The Poster titled: Words matter: Towards Inclusive Language presents words that are associated with the social model of disability in comparison to words associated with the medical model of disability. Seven words associated with the medical model have illustrations that highlight the attitudinal and architectural barriers that restrict people with disabilities from full participation in society. You can notice in each illustration references to architectural barriers and solution such as ramps, tactile warnings on pedestrian sidewalk crossing, and induction loops on counter desks for people with hearing impairments. Seven words associated with the social model have illustrations with inclusive language and inclusive design that promote the full participation of persons with disabilities in society.
Inclusion starts with our thoughts and how we express them. This poster presents disability within the inclusive social model in comparison to the discriminative medical model.
Words associated with the medical model of disability have negative connotations and can promote discrimination against people with disabilities. We therefore provide alternative expressions from the social model of disability that promote social justice and inclusion of people with disabilities in society.
The Medical Model of Disability
The medical model of disability was first adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 1980s.
- Defines disability in medical terms such as the blind, the handicapped, or mentally ill.
- Legitimizes prejudice and discrimination against people with disabilities.
- Implies special rehabilitation centers, special services, and special schools are provided.
- Excludes people with disabilities from gaining equal and full access to mainstream education, employment, and services.
- Describes a person as incapable of carrying out normal social activities because of an impairment or disability.
- Uses the terms “We” and “them”, “people with disabilities” and “able-bodied”, “normal” and “abnormal”.
- Emphasizes that people with disabilities are dependent, need help, and need a medical cure.
This poster illustrates examples of how words can portray the medical model of disability and attribute discrimination and negative connotation against people with disabilities.
The Social Model of Disability
The social model of disability was developed in the late 1970s by activists in the Union of the Physically Impaired Against Segregation (UPIAS).
- Defines disability as something imposed on top of people’s impairments by the way attitudes and barriers limit their full participation in society.
- States that society discriminates against people with disabilities and restricts them from accessing public and private services.
- Legitimizes inclusion of people with disabilities by removing the attitudinal and physical barriers.
- Includes inclusive policies and designs that provide equal access to all services.
- Describes disabilities as impairments that do not limit the carrying out normal social activities once barriers are removed.
- Uses inclusive terms such as all people, with and without disabilities.
- Emphasizes that people with disabilities can have full participation in society once services and built environments are designed inclusively.
This poster illustrates examples of how words can portray the social model of disability and attribute towards promoting social justice and inclusion of people with disabilities in society
|Discriminative terminology |
|Appropriate terminology |
|1) Words used to describe a person with a disability such as courageous, brave, overcome a disability should not be used||Avoid using these words as this implies that it is unusual for people with disabilities to have talents and the ability to contribute to society |
|2) Words such as an autistic patient, suffers from autism, suffers from disability should not be used|
|Make reference to the person first then the disability, e.g. A person has a disability|
|3) Words such as handicapped, disabled, the disabled, physically challenged should not be used|
|Make reference to the person first then the disability, e.g. A person has a mobility impairment|
|4) Words such as the blind person and|
visually challenged should not be used
|Make reference to the person first then the disability, eg: A person who is blind and|
A person has a visual impairment/ low vision
5) Words such as Hearing impaired, deaf and dumb, deaf-mute should not be used
Make reference to the person first then the disability: A person who is hard of hearing, a person has a hearing impairment, A Deaf Person
· A capital D means people who use sign language and self-identify as being part of the Deaf community
· Lower case d refers to the adjective and all people that are deaf
|6) Words such as A Down’s or Mongoloid or midget should not be used||Make reference to the person first then the disability: e.g.: A person has down syndrome|
|7) Expressions such as a learning disabled person should not be used|
|Make reference to the person first then the disability. A person has a learning disability/ |
Dyslexia/ dyscalculia/ dysgraphia