National Center On Disability And Journalism At Cronkite Revamps Disability Style Guide

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 5:00am
Updated: Saturday, June 23, 2018 - 12:47pm

When it comes to talking about disabilities, language is everything. And that’s why the National Center on Disability and Journalism at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism is revamping its current style guide. 

Amy Silverman is a freelance journalist and sits on the NCDJ board. She says the style guide was produced in the first place because there were so many questions about how to refer to people with disabilities.

"In fact as it comes out of my mouth, that’s questionable. Not everyone wants to be referred to as a person with disabilities."

Which makes this project challenging. So take “person first language.” For example: you would say a person with Down syndrome, not a Down syndrome person.

"That’s pretty universally accepted. There are few areas where it’s not. And in the community of people with autism there are some who feel very strongly that they want to be identified as autistic."

Because, as Silverman puts it, being autistic is not a negative for these individuals. Silverman expects to have her first draft completed next month.

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