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WVU-Parkersburg plans People First Language class

PARKERSBURG — A People First Language training class will be held 12:15 p.m. Monday by the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Health and Wellness and Student Support Services.

The event will be streamed to the college’s Facebook page at wvup.edu/live.

Training will be presented by Christina Smith of Astrive, an organization founded as a resource for individuals with disabilities and their families by focusing on the areas of employment, special education, inclusion, home and community-based services and health and safety preparedness.

Participants will learn how to communicate with and about children and adults with disabilities, why the combination of language and behavior (disability etiquette) is important to individuals with disabilities and their family members. People-first language emphasizes the equality and dignity of all people, realizing that a person always comes first before their identifying statement.

“We must learn to honor a person as a human being first because they are more important than any label,” said Pamela Santer, WVU Parkersburg Health and Wellness coordinator.

People First Language is sponsored by WVU Parkersburg’s Opening Pathways for Equity Now (OPEN) Project led by Steven Smith, vice president of Enrollment Management and Jackson County Center CEO.

“As a member of the OPEN Task Force, I believe that effective communication is paramount to human survival,” said Smith. “We are so excited to partner with Astrive to provide this much needed training!”

Smith is a professional in the non-profit arena and over the past 19 years, has provided programs, services and advocacy to support children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. As a sister and mother to family members with disabilities, Smith highlights the role of advocacy when assisting families who are seeking community supports and services.

For more information, contact Santer at pamela.santer@wvup.edu or 304-428-2900 or Kurt Klettner at kurt.klettner@wvup.edu or 304-424-8378.

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