People First
San Luis Obispo

"We are People First"

Contact Us

(805) 782-8893

We Continue to Achieve

People First at a Rally
  • Educational Community Seminars such as: PeopleFirst Language trainings, Credo for Support video on, Committee on Healthy Relationships and Sexuality, and Prevention of Adult Abuse training.
  • Participation in California Disability Action Network statewide “Townhall Tele-Meetings”.
  • Delegation of our members to Sacramento and Los Angeles to testify before legislative sub-committees on disability-related issues.
  • POSITION STATEMENT on Labeling and Language When Speaking and Writing About People with Disabilities

    People with developmental disabilities are often asked: How do you want to be spoken about? What words do you want us to use when we talk about you to others? People First members were recently asked whether they prefer the term “client” or the term “consumer” when they are referred to by service providers.
    This has given us the opportunity to identify our feelings and define our values on how we want to be talked about, written about and most importantly, thought about.
    We have concluded that any term used to describe us as a group, however well-intended, eventually becomes a label that creates a negative stereotype about people with disabilities. It dehumanizes us by implying that people with disabilities are all the same. An example of this is that all people with brown eyes are obviously not alike. In fact, there is no single term that could fairly describe all people with brown eyes without devaluing them as individuals.
    The only labels we find acceptable are our own names. When privacy or confidentiality prevent this, we want to be referred to as “people”—followed by whatever words are necessary to clarify who is meant. Examples could be: “a person I support…,”or “a person with a developmental disability …,” or “a person who’s a wheelchair-user and has deafness…”. This is known as People First language.
    People First language puts the person FIRST, before the disability or any other characteristic. It’s pretty simple really, just remember to mention the person first.
    We are working hard to move from “clienthood” to citizenship in our community. We want to be accepted in ordinary, typical ways. To do this we must be talked about in the same ordinary, typical language that people without apparent disabilities use about themselves.
    People First language is for everyone. It promotes dignity and respect for all.