A Journey with Love and Laughter

Read about our family as we journey through life as a family, with siblings, school and spina bifida, and lots of fun and laughter along the way!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coming to terms

Terminology is a weird thing.

Just a couple of words can change the picture that you have in your head about what is going on.

Spina Bifida Child

I'm sure there are a ton of terms I can add to this list. But I thought I'd keep it short.
What do these terms all have in common?
What picture does it produce in your head?

What about the more PC terms. The ones we are supposed to be using. The ones everyone is supposed to be using, but sometimes old terminology slips in - because what is the difference?
Let me tell you, there is a big difference.

Physically Challenged
Child (born) with spina bifida

What picture do these words produce?

Are these better? Worse?
Words won't change what is happening in our lives, but they can just produce that different picture. That different way of thinking.

That last one is a pet peeve of mine. Spina bifida Child - I don't think so. It does not define my child, it does not rule our life. But yes, my child was born with spina bifida. I know alot of people who still say spina bifida child (and I'm sure I was one of them in the beginning), and I know it is used in articles and online resources all the time.

I probably wouldn't have even noticed until I was the mother saying my child was born with spina bifida.

That being said I do say that I am a spina bifida mommy. Probably because saying that I am a mother who has a child who was born with spina bifida is just so much longer than saying SB Mom.

I recently read a blog with a guest writer who discussed the term physically challenged. I wasn't quite sure how I liked that term. Then I started thinking more about it.
Challenged means there is, well, a challenge. To work for, to overcome, but not be defined by. Challenges are to be faced head-on. I challenge you! I started liking this term so much better.
Alot better than dis-ability, like Nickolas does not have the ability to do whatever. End of story.

Special needs is another term that I'm a little wishy-washy about. It's pretty vague and brings to mind images that aren't necessarily true.
And handicapped just brings to mind old people and metal bracing and sick people. Again, that word capped, as in you have reached your limit. Do not pass go.

Handi-caple just rubs me the wrong way. It just reminds me of handicapped with a politically correct twist.

So that is my two-cents about me coming to terms.


  1. It's funny because I have been thinking about some of these terms lately. Some of these used to bother me and get me all fired up but the older Caleb gets, the less these labels bother me. I'm not sure why though. Although, "handi-capable" really makes me crazy.

  2. I hadn't heard the word "handi-capable" until I watched a few episodes of Glee. I see your frustration and understand why that would rub you the wrong way.