To the Editor:
I would like to suggest that Education Week use person-first language when discussing issues concerning people with disabilities. Your article (“AYP Rules Miss Many in Spec.Ed.,” Sept. 21, 2005) uses the term “special education students” consistently throughout. “Students in special education” would be preferable.
Disabilities are not defining characteristics of persons, and words are powerful. Students with disabilities are marginalized in American education, as the topic of this article reflects. Please do not reinforce this marginalization for your readership. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Psychological Association can provide more information on person-first language.
Patricia Sampson Graner
A version of this article appeared in the October 05, 2005 edition of Education Week as ‘Person-First Language’ For Special Education