LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) We all know words can be powerful and sometimes harmful. There's a push around Arkansas to use "People First Language."
Although Veronica Tess Myers is accustomed to hearing labels about her son, she makes it known that she's quite proud of him. His name is Alexander.
"When we go to public restaurants, you can hear those words or see those negative words transpiring," says Myers. "He is an intelligent young man. He's dealing with his disability.
Alexander has Autism. "Not Alexander is Autistic," says Tess Myers.
Putting the person first is what "People First Language" is all about. SeRonna Rodgers held a session on this terminology for Arkansas Can Do.
"Just refer to people as people with disabilities as opposed to the disabled or the handicapped," says Rodgers.
The state legislature has also come on board. A law passed in 2009 and bans certain words in future legislation. For example,"mentally retarded" is now "individuals with intellectual disabilities." The words "mental illness" is now "individuals with mental illness." Rodgers is urging people to go a little bit further in everyday conversation.
"Let's do away with the words handicap even if you see it on parking signs," says Rodgers. "It's not about political correctness at all. It's about using words with respect."