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whats the correct term for...

(13 Posts)
anniebear Fri 05-Aug-05 07:41:00

a child who can't speak?

Somebody mentioned the word 'dumb' to me yesterday (they were not being rude or ignorant just asking and she was a lot older generation)

I said I thought it was a horrible word and wouldn't be used anymore. (uggh, dislike it v much)

Some body mentioned 'mute' which again, I thought was horrible

The only one I could come up with is 'non verbal' Do you agree?

Also I think this has been mentioned before. I have always said Ellie has Global delay, but at the end of the day if something is delayed it usually gets there, but Ellie isn't ever going to. Not being negative just realistic.

So what does Global delay become? Do I now say Ellie (nearly 4) has learning difficulties?


Merlot Fri 05-Aug-05 08:24:37

I agree entirely about the developmental delay implying that they will eventually `get there'. When I told my neighbour that ds2 has DD she said `well that's not too bad then is it - they all catch up eventually!' It just doesnt mean anything to anyone in the non SN world.

I think learning difficulties is a good one (I often say complex learning difficulties) - when I feel like `shutting someone up' and if I think someone is being dismissive (and only if I feel strong enough) I say `mentally and physically handicapped' I've thought about saying `retarded' but cant bear the word myself

geekgrrl Fri 05-Aug-05 08:34:20

I'd say non-verbal because it's not judgmental and just describes the situtation without expecting a certain outcome either way.
And I'd say 'learning difficulties' or 'learning disability'

Davros Fri 05-Aug-05 12:45:12

Techically a non-speaker who communicates with, for instance Makaton or PECs, is called non-vocal but I think its much more natural to say non-verbal. That's what I'd say. I also never say "learning difficulties" I always say "learning disability".

Littlefish Fri 05-Aug-05 13:15:57

A quick hi-jack question - sorry

Davros, I've heard the term "learning disability" more and more recently. Is the term "learning difficulty" ever used now? Is it a sliding scale? I'm a teacher, but have been out of school for a year now and want to get it right. If a child at school is on the special needs list at say school action or school action plus, what is the correct term? I've always talked about specific or general learning difficulties Does it become a learning disability if a statement is written? Sorry if this is a really ignorant question.

Davros Fri 05-Aug-05 13:20:05

Not ignorant at all littlefish because I don't really know the answer! I think "difficulty" is perfectly acceptable, possibly more PC and gentler on stressed parents. BUT I think "disability" describes the reality much better, is usually more accurate and I think its also OK in PC-terms.
Maybe err on the side of difficulty if in doubt? Sorry, not much help!

Littlefish Fri 05-Aug-05 14:02:39

Very helpful actually, and I think you're right about the stressed parents thing too. Much easier for many parents, particularly at the beginning of the process to talk about "difficulty" rather than "disability". Thanks for replying.

Fio2 Fri 05-Aug-05 15:57:12

I always thought that 'learning difficulties" referred to dyslexia and the like, where only certain areas of difficulty in learning are apparent and learning disability reffered to more globally delayed problems?

I say learning disability and non-verbal also. i think once you child is out of the pre-school stage you have to address that they actually never going to catch up, unles they have iykwim

dizzy34 Fri 05-Aug-05 22:27:51

Hi, i am a social worker (im sorry, i know a lot of you have had bad experiences but im ok honest, i specialise in child protection). I find that 'learning difficulties' is used more for children with dyslexia or any condition which makes it more difficult to learn. I think that learning disability is used more for children with asd and ds etc. i know what you mean about how to describe your childs condition. harry is 2yrs old, quadriplegic, cannot speak, registered blind, has up to 150 seizures per day and is fed by tube(totally nil by mouth). i tend to say 'severely disabled' or 'severe special needs'. The prognosis is poor for harry and we also struggle when people ask us 'what about the future'. i sometimes feel like saying 'oh yes, by the time he's five he will be fine'.


Davros Sat 06-Aug-05 08:30:43

I think Fio and dizzy have explained it better than me with the dyslexia type disorders as opposed to being cognitively disabled (?)
Dizzy, I've only had good experiences (so far) with SOc Svs and Soc WOrkers. One of my best friends has been a Social Worker for about 25 years and has been in child protection for a long time. She's a right laugh but really professional and I really respect her.

Littlefish Sat 06-Aug-05 10:31:33

Thanks to you all for the clarification. I feel much more confident now that I won't put my foot it it!

Merlot Sat 06-Aug-05 11:03:49

Thanks littlefish because your question has given me some ideas too - I think I will change my answer to learning disability - because as has been said already learning difficulties seems to imply that it is something that can be overcome with the right help.

Merlot Sat 06-Aug-05 11:04:30

Sorry I meant to say anniebear not littlefish

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