Loading

Person First an initiative to combat ableism & promote inclusion and kindness

THE WORLD IS CALLING OUT FOR KINDNESS.

Let's answer the call.

We think kindness can change the world and when everyone is included, we all do better. During a time when social distancing is the norm, inclusion and kindness have never been more important. So let's get started! Use this page to foster kindness and inclusion in your community, even if you have to do so from a distance.

WHAT IS ABLEISM?

Ableism is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities based on the belief that typical abilities are superior. At its heart, ableism is rooted in the assumption that disabled people require ‘fixing’ and defines people by their disability. Like racism and sexism, ableism classifies entire groups of people as ‘less than,’ and includes harmful stereotypes, misconceptions, and generalizations of people with disabilities.

What does ableism look like?

  • Talking to a person with a disability like they are a child, talking about them instead of directly to them, or speaking for them.
  • Using the accessible bathroom stall when you are able to use the non-accessible stall without pain or risk of injury.
  • Choosing an inaccessible venue for a meeting or event, therefore excluding some participants.

What does ableism sound like?

  • "That's so lame."
  • “You are so retarded.”
  • “That guy is crazy.”
  • “You’re acting so bi-polar today.”
  • “Are you off your meds?”
  • "Are you on the spectrum?"

Phrases like this imply that a disability makes a person less than, and that disability is bad, negative, or a problem to be fixed, rather than a normal, inevitable part of the human experience.

Source: accessliving.org

Language is a powerful tool to promote inclusion and make sure everyone feels heard and seen.

Don’t speak on behalf of someone with a disability unless they explicitly ask you to.

Know the difference between person first language and identity first language:

Person first language says “a person with a disability.”

Identity first language says “a disabled person.”

People have different preferences when it comes to person first language and identity first language. If you don't know what someone prefers, ask.

You've probably hear of the Golden Rule. What if we told you there's something better? We all have different preferences, interests and life experiences. What's best for you, isn't always what's best for everyone else.

Treat others the way they want to be treated.

YOU ARE AN AGENT OF CHANGE.

If you're a living breathing person, then you have influence.

There are lots of ways to use your influence to promote change. Have a conversation. Share a new point of view. Post something on social media. Talk to your local representatives.

START YOUR OWN REVOLUTION.

Use the ideas below to start your own Person First campaign. Whether you're learning from home or in the classroom, you can help spread kindness and respect in your community!

TAKE THE PLEDGE

Once you've taken the Person First pledge to combat ableism and promote inclusion and kindness, invite your friends and family to join you.

EDUCATE YOUR PEERS

Ask your teacher if you can have a few minutes of class time to give a presentation on the power of respectful language.

Use these ready-to-go images that are made for PowerPoint or Google Slides or make your own presentation!

START A KINDNESS CLUB

Meet once a month on Zoom and discuss how you can spread kindness make your community a more inclusive place for people of all abilities. Club members can keep each other accountable and build each other up during the meetings.

Make sure you extend the invitation to a diverse group of students and teachers in your school so everyone feels included!

Use some of these kindness prompts to get the conversation started at your first meeting:

SEND SOME KIND MAIL

Good old fashioned snail mail. There's something so special about receiving a note in the mail, especially when the note is full of kind words!

Print out some of our kindness memos and send them to your family and friends or teachers and peers you haven't seen in a while!

SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is one of the quickest and most effective ways to share information. Use your platform as a place to educate your followers about why you think it's important to be kind and include everyone.

Use some of our images or make your own.

START AN INCLUSIVE VIRTUAL BOOK CLUB

Similar to a Kindness Club, a virtual book club can meet via Zoom. Choose a book, invite people to read it and schedule a meeting time to discuss what you learned from the book.

You can choose your own book or start with one from the Special Olympics Minnesota Inclusion Library!

INITIATE CHANGE IN YOUR SCHOOL

Does your school's mission or vision statement include anything about kindness or inclusion? Do you think it should?

Form a committee of students to do some investigating! If you think there should be changes, start a conversation with administration of what it could look like to incorporate kindness and inclusion into your school's official values.

Make sure people with disabilities are at the table when these conversations are being had.