Watch Your Words

I wanted to take a minute to share some thoughts on the language of Ds.

The first being the person first language. When people address my baby girl as a Ds baby, I am very quick to correct them. She isn't a Ds baby. She is a baby. She just happens to have Ds. This is easy for me to explain and correct. No one wants their child to be labeled or categorized. However, it's our society and our language that has made it so easy to learn to speak this way. It's not so easy to break the habits though.

Don't get me wrong. I am guilty. I never knew to refer to children with disabilities in such a manner. I remember calling the special needs kids the "r" word thinking it was the appropriate term. But it's not. It hurts. It stings. It hurts when I hear it. I still have family members that say the "r" word. They still say "downs babies" and refer to Ds as Downs. But it's not the proper name for it. The proper name is Down syndrome. Named after the Dr. that described it, John Langdon Down. If you must shorten/abbreviate it, call it Ds.

At my baby shower in Louisville, I had a "quiz on Ds" as a game. It wasn't to see who knew more about it. Or to win a prize for the person that said everything right. It was an education piece as much as it was a conversation piece. I wanted to get people to talk about it. To share their thoughts, their fears and to let them know that I was ready to talk to them or with them. I am still not sure that it went over well. But I felt better by getting the elephant in the room out into the open. I guess it's just not as easy for people to talk about.

I was fortunate enough to find the blogworld so welcoming and informative. It's amazing how you find people that you've never met so comforting. There is one gal that I follow that has a great post on the proper ways to address Ds. I can't find it for the life of me but will share once I do. In the meantime, I wanted to share a blog that a friend of mine posted on Facebook and my husband also told me about. It's touching and you can read it here.

I really hope that people begin to think about their words. We have no idea how much they hurt until you are hurt by them.

Until next time.


  1. Great post!! I still cringe when someone comes up to Russell and I and blurts out "Oh, I know a Down's"...I always correct them. I know some people are not bothered by their child being called a "Downs" But I AM!

  2. You are a great writer. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us. I am very aware of when people incorrectly use terms to describe a child who happens to have special needs. It grates on my heart even more now that Leighton has become such a sweet part of our lives. I didnt know about the corrrect way to shorten the term down syndrome. Probably due to the fact that at my last continued education class, the teacher herself was using the phrase "a child who has downs. " Using the DS abbreviation makes perfect sense if you think about it. For Multiple Scerlosis its termed MS, not Multiples. So thank you for the insight!


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