she is a baby with Down syndrome. A person with Down syndrome is not a “Downs” / “a Down Syndrome”. Placing the person before the disability emphasises the person first and the disability second.

When referring to peers, the correct term is “typical” peers as opposed to “normal.”

It is also important to use correct terminology. A person does not “suffer” from Down syndrome, nor are they “afflicted”. It is not a disease. Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition which results in an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. It was discovered by Dr. John Langdon Down.

Person First language emphasises respect for the individual.

A child is much more than a label.

Help to educate family, friends and professionals about the preferred way to refer to a person with Down syndrome.