Individuals, Not Labels


Hey there! My name is Antonio Rodriguez and I am the Inclusion Program Manager at the 14 Street Y. I am often asked, “What’s an Inclusion Program Manager?” That’s a great question! The way I explain it is that I work with the amazing programs we have at the 14Y, like New Country Day Camp, KOL, and After School, and I find ways to make sure that children with different abilities can also participate in our programs successfully.

You may ask, “Antonio, do you mean you work with people with disabilities?” And I will say, “No, I work with people with different types of abilities.” Working in the field of Social Work, I find that a lot of the language we use can be stigmatizing and instantly puts individuals in a “box.” Once we put people in those “boxes,” we lose our connection with the individual and start to see them as the stereotype or the diagnosis. I work with people from a strengths perspective and help them reach their potentials as individuals, not as labels. With that in mind, I have a challenge for you! For the month of April, I challenge you to use Person First Language with everyone you meet. Below are some examples of person first language!

I have a firm belief that anyone can be successful with the right supports, and if we cannot provide certain supports, we must try and provide people with resources that are most helpful to them. For families with children and adolescents with intellectual, cognitive, or developmental disabilities, please refer to IncludeNYC because they are a great resource for families looking for various programs around New York City.

Thanks for reading!

Learn more about our Inclusion Programs at the 14th Street Y including KOL, After School, and New Country Day Camp!