How To Talk About Down Syndrome
Make sure you are using appropriate language when referring to any group of people. Correct terminology helps reduce prejudice, misconceptions, and stereotypes. This guide will help you when talking about Down syndrome.
- IT’S “DOWN SYNDROME”
Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down. He didn’t have Down syndrome, so it is not possessive (as in Down’s). Some countries still refer to “Down’s syndrome”, but in North America, we do not.
- USE PERSON-FIRST LANGUAGE
A person should not be defined by their disability. Emphasize the person. It’s not “Down’s kid.” It’s not “Down syndrome person.” It’s “person with Down syndrome.”
- BE POSITIVE
A person is not “suffering from” or “afflicted with” Down syndrome. A person “has” Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome can lead fulfilling lives—they can go to university, get married, and have careers!
- END THE R-WORD!
The r-word is often used in every day speech in a derogatory, offensive, and hateful way. If you stop using it, you help promote the acceptance of people with all disabilities, including Down syndrome.
For more information about Down syndrome: