Frontline Initiative Change

The Real Scoop

Adult Angst

Dear Clifford and Seth, Is the term “adult” the most appropriate for individuals who cannot, due to their disability, conduct themselves as adults consistently, nor be held responsible for their behavior? – Seeking a better term

Dear Seeking,

“Adult” cannot just be a label that describes someone with perfect behavior, but must be recognized as a term that also includes persons with some inappropriate behaviors. A person’s behavior may be a part of what the disability is, but they should still be called an adult. Staff have to be sensitive to this, especially when they go out in public. They should decide before-hand how to deal with specific behavior problems, and should have training that helps them handle these inappropriate behaviors case by case. – Clifford

Dear Seeking,

I don’t know who you hang out with, but many of the adults I know without disabilities, including myself, and many others, don’t always conduct themselves appropriately. They don’t always hold themselves responsible for their actions or even care about them. So, I believe “adult” still is the most appropriate term for any individual over 18, and if they are competent to do so, they must be held responsible for their actions. Thanks. – Seth