Michelle Clark, mum of Mara, was tired of hearing her daughter being called a ‘Down’s baby’ and launched a campaign called Lose the Label, which aims to change the way we define people with Down’s Syndrome. She tells us about the campaign:
What is it
Lose the Label is a campaign promoting the use of person first language. It’s here to show that each individual with Down’s syndrome is exactly that, an individual, a person with their own likes and dislikes, living their own lives as uniquely as you and I.
Language is inherent, Lose the Label does not set out to point fingers or embarrass anyone that may have used limiting language in the past, it’s here to ask you to think about the language you use when referring to people with Down’s syndrome and on reflection, want to change to be more aligned with the inclusive society we live in.
Who is it for
Society, everyone, you, me. Our understanding of Down’s syndrome has come so far but still we use a language that defines people by their diagnosis and there is just no reason why we should continue to do this. I have a lazy eyelid, nobody refers to me as Lazy Eyelid Woman, lol well at least not until now!
Why is it different
Lose the Label uses real images of real people living their everyday lives showing how unique and individual each person with Down’s syndrome is, how each person is much more like their own family in their appearance and character than any other person with Down’s syndrome and with each image, a simple message that requires no time investment from the viewer.
It’s not pitying and it’s not patronising, it’s just showing you individuals with Down’s syndrome without the misconceptions. I believe people are generally good and most are unaware that the language we’ve been using can be limiting and hurtful to others.
Changing a language we’ve inherited from a time when Down’s syndrome was an unknown and very misunderstood will be difficult, but not impossible. Lose the Label provides ‘What to say’ information to help those that want to change their language find a suitable alternative.
See more of the fabulous Lose the Label photos here.
Tell us in 5 words why it matters
A diagnosis doesn’t define anyone.
If you would like to include a loved one’s photograph in the campaign, see the instructions on what is required here: www.facebook.com/notes/lose-the-label/faqs/216263791909716
What are your thoughts on how we label children? Tell us in the comments below.