Learning disabled person? Person with learning disabilities? LDer? What?

There are some people in the learning disability community (often the ones who insist on calling it a learning difference) who dislike the term “learning disabled person” and prefer “person with learning disability”.  They often also object to describing a person as “learning disabled”.  As you can tell from my site’s name, I am not such a person.  But these people are not malign – just the contrary. They are acting in what they perceive as the best interests of us, the learning disabled.

Why do they object to these terms?

I certainly don’t want to speak for all of them, but the explanations I hear most often are something like “the person is not a learning disability” or “learning disability does not define the person”.  Indeed not. I certainly agree that I am not a learning disability! I am a person. I also agree that being learning disabled does not define me. It *describes* me, but only partially. No one word defines anyone!

But there are other adjectives – including adjectives for disabilities and for stigmatized groups – that do not get treated this way.

I am nearsighted. No one called me a “person with myopia”!.

There are various terms for members of ethnic groups. For example, some people prefer “Black”, some prefer “African American”. But no one says “person with blackness”!

Nor does anyone get called “person with gayness” or “person with homosexuality”.

A person’s attitude towards a group is not determined by the term used for that group.

So, call me learning disabled. Or call me a learning disabled person. Or call me an LDer. If you insist, you can call me a person with learning disability.

Or, just call me Peter.

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