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Person-first versus identity-first language preferences: parents and carers perspective

There has been debate around appropriate use of person-first (i.e., person with a disability) and identity-first (i.e. disabled person) in the literature, yet little recent research has been performed to understand the views in favour, against or neutral to the use of such language across people directly affected by this language, including people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, their parents and/or carers. It is possible that some collective groups have a greater preference for identity-first language, as shown for people with visual impairment (Bickford, 2004), although this research is now over 15-years old disallowing conclusions to be drawn, given the evolving nature of societal inclusion of disability (Gooding, Anderson, & McVilly, 2017). Nonetheless, a number of people with autism, among others, have similarly expressed a preference for use of identity-first language (Brown, 2011; Mama Pineapple, 2018). There is very little known about the views of parents and carers of people with disabilities. It is clear that further research into preferences related to person- and identity-first language is required. Parents and carers often play a central role in the lives of people with disabilities and severe medical illnesses, especially for people who require substantial assistance with activities of daily living. This project will use online survey to assess the views of parents and carers of people with disabilities, to understand whether there are differences across disability and medical illness types, duration of support provided and language user (person with a disability, medical professional, media etc), as well as relationships with disability culture and quality of life.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
person-first; identity-first; language; disability; disease; preference; respect
School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health / Hudson Institute of Medical Research
Available options 
Masters by research
Masters by coursework
Time commitment 
Physical location 
Monash Medical Centre Clayton
Donna Koller

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