Students with disabilities will now be thought of as what they are, students first.
The San Joaquin County Board of Education has resolved support using people-first terminology whenever referencing their students with disabilities.
“We want to put a face on our students,” Kathleen Skeels, SJCOE assistant superintendent of special education and Special Education Local Plan Area said in a news release.
“Instead of saying you have an autistic student, we now will say ‘my student with autism,’” she said.
“We want to remember that it is the student, the person, first.”
Instead of categorizing a child by their disability, the action calls to have the disability stated last.
According to the SJCOE, the SELPA serves students with moderate to severe disabilities from birth to age 22. The SJCOE SELPA serves nearly 50 percent of the county’s special needs population with 8,490 students.
The Lodi Unified School District SELPA serves close to 4,000 students, and the Stockton Unified School District SELPA serves 4,029 students, said the SJCOE. Lodi and SUSD are the only districts in the county with separate SELPAs.
“It’s inspiring to see the work our staff does with our students with special needs,” County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas said.
“After all, we are all people first,” said Skeels.