Becca is a new Mum to her son Arthur. Arthur was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Living with Arthur, Becca noticed the extensive inappropriate language that is used around Downs syndrome on a daily basis.
In response, Becca initially wrote an open letter to try and make a change in her local community. She realised that people wanted to say the right things, but often didn’t know what the right language was.
Becca’s open letter was a huge success and led to her collaborating with the design studio Bear and Pear to create a set of digital language cards to change the language used around Down Syndrome. Becca’s cards contribute to a shift in the conversation about how we diagnose and refer to individuals with lifelong conditions.
Becca’s cards encourage the use of inclusive phrases such as:
- Using the phrase ‘we are all’, rather than ‘they are all’ when speaking about people who have Down Syndrome.
- Using the word ‘typical’ rather than ‘normal’ to describe individuals who do not have a lifelong condition.
- Adopting the phrase ‘has Down Syndrome, rather than ‘suffers with Down Syndrome’, since it is a condition rather than an illness.
The cards are supported by both the Down’s Syndrome Association and medical professionals who are recognising the cards as an important resource that everyone can use to make language more inclusive.
It would be great to see Becca’s work exemplified across other areas where respect for the person Is lost in insensitive, disempowering and clinical language.
Becca’s incredible work highlights how important it is to consider people’s everyday experiences and put the person involved at the heart of everything we do and say. Becca’s work showcases how it is possible to make a difference within your local community if we all commit to it.
Download and share Becca’s free social media cards to contribute to the use of appropriate and inclusive language.
Follow Becca’s campaign on twitter using @languagecreates