Editor, Daily Nexus,
In Sherilyn Baker’s article (“UCSB Program Seeks Friends for Mentally Disabled,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 11), I was misinterpreted. It says I used the words “mental disabilities,” when in fact I said “intellectual disabilities.” The reason I feel it is necessary to point this out is that participants with disabilities in Best Buddies are regarded as those with an IQ lower than average; the intellectually disabled are those who, from childhood, develop at a lower than average rate. As a consequence, the person experiences unusual difficulty in learning and has difficulty in applying the skills needed for daily living (www.bestbuddies.org). In using the word “mental,”] one suggests something is wrong with the person’s brain, when in reality it is the way he/she developed pre- or postnatally.
Furthermore, the title of the article uses the words “mentally disabled.” While this was once an acceptable word choice in regards to those with disabilities, the preferred method is now “people first.” This means that instead of labeling someone as “disabled,” you are identifying him or her as a person with disabilities. This puts the emphasis on the person and not their disability. In saying, “mentally disabled,” one is already condemning the person as not being “normal” because they have a disability. For example, a person with the learning disability dyslexia would not be referred to as a dyslexic person, but rather a person with dyslexia. People with other disabilities deserve the same consideration because their disabilities do not hinder many from leading full and normal lives.