I often wonder if we create a sort of an unsolvable Rubic's Cube with some of the discussions we have at times. What I mean is that we engage in conversations where there isn't necessarily a right or wrong answer. We attempt to solve a problem that is, well, unsolvable.
Oh, I have written before on this conundrum. Back in 2009, I discussed semantics in Don't Major in the Minors. I even discussed the challenge last year during the final week of Lent in Who Do You Say That I Am?.
But the circular conversation persists, and I suppose I had better resign myself to the fact that it will always be a part of the national dialog when it comes to diff-abilities.
This week, in both a private leadership group and on the blogosphere, the topic has popped up again. One post that dates back to 2012 maintains Person-first language doesn't put people first, it makes them invisible. Reading the author's adult point of view is fascinating. He has the closely held belief that separating him from his autism is akin to removing part of his identity. In his estimation, this type of language stems from a faulty mindset. The second post, recently written by a mother, proclaims My Son's Disability Defines Him (and why I'm okay with that). Beautifully crafted, the author describes how her son's diagnosis, and all that comes with it, is woven into the fabric of his life.
"I want him to say disability and hear dignity." she envisions.
Except then we also have people like my son, who will slug you if you call him a "hemophiliac". (Which is NOT very hemo-friendly behavior, I might add.) All joking aside, he has told me that, "When people call me that, I feel like I am being put in a demeaning classification of people that have the most disgusting disease ever. I want people to see me, not my disease first. I have hemophilia -- It doesn't have me! People using that term make me feel bad about myself."