Dignified & Correct terminologies- words are powerful

Words have an immense power they can easily make or break a person. A word is very powerful and we often underestimate its power.
Of late I have been reading a lot of blogs describing people with disability as “differently able” which angers me a lot because I want to be referred to as person first not different because I have a disability. This is my opinion and opinions are not facts that can’t be proved wrong.

While addressing people with disabilities, knowingly or unknowingly, many of us use undignified and incorrect terminologies. These words will play a negative impact on both the personal and professional development of people with disabilities. This got me thinking there must be data for correct and dignified terminology, here are some I found;

 

Incorrect (out-dated, undignified ) Correct (Dignified)
  • ·         Handicapped, Disabled, Abnormal, Differently Able, special
 

Persons with Disabilities, People with Disability

 

  • ·         Normal Person, Healthy Person
Person without Disability
  • ·         Crippled, Lame, invalid
Person with Physical Disability
  • ·         Blind
Person who is Blind, Visually Impaired Person
  • ·         Deaf, Mute, tongue-tied
Person who is deaf, Person with Hearing Impairments, Person who is unable to speak, non-verbal
  • ·         Wheelchair bound, confined or restricted to a wheelchair
Person who uses a wheelchair, wheelchair user
  • ·         Crazy, Insane, Psycho, Mentally ill
Person with Psychiatric disability, emotional disorder, behavior disorder, person with mental illness
  • ·         Mentally Retarded, Retarded, Slow, Idiot, mentally defective, moron, slow, imbecile, feeble-minded, Down’s person
Person with Intellectual Disabilities
   

*THIS IS NO WAY  AN EXSUSTIVE LIST  please see

http://www.cpdusu.org/about/committee/awareness/

http://www.nfdn.org.np/advocacy-documents/dignified-terminologies-pwds.html

http://www.courts.ca.gov/partners/documents/7-terminology.pdf

http://nda.ie/Publications/Attitudes/Appropriate-Terms-to-Use-about-Disability/

http://www.onestops.info/article.php?article_id=14

http://www.miusa.org/sites/default/files/documents/resource/Respectful%20Disability%20Language.pdf

Things to remember

  • Individuals with disabilities are people!
  • Individuals with disabilities are whole people!
  • They expect to be treated with the same dignity and respect that you do.
  • Just because someone has a disability does not mean he/she is disabled.

Disability vs. Handicap

A disability is a condition caused by such things as an accident or trauma, disease, or genetics that limits a person’s vision, hearing, speech, mobility, or mental function.
A handicap is a constraint imposed upon a person, regardless of that person’s ability or disability. These constraints can be physical or attitudinal. For example, stairs and curbs are handicaps imposed on those who use wheelchairs.
Always remember that the person is not the condition. Keep all your speech person focused, not disability focused.

We live we learn but most importantly we learn for life is always changing always evolving. 

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Inspirational porn

A term coined by disability right activist Stella Young, a comedian, writer, and journalist who died at the age of 32. Stella who also happened to be in a wheelchair, automatically turning her into an inspiration for all of the humanity. As the society has a habit of labeling people with disability especially visible disability into “inspiration”.

There is hardly a day that passes without seeing an “inspirational post” on social media whether it be a person on stilts running, someone painting with no hands, surfing without legs or any of its variations with words like, “if he can do it so can you or the only disability in life is a bad attitude”.
Would you be inspired by a convicted murderer or by an image of a Paralympics champion certainly the second option sounds more tempting but what would you do when they are the same person, Oscar Pistorius a Paralympics champion and a convicted murderer? To celebrate and call someone an inspiration just for breathing and staying alive since they are living with a disability is wrong on so many levels without actually knowing about the person. Implying that disability is a sorry state to be in, teaching the already marginalized group that only mediocrity is expected of them they need no achievements to be celebrated for their image already is.

The society has reserved a role for the person with a disability, of inspiring humankind and has unknown to us enforcing it with every passing day. One of the evilest man to have lived Dr. Joseph Goebbels has said, “Repeat a lie a thousand times and it becomes the truth”. Unfortunately for us, there is more truth in the statement than what we would like to be, we live in a world whereby different means of diffusion of thought exists and it has become ok to objectify one group of people for the benefit of another group. “You are inspiration” a person with the disability has heard this several times young or old all because we believe in a lie that living with the disability makes you exceptional, it does not.
Inspiration porn is when people with disability are called inspirational or brave for doing all the things that the majority of the world does, objectifying disabled people. It’s a problem because it assumes that anyone with a disability must have it so much worse. Using the image of a person with a disability to make the ‘able’ feel good about them, to motivate to work hard, exercise or whatever, except disabled people aren’t objects; they are people. Normalizing disability through greater inclusion and repetition of the positive image in the media may be the answer to be seen as equal but different. Learn to celebrate accomplishments and talent because life revolves around living, not around disability.

 

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