All human beings have strengths and challenges. When an individual has a challenge or impairment, physical or mental, that is significant enough to limit their ability to participate in activities of daily life, it is defined as a disability. School is a vital part of daily life for all children. Special education is one way in which Seattle Public Schools supports students with disabilities so that they can participate fully in their education.
“People First” Language
People with disabilities are people, first and foremost. They are diverse, contributing members of our communities. For this reason, we respectfully refer to them as person, student, or other title first and only then, if relevant, identify their disability.
As individuals, people with disabilities will not all share identical beliefs about disability and the language used to describe it. Be respectful, but not disengaged. If you do not know an individual well enough to be certain of their preferences, it is usually better to ask politely rather than to avoid conversation altogether or to make inappropriate assumptions.