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'Disabled' - whats in a word - Carers UK Forum

'Disabled' - whats in a word

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I know we have quite a few members here that have disabilites/ill health themselves and thought this blog piece would interest you.

[quote]One word that some campaigners would like to see disappearing is "disabled". Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, finds it completely unacceptable as applied to humans. He says that if a machine is disabled, it means that it is broken down, and describing a person as disabled, immediately establishes this negative association. Another of his objections is the way it is used as a collective noun]

read the article in full here
I've just put in a bid for "wonky" ; with respect for a certain regular member of this list. To me it hits all the sweet spots, it is classless, non-judgmental, short and snappy, and rather cuddly.
This is actually something I've thought about quite a bit, though to be honest my thoughts on it are numerous and unorganised and I don't yet feel ready to organise them into a post, so I may come back to this one. That said, I think I'm in agreement with what I've read above.
I've had experience with this in relation to myself.

I have arthritis and at times in my life have been really crippled - barely able to carry out normal activities, barely mobile and in lots of pain. I was advised on another forum to apply for help (for equipment to help me out at work) under DDA. I protested I didn't see myself as disabled. I was advised to consider did I have a disabling condition - and I could agree to that. I'm glad I did, the equipment has been a godsend and I'd wish I'd known about it years ago.

Likewise with S he is person who happens to have autism. He is not an autistic .... I don't think of him as disabled. He doesn't have any concept of what a disability is.

Those with a disability are people first and foremost and shouldn't be defined by their disability or an umbrella term.

Melly1
We may not like the idea but people are inveterate pigeonholers. We all have to "fit in" to some sort of pigeonhole, or label, that identifies us for others to understand within their own lights. "Disabled" is one of those categories.

If I said that x is a sales rep, you would all have an image of what that person is like, even though the chances are you would all have a slightly different image in mind. Some people would have a very negative view of what "sales rep" means. Others wouldn't. It isn't the name that's inherently problematic - it's the attitude that some people attach to it.

If not "disabled", then there will be another label. Does the name change the issue? Does a "vertically challenged" person still struggle with the top shelf at a supermarket? As far as I'm concerned we should concentrate on the issue: the name itself is secondary, because in itself it doesn't change attitudes.
I agree with a lot of your points Charles, especially that people will find some way to pigeonhole us and everyone else even without the word 'disabled'. However, I think that the word 'disabled' does have negative connotations in itself as it implies a lack of ability. But I do agree that even with a more positive word to use, people will put their own connotations to it so another level to this that needs to be looked at seriously.
[quote]We may not like the idea but people are inveterate pigeonholers. We all have to "fit in" to some sort of pigeonhole, or label, that identifies us for others to understand within their own lights. "Disabled" is one of those categories.

If I said that x is a sales rep, you would all have an image of what that person is like, even though the chances are you would all have a slightly different image in mind. Some people would have a very negative view of what "sales rep" means. Others wouldn't. It isn't the name that's inherently problematic - it's the attitude that some people attach to it.

If not "disabled", then there will be another label. Does the name change the issue? Does a "vertically challenged" person still struggle with the top shelf at a supermarket? As far as I'm concerned we should concentrate on the issue]

I like what you said there. To add, yes a machiene that is broken down does mean disabiled but a machine that is not fully working in the acceptable norm is also disabled. My children do not work in a fully functioning way that is the 'norm' ergo disabled. The word disabled also means unable which is also true of my children ergo I have no problem with it. There are too many politically correct words going around as it is without inventing more. A hard hitting word is needed to bring focus to the fact that people like my children, llike S, like Melly exist...if you put the conditions politely they run the risk of being washed over...the impact will not be the same.
Disabled in itself is too big an umbrella. My oh is disabled as he doesn't have the ability to do anything at all, my step nephew is disabled as he has Downs but is a physically fit and active 3 year old.

But I agree with Charles, it's not the label but the issue that needs tackling.
it is the issue that needs tackling.
My younger son was labelled a "non-compliant diabetic," because he did not apply Drs reasoning and advice to his daily life. He would be admitted to Intensive Care, blood sugars set right and discharged, until it was once too often,and he died.
His death was due to diabetic kidney disease(on his death certificate). Why wasn't this noted?All the hospital ever saw was the non-compliant label.Kidney Disease may well have been the underlying cause for everything else.
If the label wasn't there, it is still what the staff would have thought, and the idea behind the label needed to be changed, for Drs and nurses to see the person behind the label.
My Jan often uses 'Raspberry', when referring to her self and her chums with similar disabilities. When I worked in the British Libraries Facilities Management Team, for the move to the New Library at St Pancras, part of our remit was accessibility for 'People with Disabilities'. This was considered the correct descriptive term.

I was in fact Secretary to the 'Working Party' looking into all the issues affecting 'People With Disabilities'.

I was quiet an activist in those days, and was determined that at least wheelchair users (I have a personal interest in this aspect, as you may understand), would not have to enter the New Library (as so often happens, around the back past the dustbins, through the kitchen, and up in the goods lift.

To show how horrible and degrading this would be, I talked my boss, into letting me wheel, him in to the Library 'the back way', using Jan's wheelchair, which she kindly lent us for the occasion. The point was made. They thought what if Stephen Hawkins, was to visit?