||Your Resource for Down Syndrome Information
DSASO is the leading resource on Down syndrome in Southern Oregon. Please contact DSASO with any media needs or questions. We would be happy to provide photography, quotes and/or stories.
Down Syndrome Association of Southern Oregon
PO Box 3574
Ashland, OR 97520
For Links to DSASO Newsletters, articles about Down syndrome or DSASO, and additional media resources go to newsletters and news.
As professional communicators, educators, and human service providers, you are in a unique position to shape the public image of people with Down syndrome. The words and images you use can create either a straightforward, positive view of people with Down syndrome or an insensitive portrayal that reinforces common myths and is a form of discrimination.
The correct terminology to use is "a person with Down syndrome." You should refrain from saying a Down's person or she has Downs as this is inappropriate. Down's syndrome is inappropriate as well as the founder of the condition, John Langdon Down, did not himself have Down syndrome.
Please consider the following when writing about people with Down syndrome:
DO NOT FOCUS ON DISABILITY unless it is crucial to a story. Focus instead on issues that affect the quality of life for those same individuals, such as accessible transportation, housing, affordable health care, employment opportunities, and discrimination.
DO NOT PORTRAY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME AS SUPERHUMAN OR HEROES. Even though the public may admire super achievers, portraying people with Down syndrome as superstars raises false expectations that all people with Down syndrome should achieve this level.
DO NOT SENSATIONALIZE DOWN SYNDROME by saying afflicted with, crippled with, suffers from, victim of, and so on. Instead, say a person who has Down syndrome.
PUT PEOPLE FIRST, not their disability. Say woman with Down syndrome, children who have Down syndrome or people with Down syndrome. This puts the focus on the individual, not the particular functional limitation. Because of editorial pressures to be succinct, we know it may be difficult but ask you to be sensitive to using people first language.
EMPHASIZE ABILITIES, not limitations. For example: uses a wheelchair/braces, walks with crutches, rather than confined to a wheelchair, wheelchair-bound, differently-abled, birth difference, or crippled. Similarly, do not use emotional descriptors such as unfortunate, pitiful, and so forth.
SHOW PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME AS ACTIVE participants of society. Portraying persons with Down syndrome interacting with nondisabled people in social and work environments helps break down barriers and open lines of communications.