Newsletter Bulletin, Volume 8: Importance of a Shared Language

ACA has released Newsletter Bulletin, Volume 8 for our affiliate network. 

Read CEO Jay Nagy’s message below:

Importance of a Shared Language

The language that we use drives so much of how we think and behave. Without a doubt, anyone with even modest experience in this field has lived through several changes in the words we use to describe what we do and whom we do it for.Though it may seem small, having a common language and frame of reference will be critical as we come together as one ACANY.

The above illustration from Open Future Learning has two primary takeaways: the people we support do not belong to us and they don't deserve to be labeled as anything but "people” or preferably their own name. At its base, our treatment of people reflects how we think about them. Ingrained behaviors like language don’t change overnight, but when we train ourselves to be intentional in how we speak and think, our work becomes more person-centered as a result. Here’s a brief video from Open Future Learning that illustrates the same theme. 

Let’s all recommit to be more precise with the words we choose and to reflect on what they imply about our beliefs and attitudes. An easy way to do this is to reverse the situation: how you would feel if someone referred to you in the same way? If you wouldn’t like it very much, don’t assume their reaction would be any different.

—Jay Nagy, CEO