Person First Language

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A person is much more than a label.

Our Person First campaign educates people to respect the individual in the language they use.

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

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” or “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 person 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.