Toward a Standard Definition of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Canada
Language is a reflection of how people in a society see one another, which can impact perceptions and consequently how people think. In particular, language is a powerful tool in influencing how society and culture constructs disabilities. Historically, individuals with disabilities have endured discrimination, and stereotypic language can send a negative message of alienation and apartness. As well, language can contribute to mindsets that limit the aspirations of persons with disabilities or mental health needs, causing them to doubt their self-worth. Therefore, changing the phrasing in the way we speak and write about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), as well as focusing upon a person’s abilities, rather than their disabilities, can assist us in changing perspectives both inside and outside of the FASD community.