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    Depends on the audience
    By lillian

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    If I am talking to teachers, counselors, or administrators, I use SPED, ESL, ELL, LEP and LD. I've never used Au, CD, or DH. With autism, I refer to what kind of autism it is--Asperger's, PDD-NOS, or autism, and the latter I use only to refer to full-blown autism. "On the spectrum" is what I use to refer to autism in general with teachers. Is CD the same as MR? I still use MR.

    With parents, I let the parents lead. They usually have a preferred term, and that's the one I use. For example, if a parent says, "My child has learning differences," not learning disabilities, then I use learning differences. If I to bring it up in the conversation first, I will use learning differences with the parent because I prefer that term; however, I have found that most parents use the word disability, instead of difference.

    I recently sat in on a wonderful training session about counseling people with disabilities, and the woman conducting the session, herself a woman with disabilities, went on and on about the importance of saying, "The person is a person with a disability, not a disabled person. You don't say 'autistic man.' You say 'a man with autism.'" I'm trying to be more conscious of that since the training. My son has dyslexia, and I often say my son is dyslexic, without thinking anything of it. Apparently, this is offensive to people in the community? You're defining the child by his learning difference when you word it this way? O.K.

    Honestly, I feel like you can't win with labels and acronyms. There are a lot of different viewpoints, as to what is appropriate and what is not. In the end, all that matters to me, is that the child is treated with respect and helped to learn in the way that suits the child the best. As far as what terms I use with the child directly, I would say none, unless the child uses the term himself/herself.

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