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How To Be An Ally
New To Dufferin
Diversity Frame Work
Words with Dignity
Diversity Calendar
Words With Dignityline

Stress ability rather than disability. A person has the disability. It's not the other way around. If a disability isn't relevant, don't mention it.

The deaf accountant spotted the error. The accountant spotted the error.
An epileptic, John has no trouble doing his job. John's performance is satisfactory.

He does a fine job, for a blind man. He does a fine job.
Article on a blind person, who performs a job usually done by a sighted person. Article on a technological aid that assists an employee with a visual impairment.

Don't take on a condescending or patronizing tone in articles or stories about people with disabilities. Making those who succeed "super human" says that people with disabilities usually have no outstanding talents.

Mary has such courage. Mary does a good job.
Isn't amazing how she manages to do a good job even though she's handicapped.

This "Envisioning New Meanings of Disability and Difference" website provides photos and video clips created by women with disabilities and differences.

Watch Your Languageline

Remember that handicap and disability don't mean the same thing. A disability; is a specific impairment that causes a lack of function, e.g. visual impairment. A handicap is a disadvantage that results from impairment, e.g. lack of employment and no access to buildings.

Handicap is often used to mean disability. This practice is becoming less acceptable.

(one origin of the word handicap implies begging-the phrase "cap in hand")

A handicapped person A person with a disability
We need to recognize on-the-job barriers for handicapped workers.

We need to recognize barriers for workers with disabilities that can handicap then on the job.
The handicapped child cannot use the stairs.
The stairs are a handicap for the child.

Refer to the person first, not the person's disability. Don't use adjectives as nouns.

The disabled; the handicapped; disabled people People with disabilities

The blind

People with visual impairments

The deaf People with hearing impairments;
People who are hard of hearing
The retarded

People with mental disabilities; 
People with developmental disabilities
An epileptic Person who has epilepsy
Autistics People with autism
MS person Person who has multiple sclerosis
Stutterer Person with a speech impairment

Stay away from words and phrases that limit the capabilities of people with disabilities

Coping with a disability Has a disability
Confined to a wheelchair;
Wheelchair bound
Uses a wheelchair

Disabled, or be more specific about the disability (walks with a crutch or leg braces)
Crazy, insane
Mentally ill
Mentally retarded Developmentally disabled
Deaf and dumb

Hearing disability or impairment;
Unable to hear; unable to speak; Partial or total hearing loss
Homebound Hard for the person to get out

Lose emotional words and phrases.

They often show people with disabilities as needing to be cared for or pitied.

The less fortunate People with disabilities
Afflicted; cripple/crippled; suffers from a disability Has a disability

Wheelchair victim; wheelchair patient; wheelchair case
Uses a wheelchair
Victim of a mental illness
Person with a mental illness
Patient in a group home Person who lives in a group home
Lupus sufferer Person with lupus
Birth defect Congenital disability; blind from birth; deaf from birth
Brain-damaged Brain-injured
Defective; deformed; vegetable Disabled, has the condition of (spina bifida, etc)
Moron; imbecile; idiot Person has a mental disability or is mentally disabled, mildly, severely
Blind as a bat Has a visual disability, or limited or partial vision, or total or severe loss of vision

Because many disabilities are not caused by disease, leave out the word if you aren't referring to an actual disease.

Be careful with words and phrases that set people with disabilities apart from others.

We…they…those…people Makes less of differences
Healthy or normal vs. disabled
Able-bodied; able to walk, see, etc.
People who aren't disabled
Special needs (use sparingly)  
Aids for the handicapped Aids for Independent Living

This information is copied from a brochure produced by the City of Regina.

"Equal Opportunity-getting our message across"



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