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People-First Language Rationale
(& a little history)

This web site uses

This means that individuals with disabilities are not referred to using the terms:  
handicapped, retarded, or disabled.  
Instead, they are referred to as PEOPLE with disabilities.

"People First Language seeks to put the person first and the disability second!"
People with disabilities are people, first and foremost!

The use of this language started back in the 1970s with the disability rights movement, but escalated during the 1990s.  During this time, several legislations were put into place that protected the rights and education of people with disabilities.

Some important laws:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), PL 103-336 - 1990
This law prohibited discrimination based on disability in employment, public service, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), PL 103-476 - 1990
This law was formerly known as the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHC).  IDEA forms a basis for special education in public schools.  It sets forth several important rights and principles:

   Zero Reject - no student may be excluded from receiving an education
   Nondiscriminatory evaluation - Schools must evaluate students fairly to determine if they have a disability and, if so, what kind and how extensive
   Appropriate education - Schools must provide an individually tailored education for each student based on the evaluation and augmented by related services and supplementary aids and services
   Least Restrictive Environment - Schools must educate students with disabilities with students without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate for the students with disabilities (inclusion)
   Procedural Due Process - allows students and parents rights to sue the school in court
   Parental & Student Participation - Schools must collaborate with parents and adolescent students in designing and carrying out special education programs
   Individual Education Plan (IEP) - every student receiving special education services must have an IEP