Autistic student vs. the student with autism.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by TennisPlayer, Aug 18, 2009.

  1. TennisPlayer

    TennisPlayer Cohort

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    Aug 18, 2009

    I just wanted to share that we were taught to say the person first then the special needs. I've seen autistic kid , etc on here and just wanted to gently pass along what I learned in my Special Ed. classes :)


    The student who is hard of hearing.

    The boy/girl who has autism.
     
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  3. 2inspire

    2inspire Companion

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    I agree with you on the reference but I also know that on a message board people often take a more lax approach. I don't use say SpEd in my day to day conversations but I'm sure I've written it on here.

    As far as refering to a child with special needs, I was taught it was an exceptional student.
     
  4. ahsila

    ahsila Companion

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    Ideally it would be "the student with ____" but even in a professional environment it's not necessarily like that. I work through a cooperative for my district, and when I communicate with my special ed supervisors, students are referred to as "the _____ student." It's not done to be disrespectful or to offend, and it's not like I go into my classroom and say "I'd like the mentally retarded students to sit in these desks and the autistic students to sit in those desks over there." I think it's a matter of theory vs practice. In theory it's the student with x, y, and z but in practice a lot of times it's the x, y, and z student. Do we say "the student in the special education program"? No - it's the special ed student. Maybe not perfect, but it is what it is.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I was also taught this, but I agree with 2inspire and ahsila.
     
  6. Teacher2Be123

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    I agree and I was upset at CNN earlier. Kind of off topic but related. They had an article about that family that adopted children with special needs and was murdered. The title of today's article "Autistic Child Sees Murder" (or something like that). It kind of bothered me the way it was worded.
     
  7. iluvteachin

    iluvteachin Rookie

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    Aug 19, 2009

    just a fyi... deaf people actually prefer "deaf person" instead of "the person with deafness" because it is a cultural factor as well.
     
  8. blindteacher

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    I also refer to myself as "blind person" and not "person with blindness" because it's easier to say. I think the important thing is that we keep a "person with (disability)" attitude, even though we may say "(disabled) person." :)
     
  9. JustJim

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    Aug 19, 2009

    Person-first language is a power-thing. It is only insisted on by people who demand the right to use the terms they want to describe themselves, while imposing their labels on others. People describe themselves and other people by gender, ethnicity, religion, hobbies, profession, marital/parental status, and almost any and every other characteristic you can think of. It is only with people seen as defective or inferior that we insist on imposing a person-first label.

    Attitudes are far more important than labels. One of my oh-so-correct special ed professors once began a statement with, "Of course, a person with autism could never be a teacher . . . " Another described some of the strategies he's used to "encourage participation of autistics in the gen-ed classroom." Which professor is more inclusive, is actually trying to make sure all the students have all the opportunities to be a part of their community?
     
  10. schoolteacher

    schoolteacher Habitué

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    Yes, I see what you mean. That really sums up the whole issue right there.
     
  11. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    Aug 19, 2009

    I'm not sure I like the term exceptional or special as in exceptional children or special kids. It seems condescending, like a back-handed compliment. Children with special needs might be better.

    I do cringe when I hear/read Downs baby or ADHD kid. I think it sounds horrible. I really don't like to hear a person IS Downs or IS ADHD... I mean, how can somebody be a disorder?
     
  12. EpsilonBeta

    EpsilonBeta Rookie

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    I think by making a big deal about how something is said we put more weight on the word than it needs to be. For example if we correct a student that says "that special ed kid" rather than "that kid with special needs" we teach them that they can use the first phrase to be derogatory against those students. It is not meant as an insult until you insist that it's degrading and an insult, then the whole meaning of the words gets changed and has more power than they should.
     
  13. bros

    bros Phenom

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    From my experience as a student, all of my teachers were first introduced to me by my idiotic case manager during the summer. I was "that kid who can't write"

    My 8th grade english teacher once commented on how the summer before I entered 8th grade, she was shown my test scores.

    She thought that I would be dumb as a plank because of them. But I wasn't.

    When referring to them, why not say "<NAME> is multiply disabled, but is good at/likes X"?
     
  14. JustJim

    JustJim Companion

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    Why not just refer to them by name?
     
  15. blindteacher

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    Right, my wife is Deaf and refers to herself as Deaf, with a big D, to denote the cultural identity as well as the physiological state.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Mostly because case managers are evil people who don't bother to learn a thing about the students (at least in my case)
     
  17. TeacherShelly

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    "But" is another powerful word. Consider the difference between the above introduction and, "<NAME> is multiply disabled, and is good at/likes X".
     
  18. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Yeah. The but would indicate that it is an amazing feat that they are able to do something outside of their label. Or that it is something just to think about on the side.
     
  19. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    I don't ever discuss the exceptionality of my students with other students, so I am not going to take the time to introduce some as <NAME> is multiply disabled, and is good at/likes ____. The student is simply referred to by their name.

    When I am speaking with colleagues we rarely if ever discuss the specific child's disability, rather we refer to them by the program through which they are serviced, such as <Name> is a VE student. Most of my students, I am not even privvy to their specific disability classification, though I am made aware of it should a parent decide to share with me. Granted, I teach in a VE setting, and most of my students are SLD.

    When I refer to individuals with disabilities in general conversation, I prefer to refer to them as individual with a disability. That is because that is what I am most comfortable with. I don't correct people when they refer to someone by stating the disability first, because in my experience, most people are well-intentioned, and have no idea they are being discriminatory. Now, if the person makes a comment in a condecending fashion, I might say something.

    With that being said, it is technically appropriate to refer to a person as a "person with ____" rather than _____ person. The exception being the Deaf, which use the term to denote cultural identity along with physical characterists.
     
  20. TampaTeacher2Be

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    That is ture too. I think saying <Name> has a disability, and is good at _____ is actually more offensive than saying disabled person.
     
  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    It's good to highlight the positives of a person with disabilities. Because they are usually just referred to by their label.
     

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