Monday, July 30, 2012

They Are Not "Handlers"!

I understand that people who write or talk about the disabled and all the different terms that described people with mental disabilities or those who work with them.
In describing mental retardation, I have used or heard the following different terms describing those with mental disabilities: Mental retardation(retarded) retard, intellectual disabilities, cognitive disabilities, retarded, people with mental disabilities, mentally handicapped, mentally disabled and more.  The State of Nevada still uses the term "mental retardation" in their licensing of special education teachers.
As far as names of jobs in special education, I have heard the following for: teachers and aides: special education teacher, aide,  teachers aide, CNA, Special Education aide, assistants, health care aides and others.
One term I have never heard to describe a teacher or aide is the word "handlers".
From the LVRJ: His hand always shot up in the air in an emphatic "Yes!" when his parents asked if he wanted to go to Opportunity Village.
Nearly every weekday for 11 years, he went to Project Pride, a program within the community-based, nonprofit organization that serves people with severe disabilities.
There, his smile won his handlers over, older brother Jonathan Schaus said. When Nathaniel Schaus was sick at home for a year, staff members and some of his friends from Opportunity Village regularly came to visit.
Loralie Schaus thanked Opportunity Village for its role in her son's life.
A handler is someone who trains police dogs, a boxing trainer, someone who loads airplanes with luggage or an agent.
But those of us who work with the disabled are not handlers.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think "mental retardation" are bad words. The word, "retard" is legitimately defined as "to make slow" or "impede development of...". That's not to say someone with Down's syndrome or another disorder isn't completely incapable, but they are not on the same level as the average adult.

    I think it's a matter of semantics with those who help them or teach them during their daily lives. Someone might identify the assistant as "an assistant", another might consider them a "teacher" or a "handler" or "caregiver".